Bruce Brown has been organising monitoring of holly fern populations in the north of England, with help from a few of the Yorkshire Fern Group members. A survey of Moughton Common over several days found 205 plants of Polystichum lonchitis this Autumn, quite an increase on the 126 plants previously recorded. Photographs from 2004 show that many of the plants look much the same now as they did then. On Saturday, five of us braved the wind and rain to survey the Attermire and Benscar areas. We were unable to find 2 of the plants previously recorded on Attermire. Some that we did find through previous grid refs were partly hidden under rocks in scree. We found a sheltered place for lunch, then after checking all the Attermire sites we headed for Benscar. The rain stopped and the sun tried to come out – the terrain was quite challenging, but we were rewarded by finding 7 plants in this area – an increase on the previous 4 recorded plants. The extra time spent monitoring meant that dusk was approaching as we headed back to the cars, very happy with our productive day out.
The Manchester and North Midlands Group visited the Fernery in Broadbottom on 15th September. There will be a full report of the day in the Bulletin, but meanwhile here are a few pictures. Sue Roberts, Greenspace Officer for Tameside Council, together with several of the volunteers responsible for the work, met us at the Lymefield Garden Centre and café, and took us through the site to the Fernery. There was a definite ‘wow factor’ as we turned the corner and saw the transformation that has taken place. In place of compacted earth, brambles, and weeds there is now an attractive fern garden, beautifully designed with interesting logs, stumps, paths, and stone work. There is still more work to be done. Donations of hardy ferns welcome. The Manchester group is planning a mid-week ‘working day’ next year, when we can join volunteers to help with gardening and planting.
As autumn draws on and the ferns on my allotment start to fade and fall over, I noticed the trunk on my Dryopteris x picoensis. It is now 12 inches and looks like a small tree fern. I was given this plant by Wilfried Bennert many years ago, maybe 20 years. It produces small plants on the trunk, every now and then and I now have over 10 plants in Portsmouth and in my garden in Waterlooville. The plants on the allotment seemed not to be affected by the hot and dry summer but several of the plants in Waterlooville lost all their fronds. They have recovered somewhat since the weather has returned to the more normal British rainfall