Welcome to new BPS Officers!

Last Monday four of us met in Peterborough – Peter Blake (Treasurer), Peter Grimbly (Finance Officer), Ann Robbins (Membership Secretary), Alison Evans (President and retiring Membership Secretary) – to discuss our roles and to see how we can best support each other. Our finance team now have robust and efficient methods of managing our accounts and producing reports. Thank you to Peter Grimbly, who has stepped into the new post of Finance Officer, bringing his Excel skills amongst many others. He and Peter Blake have written their job descriptions, making clear the responsibilities of each, which will make life much easier for their successors in post.

Peter Grimbly, BPS Finance Officer

A big thank-you also to Ann, who has brought her organisational and database skills to the role of Membership Secretary. You will probably remember that it was Ann who organised our very successful stand at Chelsea in 2016 – no mean feat! Ann has already been busy preparing mailing files and sending out reminders. I’m sure that you will give her the same great support as you gave to me as Membership Secretary.

Ann Robbins, Membership Secretary

I’m also delighted to welcome Sophie Walwin, our new Publicity and Communications Officer, who has already made good use of our social media platforms, and is helping us with our promotional material, as well as reviewing our communications with members. Sophie has lots of good ideas about how we can raise the profile of the BPS, and appeal to people of all ages!

May Blog 2019

Spring greetings from Harlow Carr! About 3-4 years ago a young gardener by the name of Tom Cutter asked me what my favourite fern was, but I couldn’t answer, there are too many, it was like asking me who was my favourite pet! So after all this time I have an answer Tom, Its Phegopteris connectilis, the Beech Fern! I have waited to write this blog now since I was kindly asked to write a few for the website, as I knew then it’s a wonderful native gem! I don’t know if this is too simple of a choice as it doesn’t shout any great colours or other features but its simplicity makes it great! And in addition finding it growing wild on damp slopes in Yorkshire has been a great treat.

Here are some its aesthetic features I adore, its blade rises above a tall stem that seems too thin and fragile to carry it. It reminds me of when a puppy is growing into its gangly long legs. The blade itself is of a soft green hairy texture and is a triangular shape with the lower part of the frond sticking out upwards away from the rest of the frond which is a unique feature. Overall it’s a delicate fern with a soft appearance and texture. We grow it here in moist shady areas where the soil is loose so that its wiry rhizomatous growth can creep through and get established. After a short time it can create a loose lovely airy groundcover in a way. Most groundcovers can be dense in nature so finding one that is unobtrusive adds a softer texture to woody areas. We have been utilizing it here to grow amongst spring bulbs and other short season plants, so that once they are finished the P. connectilis takes its place, but never really dominates it and strangles out the spring plants. One such plant it has been growing is Trilliums where the two leaf shapes contrast with one another wonderfully. This past autumn we lifted several clumps and divided out the rhizomes, we made sure we had a few growth points and potted them on to gain root. We recently placed them out and planted them with some Trillum simile to become a carpet in the area when they are finished flowering.

So finally there it is, a favourite fern of mine, however I hope I’m allowed to have a few favourites and hope I discover many more along the way!

Moonwort monitoring in the New Forest 2019

Jo and Ashley Basil and Roger Golding went out to Linwood to do annual monitoring of the Moonwort. They found 58 plants, none were very big, the maximum size was 100mm. Last years count was about 30 plants, but the bracken was up then so it was more difficult to find them. This year they looked full and well hydrated, last year’s were rather dry. They did not think there has been any change in the population and they were all are in the same area. Jo found a new patch of Adders tongue which were bigger and more developed than had been seen on previous years.

Strange Hart’s Tongue Fern Part 2

If you read my previous post, you might remember that I found a strange (and maybe even attractive!) cultivar of Asplenium scolopendrium growing around a tomb/grave in the church yard of All Saints Church in Botley, Hampshire, in October 2016.
I collected some spores of this plant and have eventually managed to raise about 10 small plants. At the moment they do not look too much like the parent. They bifurcate and they also have this sublineate thickening but they seem wider like more normal A. scolopendrium. Perhaps they will develop more like the parent as they mature
I noticed that there were several cultivars that grow around the grave, in combination with “normal” plants. There seem to be a variation in the cultivars, some are more extreme than the others

If you are interested in A. scolopendrium monsters, please email me and I can send you a plant

Wild-spored rockery ferns

Fern-No.4-002-0.jpg Fern-No.4-001-1.jpg Fern-No.4-003-2.jpg

Dear Andrew, Alison,

Can you help me identify some young ferns that have appeared on a tufa rockery in my London garden. The tufa is in full shade, moist & moss covered.

To give you a sense of scale I’ve potted them up into 9cm pots. The largest (Fern no.4 is in a 1 litre pot. So far, it is only no. 4 that has developed indusia.

I upload images of fern 4 with this post

Asplenium ceterach

Further to my previous post, I have just found some more Asplenium ceterach on the Church wall of St Peter and St Paul, Wymering
There are possibly 10 plants on the Church wall itself and one plant on a grave next to the wall
They are growing in close company with A. scolopendrium and A. ruta-muraria. The latter is very frequent in this area

I have put the new location on Google Maps in green so that it stands out. It is quite a distance from the next nearest location at Langstone

I have asked Martin Rand, the Vice County Recorder and this appears to be a new find