All posts by Alison Evans

Moonwort monitoring

A cold and showery day for our annual moonwort monitoring on the moors in Swaledale. The number of spikes was very much lower this year than last year, or indeed any previous year. We wondered if we were too early – a repeat visit is planned in a week or so. The spikes we did see were as far on as we normally see – though still quite small. Compare with the cocktail stick marker – or scale bear, who is 4″ high when sitting down.

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum in Earby

The lone Asplenium adiantum-nigrum on the railway wall by the A56 seems to be doing well, and has put out several new fronds. I took this picture on the 5th – but only noticed the large black slug when I came to post the picture. I looked at the plant again today, and I’m pleased to say that the new fronds are still there – untouched by both the slug and the frost we had the last 2 nights.

New fronds on the Earby plant

Update on the Earby Asplenium adiantum-nigrum

The ‘Earby Asplenium’ seems to be flourishing – and possibly has a second crown to the right of the first. The sun was so bright today there is a dense shadow over that side. I thought I should post the photo anyway to prove that we do have sunshine ‘up north’!

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum growing on the wall of the disused railway line, by the A56 in Earby.

A bi-pinnate Asplenium trichomanes

It seems that every time I visit the BPS Archive, I discover something I haven’t seen before. I had no idea that there was such a thing as a bi-pinnate Asplenium trichomanes, but here is a photo of one. I wonder if anyone knows where this plant was found?

Ferns and Fossils at World Museum Liverpool

Here are some pictures of our Ferns and Fossils event last week-end at the World Museum Liverpool. Thank you very much to all our volunteers, to the fantastic museum staff who were so helpful, and especially to Wendy Atkinson and Donna Young of the Botany Department who made it all possible!

Lots of people joined in our craft activities – look out for our page of the lovely work they produced!

Thanks to Yvonne for this picture – in case you thought it was all a bit tame!

ferns-and-fossils-lm-sept-2016-3-web

The Earby Asplenium lives!

Here is an update on my ‘monitoring project’ on the single Asplenium adiantum-nigrum growing on a wall by the A56, the main road through Earby. I’m pleased to see that it is putting up some healthy-looking new fronds!

My new camera has a better zoom than my old one – so here is a picture of the Asplenium ruta-muraria growing on the same wall not far away.

Progress at Broadbottom Fernery

Following on from last September’s blog about fernery projects in Tameside, we can report that a transformation is taking place at the Broad Mills fernery site in Broadbottom. A large rectangular area and a smaller triangular area near the river have been cleared by a group of Greenspace volunteers who regularly attend to the Lymefield and Broadmills sites.

The rectangular area before clearing, August 2015.
The rectangular area before clearing, August 2015.
The same area in April 2016, with a new wall being built.
The same area in April 2016, with a new wall being built.
The triangular area by the railing in 2015 – barely visible before clearing
The triangular area by the railing in 2015 – barely visible before clearing
OK, now you can see it’s not quite a triangle! Photo taken April 2016
OK, now you can see it’s not quite a triangle! Photo taken April 2016

Ferns have been planted along the woodland track side, and planting has started in the rectangular space. There is still some way to go, with an impressive list of ferns still to be planted.

Woodland area
Woodland area
Shrubs planted to give some shelter, and the first ferns in place
Shrubs planted to give some shelter, and the first ferns in place

The volunteers involved in the project have been working for Tameside Council for 1, 3, 7, 8, and 38 years respectively. They are doing a magnificent job!

BPS member John Grue, with the project leader and 3 of the volunteers
BPS member John Grue, with the project leader and 3 of the volunteers

Photographic monitoring of Asplenium adiantum-nigrum

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum isn’t very common in Earby – in fact I only know of one plant, growing on the wall of the disused railway on the main road (A56) through the town. I first saw this in October 2010 when I was walking to work – it brightened up my day! I went back to take photos as I was aware of BPS interest in monitoring urban ferns – and I also thought it might be a good subject for the photographic monitoring project that was going on. It was a healthy well-grown plant at the time.

