Ashley & Jo Basil, Jurgie Schedler and myself, went back to check out the Botrychiums at Appleslade Bottom
We found 45 Botrychium lunaria plants in about 10 patches and around 12 patches of Ophioglossums containg too many plants to count
In the past I thought we were seeing Ophioglossum azoricum but this year the plant I photographed looked like Ophioglossum vulgatum
I am basing this solely on the number of segments on the fertile spike (around 8 in azoricum and 12 or so in vulgatum)
I do not know if this is a reliable indicator
All of these plants were very small and we wondered if the recent cold nights had retarded their growth
Recording very small plants is very difficult so I experimented with using CDs put on the floor and trying to photograph them from the air using a Mavic Mini drone
I have digitally enhanced the CDs but I am not sure this is of much use
The day was overcast and perhaps they would have shown up better in bright sunshine
This recording method needs more thinking about
This spring I’m hoping that some Polypodiums will help me in some hard to plant up areas! In our rock banking there are numerous crevices between the stones that needed to be cemented to keep back the ever persisting erosion caused by sudden flooding as well as a intense water table causing some stones to slip. It works well to keep the erosion at bay but then these areas become barren with out much life. I don’t doubt that over time with some organic material that would gather up some nice specimens may emerge, but I wanted to quicken this process, and a fern experiment is fun.
We have several old clumps of Polypodiums at Harlow Carr and one was infested with some persistent Symphytum which dominated its fronds. This gave me an opportunity to break it apart and divide out its rhizomes and showcase it another way. I just needed to be super careful to avoid planting back any Symphytum roots as they are so similar.
In the cemented crevice I actually first put a small layer of our grey clay here so the compost has something to attach onto. and gave the mix some weight. I also used the clay here because I’m so close to the waters edge, during a storm the water levels rise and the flow can be intense , easily washing away anything not well rooted. The lack of drainage is a concern but over time its my hope that the Polypodiums will mature and catch more organic matter and crawl over the stones. I could also make a bowl shape with the clay as well to hold the compost in a vertical crack.
It’s my hope these crevices ‘green up’ with ferns , especially some lovely creeping and crawling Polypodiums!