Fern Collection restoration day with the BPS

Garden Volunteer Day – 27 September
Restoring the Jodrell Bank Fern Collection with the British Pteridological Society

Our monthly Garden Volunteer Day took a ferny turn in September when experts from the British Pteridological Society joined our regular volunteers to help renovate the Jodrell Bank Fern Collection.

Our first task was to uncover some of the Ferns that had been planted in November 2012 and it was exciting to see what had survived with very little maintenance and a bit of accidental strimming in the past. These were hardy ferns indeed!

The now uncovered ferns were then given a top dressing of leaf compost, full of nutrients from our leaf bins, which will help to both feed the ferns, and to keep the grass away from them.

Phil, our Senior Gardener, showed the volunteers some fungi that were also uncovered during the process. This included the poisonous (only if eaten!) Brown Roll Rim and Fly Agaric. We actually have over 120 different fungi in our arboretum and now is the perfect time of year to spot them.

Our next task was to plant the 54 new ferns which had been kindly sponsored by the BPS through their Centenary Fund Grant. We discovered some logs in a corner of the arboretum which made an ideal backdrop for a display of Asplenium and Polypodium.

Yvonne Golding from the BPS gave a demonstration in how to propagate ferns at home using simple equipment such as baking paper and windowsills and our keen volunteers took away some information to have a go themselves at home.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Society and to the BPS volunteers who came to share their expertise with our team, their enthusiasm for Ferns was infectious and our volunteers had a very enjoyable day!

We particularly enjoyed being enlightened about the Fern design on our biscuits! It turns out that ferns were the height of fashion in Victorian times when the biscuit was first invented and has remained the traditional pattern ever since. We shall have to insist on custard creams at every Garden Volunteers Day from now on!