Meeting: January 2018

Our January Club night was a talk by Robin Pearce on ‘Ferns and Shade Loving Plants’. Robin told us his favourite time of year for gardening is February as seeing the first signs of new growth is the anticipation and promise of what is to come.

Hardy Ferns are well worth considering in your garden as they can withstand hard frosts over the winter months and look particularly beautiful with a sparkling cover of bright white frost.
There are many different varieties available and they can tolerate many conditions from very dry to very damp; some will even do well in standing water. Some varieties are evergreen while most are semi –

He showed photographs of some of his favourites to show the wide range available including Western Maiden Fern, Hart’s Tongue Fern, Painted Lady Fern, Crown Wood Fern, Welsh Fern and the intriguing and very clever Sensitive Fern which, when the fronds detect frost, lay down flat on the ground to protect itself.

We learnt about the conditions ferns enjoy. For most that is a hummus rich soil with plenty of leaf mould. Some varieties do well on pots and containers eg. Herrenhausen Fern. His tip was to cut them back when they start to look untidy which is usually around now (Feb/March) when they don’t require so much winter protection.

Companion plants that sit nicely with ferns include around now Snowdrops, Hellebores and Cyclamen (Coum
varieties) and later in the year Anemone Nemorosa, Lily of the Valley, Brunnera, Hardy Orchids, Epimedium, Bergenia and Hostas.