On 27th October 2018 a small group from The Friends of Danesbury Fernery (FODF) met in Welwyn for a convivial drive up to Norwich for the regular autumn social get together of the British Pteridological Society East Anglia Group (BPS EA). Thanks go to Andrew for driving myself, Sarah and Harry all that way.
A visit en route to – The Plantation Norwich
The Plantation is a restored Victorian garden in an old chalk pit very close to Peter and Nick’s house, where the BPS EA Meeting was to be held. Before the start time of the EA Autumn Meeting we therefore took the opportunity to visit the Plantation under Nick’s guidance. Go to The Plantation -Norwich for a separate report.
The BPS East Anglia Group Meeting – attended by Andrew, Sarah, Colin and Harry
After our visit to The Plantation, everyone was pretty chilled so warming coffees pulled us away from the Fern haven of a front garden, rising in steps to the house. A very friendly welcome and a quick tour highlighted Peter and Nick’s love of India, as well as Peter’s vast and impressive collection of ferns. More impressive is Peter’s knowledge of ferns. Later we wandered outside again for the plant (fern) sale and got a chance to explore the front garden delights again and discover that the rear garden is similarly profuse with Pteridological delights.
We four had interesting conversations with attending BPS members over lunch provided by our hosts. There is a great deal of knowledge in the group, as I’m sure there is in any enthusiastic and specialist organisation.
With most members comfortably seated in Peter’s lounge Andrew began the presentation of Danesbury Fernery. With much interest and questions, and the other three of us chipping in occasionally, I think we ran over our time slot a little, but nobody seemed to mind. There was surprise at how much had been achieved in such a short time by a relatively small volunteer group at Danesbury. I am sure we can expect a good group of BPS members when they visit Danesbury on Saturday 20th July 2019.
Two more interesting and varied presentations took us on tours of foreign lands with ferns in the forefront and many splendid photos. Time constraints meant we had to make our excuses and we packed the boot of Andrew’s car with our purchased ferns. Some were for individuals, but the bulk have now been planted at Danesbury.
If you wish to see the individual plants and know where to find them just catch Sarah or myself on one of the working party days. We moved many of the Dryopteris filix-mas (male fern) and Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich, or Shuttlecock fern) to ‘themed’ beds under trees to make room for the more interesting varieties.
Ferns being ferns, they will look a bit sad for the winter, but with the return of warmth, and some moisture, I am sure they will look beautiful by the summer next year. The themed beds should slowly become impressive as they form homogeneous banks.