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum in October 2010
Asplenium adiantum-nigrum in October 2010

It grows above head height for me, so I had to take a step-stool to stand on in order to photograph it. At the time it was protected by overhanging vegetation.

The site on the railway wall.
The site on the railway wall.

In December 2010, the overhanging vegetation was cut right back, and we had some severe weather, so I wasn’t surprised that the plant looked rather worse for wear in February 2011.

February 2011
February 2011

By September of that year, it was recovering, but not quite so robust as the previous year.

September 2011
September 2011

In January 2012, it seemed to be surviving well, and in August 2012 it was looking quite robust again.

January 2012
January 2012
August 2012
August 2012

Sometime around then I submitted the pictures for the monitoring project – but I didn’t hear anything and thought that perhaps one fern wasn’t a suitable subject. I kept an eye on the fern all the same – and looked for any other plants, but the only other pteridophytes on the wall are a couple of clumps of Asplenium ruta-muraria – too high to photograph – and a few fronds of Equisetum arvense coming through from the old railway yard where the wall is much lower. Following discussions on whether wall ferns persist in the same place, or move around, I thought it was worth carrying on monitoring my one plant – in August 2015 it had some nice new fronds on it.

August 2015
August 2015

The overhanging bushes have been cut back again, so although it is clinging to life, it didn’t look so good when I photographed it a couple of weeks ago.

February 2016
February 2016

I have a new compact camera now that I can hold above my head to take the photos, so I don’t have the funny looks from passers-by when standing on my step-stool! I’m interested to see how long this plant will survive.

Fernery projects in Tameside

Work has been continuing at the Copperas Field site in Droylsden – see the previous blog at http://ebps.org.uk/a-new-fernery-at-copperas-field-droylsden/
A wall and gate now mark the entrance to the area:
WP_20150618_002 walls 800
The raised bed was constructed and ready for the planting day on June 9th, when several volunteers helped with planting the ferns – the more ornamental ones in the raised bed, and native ones in the area around the fernery and classroom.

Raised fern bed
Raised fern bed
Raised bed
Raised bed
Ferns in the woodland area
Ferns in the woodland area
The classroom area was fitted with log benches:
WP_20150611_004 800 classroom
The project has been monitored to see how the site is working and there are now plans to open up the boundary of the classroom area and plant a greater variety of shrubs.
Meanwhile, further sites for ferneries have been identified in Broadbottom, on the Lymefield and Broad Mills sites. The old walls are already covered with a variety of native ferns, and the masonry of the old mill provides ready-made ‘raised beds’ for planting – though there is a lot of work to be done in clearing these out, as can be seen in the picture!
Part of the Broad Mills site
Part of the Broad Mills site
An existing outdoor classroom area on the nearby Lymefield site could be used for fern identification workshops, and as a base for guided fern walks around both areas. All very exciting! John Grue, who leads the Manchester and North Midlands group of the BPS and lives in Broadbottom, is looking forward to having a fernery on his doorstep!

BPS at Southport Flower Show

The BPS stand at Southport Flower Show won a Silver medal this year. The theme for the show was ‘China’ so we included as many Chinese ferns as we could, only for the judges to say that they were just looking for well-grown plants and uniform presentation (pots etc) – so next year when the theme is ‘Mediterranean’, we’ll be choosing our best plants with most ‘wow’ factor, and perhaps have a picture of the Med! We talked to a lot of interested people, and signed up a new member. Michael Hayward again organised the BPS presence, and provided most of the plants and Chinese props, as well as having several volunteers to stay with him. All this is a major undertaking – thank you very much Michael! Robert Crawford won the Individual Championship, and Steve Coleman won the ‘Three plants of the same kind’ class with a superb set of Blechnums – congratulations both! If you would like to help next year, watch out for the National Meetings programme for 2016 in our Autumn mailing, and indicate your interest on the reply form. Help us get a Gold next year!