Neil Timm: World of Ferns

Well A truly Autumnal evening greeted the third meeting of the Cropwell Bishop Growers and Gardeners. The nights drawing in, a bite to the air and a moody shower of rain just as you are about to set off to the most anticipated evening of the month. Not to be hindered by all of this, we had a good turn out again, everyone inspired by the thought of gaining a little bit more knowledge to help them in and around the garden.

Speaking of knowledge, it was clear there were few people who knew more about the world of ferns than Neil Timm our presenter for the evening. From his knowledge about the different species of fern, he had something for everyone, his advice being invaluable to everyone in the room I’m sure. Neil offered much more than a list of ferns though.

From photos of his observations of spotting ferns in the wild, to facts about the genus and sizes, his talk was full of information. One of my favourite elements of his talk, was his link to folklore and history, telling us what people believed about the uses of ferns and how they were used in the 1800’s as a must have garden.

Another great talk crammed with information, so we have pulled our top ten points again:

  1. Ferns do not produce flowers, so no seeds, they reproduce by spores.
  2. Ferns have a 2 stage life cycle, Prothallus being the reproduction stage.
  3. Takes around 3 years to get a sale sized plan.
  4. Selaginella is the perfect garden centre plant, hard to look after and takes a long time to show signs it’s dead.
  5. Horse Tail Weed – Chop and pour weedkiller in the hollow stems. Or move.
  6. Bracken is a fern. Biggest native fern, best not to let it loose in your garden.
  7. You can tell a fern as it comes from a central rhizome, also bracken dies back much earlier.
  8. Parsley fern, people ask for it a lot but only grows in mountain areas.
  9. Pollypodium are very tough ferns, can grow on other trees.
  10. No such thing as dwarf plants, ferns are compact plants that grow, die and grow again.

Don’t forget our next meeting will be our Christmas Social event. With festive activities and the Cropwell Bishop Singers will be joining us. Remember it’s also our pot luck supper, so remember to bring something savoury or sweet to share out. Monday 17th at 7:30 @ the old school.

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