A new fernery planned for Todmorden

Todmorden has a long history of fern growing – Abraham Stansfield had a nursery there and in 1858 produced ‘Stansfield’s Catalogue of Hardy Herbaceous and Alpine Plants, Ferns and Lycapods : grown at Vale Gardens, Todmorden.’ His grandson, Frederick Stansfield, was the first president of the BPS. It is really good news that the ‘Todmorden in Bloom’ group are going to plant a fernery in Patmos Garden, just opposite Todmorden College. There are already some ferns thriving in the garden, and the plan is to plant more in a shady part of the garden, creating a small stumpery.

After Jean, Sheila, and Pat showed me round the fernery site on Sunday, we visited the ‘hidden garden’ near the centre of town, where there is already a good collection of ferns. We braved the rain and icy wind – the ferns were looking remarkably good for the time of year!

Thank you to Sheila Greenwood for some of the photos.
I’m looking forward to seeing the fernery developments over the coming year!

Ruth Wheeler

Ruth is a wood sculptor and artist, she has a passion for ferns and it has been a reoccurring theme and form in Ruth’s work over twenty five years, always returning to the frond in all it’s forms
Ruth carves and burns ferns into wood to make wood art panels, sculptures and benches. She would love to share with you some of her recent works where they inspire her work rather than being an exact copy
Ruth has many varieties in her garden that she draws her inspiration from and in the spring she is touched by the new growth and it inspires her to draw them
She would like to reach out to other fern lovers to share her work but also find names of her ferns that she has had for years and also grow more varieties and give a home to any spare ones
She lives near Godalming in a Woodland setting near Godalming, Surrey and visits St Ives, Cornwall a few times a year

Aaron Angell

You may be interested to know about a forthcoming exhibition at GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art) Glasgow. It features a splendid example of a Wardian case from the Natural History collection:

Aaron Angell
Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA)
Gallery One
December 8 2017 – March 18 2018

Aaron Angell (b. 1987, Kent) presents a series of new works including ceramic sculpture, inflatables, painting, Victorian furniture and plant life to create an anachronistic interior, which mines various points in history and unusual hobbyist cultures to develop a large scale, immersive exhibition.

At the centre of the exhibition is Glasgow Museums’ Wardian Case, this Victorian fern case will be displayed for the first time in over a quarter of a century. It was conserved especially for the exhibition and is to be fully planted with a range of ferns and mosses in a style reminiscent of its original display in the mid-nineteenth century. One of the very few surviving, original Wardian Cases, the piece was built a stone’s throw from GoMA and dates from around 1860. It is without doubt one of the finest ever made.

Aaron Angell says: “The centrepiece of this show is approximately the most Victorian object ever manufactured. It has it all. Fetishisation of the most stolid aspects of the classical world, the bondage of wildness and growth, even the concealed sexual organs of the ferns and mosses themselves. It is also, almost by mistake, a prototype for the radical biotopic architecture of the mid-20th century.

“As an exhibition space without any proper walls, I was interested in contrasting the case with a treatment of the hall at GoMA as a basic exercise in open plan interior design. The cliché of the loft, the archipelago of stations, objects, and pools of light. This is much more a house for a couple than an exhibition of my work.”

For more information visit www.glasgowmuseums.com (but not before next week)

Wall ferns

I recently got interested in Gumtree and used it to get free building material for my allotment. One of my contacts also had this chimney pot to throw away. I have filled it with limestone chippings from B&Q and a small amount of builders’ sand. As it has an open top and bottom, I have placed it on a clay plant pot saucer. I managed to find an old wall that the owner said that I could remove some Asplenium ruta-muraria plants from. These seem to be thriving, although it is early days. Also in the chimney pot are A. trichomanes, A. azoricum, A. adiantum-nigrum, A. billottii and some kind of cheilanthes from macaronesia.