Autumn colour of a Favourite

Lastly for today a quick mention of some Autumn colour of a fern that I’ve cheered about in a past post. I claimed earlier this year Phegopteris  connectilis to be my favourite fern and today I discovered its lovely autumn colour! Planted with a still going strongly green Dryopteris affinis ‘Cristata The King’ it stands out. It also contrasts well with the purple colour of Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ and the blue shades of Cheilanthes lanosa.

Its defiantly won my heart now completely.


Fern planting in Containers

This is just a quick look at some ferns that were planted in some pots for the summer season at Harlow Carr. They did so exceptionally well its encouraged me to try more ferns in pots in the future.

They are in an area of the garden that’s shady and damp and were providing some lower level planting under some Acer palmatum trees in the pots.

I used some lush Polystichum munitum for a deep leathery contrast against some bright green Adiantum fern. The Adiantum is a houseplant species, chosen for its longer fronds and peachy tinge it wont survive outside this winter but will be lifted out very soon! I should mention the lovely Acer was ‘Orange Dream’.

In another pot, Polystichum braunii is planted with some limey green and red stem Athryrium otophorum var. okanum and Adiantum capillus – veneris. Accompanying all the ferns was a Salaginella sp.that really provided a lovely soft cloud cushion of green!

If or when the pots need to be emptied all the ferns will happily find a home in our woodland! But at the moment I cant bare to take them out!

Polystichum braunii and Athyrium otophorum var. okanum with Selaginella in a container planting
Polystichum munitum and a Adiantum sp. join Acer palmatum ‘Orange Dream’ in a container

A Small Fern Roof

This made me smile, so I wanted to share it! At Harlow Carr we recently installed a couple water fountains for visitors to use. And the creative gentleman responsible for the building, Aidan Pound our Building services manager, had a wonderful idea to make it more garden friendly! He proposed giving it a fern roof! The area this one is located in is shady and damp so its the perfect habitat.  Normally he builds structures with living roofs in sunny areas with bug hotels attached. When he asked for some small ferns I knew right where to go! At this time of the year before Autumn makes all the foliage disappear I weed out all the self sown ferns in the Dryopteris collection and find them new homes! So for this one I gave him some young Aspleniums, Dryopteris and Athyriums with some accompanying Asarum europaeum and Primula veris for contrast.

Its been a great way to help catch water and create a wildlife habitat, as well as inspiring me all the fun ways you can use ferns. It really does make me smile when I see it.

Water Fountain with Green Fern Roof
Bug homes on the side of the fern green roof
The top of the water fountain green roof planted with ferns.


Todea barbara

I inherited this plant from the estate of Graham Ackers. I have had it for about 10 years but I don’t know how old it was before I got it. As far as I remember this is the first time it has produced spores

Portuguese fern #1

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Can I seek your help with the identification of two ferns frown from spore collected in deciduous woodland in the Serra da  Lousã hills of central Portugal in 2017?

Both  are growing well but have not yet produced spores.

Fern no. 1 looks very like Nephroleptis exaltata. I have found a paper from 2000 reporting it as naturalised in urban gardens in Porto. It is possible that I collected the spores there: I regret I was not at all organised in my collection! Fern no. 2 was definately collected from Serra da Lousã woods.

I attach images of fern no. 1 to this post.The largest fronds are currently c. 35cm. Note that in the image of the whole plant there is what I think is a stolon, spilling out of the front of the pot.

I will upload images of the 2nd fern in a subsequent post.

Portuguese fern # 2

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I attach images of the 2nd ern grown from spore collected in the Serra da Lousa hills in October 2017. Current frond length is c. 15cm.

It’s most notable (to me) features are the long terminal pinna, rather like that of Asplenium x ebenoides, fine toothing and parallel veins, one per tooth.