As we are not having any meetings up to the end of June, if not longer, I thought it would be nice to send out a sporadic newsletter to keep in touch with some topical tips.
If any of you have anything to add please let me know.
I assure you my maths are better than my English so apologise to those of you who cringe at my spelling and grammar.
All pictures in this letter were taken two days ago in my Garden.
If you have not done so already I would take any rapping off your tree ferns as they are on the moving, even were I am in the bottom of the Holmesdale valley were we are surprisingly cold. But keep some fleece on hand to drape over them just in case we have a late frost
This picture is from a Dicksonia antarctica two days ago.
It is also surprising how the wind has dried up the trunk and how dry it is underneath.
So I have had to start watering the trunks as the roots of the tree fern start at the crown and run down into the ground
No need to worry in the summer watering into the crown in fact it helps, but this time of year try to keep the centre of the crown dry if you feel you will get any frost at night.
Removing old fronds
It is a matter of how tidy you are
Some people like to leave the old fronds of Polystichum on as they suppress weeds and form a ground cover but there are some diseases that would be encouraged by this so I like to remove them as it is easier and quicker now before the growth really gets going but those of you in warmer areas it is urgent as they are moving fast.
The ‘Plumoso-multilobum’ and the ‘Plumoso-divisilobum’ if you do no others they would benefit.
I found that some crowns had come up out of the ground with time, so lifted them with a lump of soil and replanted them with there crown back in contact with the soil but not buried.
Harts tongues Asplenium scolopendrium
The new growth on these is very brittle and I usually remove the old fronds when the new frond are like cotton buds but with this warm weather they are moving very fast
I remove the old fronds as fungal diseases can make a mess of “Scollies” and I like to remove anything that will pass on anything.
Due to having a number of trees I do feed my ferns with a light scattering of Chicken poo pellets as I feel the ferns get some of it but most is sucked up by the trees and then mulch if you have anything to put on top.
Difficult at the moment for those of us who do not have access to mulch.
Lady ferns (Athyrium filix femina) and the Dryopteris I have removed the old fronds and were needed dropped them deeper in the ground.
Polypodium I leave these to shed there frond when they are ready not a good idea to remove them too early unless you have them under glass and keep them watered
Remember you can move ferns any time between March and October as long as the roots are in active growth but Athyrium are a bit moody if moved late in the year.
Steve Coleman and I were talking and he reminded me that Athyrium filix femina ‘Acrocladon’ and Athyrium ff ‘Victorea’ ( green stemmed) is always late into grow so don’t panic!. Only a few of my lady ferns in the garden have started yet.
If you are a bit of a fern collector, a rare opportunity has arrived in that a Dutch nursery that specialises in more interesting ferns. Who usually sells at shows in Europe only is now doing mail order, his name Wouter van Driel get his latest availability by email
Also Fibrex nurseries and Crawford Hardy Ferns are still sending out ferns mail order.
Araiostegia perdurans planted last Autumn on a old tree fern trunk Robert from Penrith gave me.
It has survived frost out side all winter and is now shooting. I will let you know how it gets on.
The great Tim Pyner ( sorley missed) said to me of course its hardy it deciduous.
Also on the tree fern trunk and planted at the same time is Pyrrosia similis (some tell me it is a form of Pyrrosia lingua ) .In the Nederland’s they have been growing this fern out side for years
Once again this has been outside in my cold garden all winter ,My garden is a lot colder than Liverpool!
The Nederland’s had -5°c 2 weeks ago
A very rare fern grown from spore from Athyrium felix femina ‘Acrocladon’. Found by Monkman on the edge of the north Yorkshire Moors in 1860. Growing in my greenhouse
The spore came off a plant in Ian Unsworth’s garden which we believe is the last in existence unless you know better?
I have 3 sporlings all subtly different and a crown from Ian
Hope you found this useful and interesting,
If there is anything else you would like covered please let me know
Please keep safe Julian