Weeding is an ongoing chore at the Fernery – but much more fun when there’s a group of you to chat to – and to admire your work! It’s also more interesting than weeding in your garden – unless you have a range of rock faces and a collection of rare sub-tropical ferns outside your door. Wonderful Weeding Wednesday (Sandra’s idea) fits in with the other jobs the volunteers have to do in the Botanic Gardens. We still have a long way to go – more volunteers welcome!
We have, on average, one website enquiry a week
This enquiry cane from Richard Annunziata
The British Pteridological Society – October 13, 2018
He sent us this picture (if you mouse over it you can see it in more detail)
I asked our Archivist for his opinion and this is what he said:
There is no mention of this field trip in either the British Fern Gazette or the Society minutes and I am sure that it was an ‘unofficial’ trip by 2 or more members. In 1924 the BPS was very strict in confining the Society to the study of British ferns, even though members might have grown some foreign ferns in their greenhouses. It was not until the early 1930s that the first discussion of a foreign fern (Adiantum venustum) appeared in the Gazette. I do not have access to the American fern journals of 1924-5 – there could be mention of a visit in one of them.
I cannot identify the handwriting on the herbarium sheet. I would suspect W B Cranfield as a strong possibility – but all of his correspondence that we have inn the archive is typewritten. The pre-printed herbarium label might be a clue and I wonder if Julian has seen any labels of this type in the BPS herbarium collection at Wisley.
I have come across a reference to the BPS American expedition before. I think that it was this sheet or other herbarium sheets being offered for sale by an American bookseller, auction house or eBay.
6 Far Moss Road
Liverpool L23 8TQ
Julian Reed replied:
It is not Cranfield’s writing. I have seen a lot of it in the herbarium and he had his own labels.
Hope this helps
Take care Julian
It is possible to look at the old copies of the Americam Ferrn Journal and the Fern Gazette on the Biodiversity Heritage Library. I have done this and can find no reference to this trip in June 1924.
So what we can say is this is a professional looking Herbarium sheet, probably not created officially by the BPS but perhaps by a member of the BPS on holiday in America.
The fern in question is Onoclea sensibilis, the Sensitive Fern, so called because it is strongly deciduous and is the first fern to collapse as winter approaches. It is a native of the USA and widely grown in the UK
The weather has been very hot and dry in Hampshire and many of my ferns have suffered
One plant that seems to have loved the weather is Lygodium japonicum
I have had this plant for about 5 years and previously it has struggled to grow about a foot tall
This year it took off and grew over 7 foot tall
It seems to be a bit dimorphic. The early fronds are not fertile but the later fronds are nearly all fertile
There was an anxious time this Summer – first drought, and then major works on the A56 to attempt to reduce the risk of flooding, with the Asplenium section barricaded off. Fortunately there was no disturbance to the wall above ground, and the colony is going from strength to strength.