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Blog Post

This Week’s Guest Blogger is Tom Cutter, a Senior Gardener at the National Trust’s Glendurgan Garden.

Fern Your Keep

Some of my favourite plants in a garden are often those overlooked by so many, but ferns play such a vital role in creating the atmosphere that allows you to appreciate a space.

It is often said that green is the most important colour in the garden, and I couldn’t agree more. While it often plays the extra in the show of a garden it makes its importance none the less essential, it embodies the whole atmosphere of the show. Ferns are great for providing this atmosphere with their almost Jurassic foliage, transporting to a time of dinosaurs and jungles. While they may not catch your immediate attention like an individual bloom from a Rose, collectively they make you feel, daydream even, and that could be one of the most important things a garden can do.
Caring for ferns is surprisingly easy provided you choose the right fern for the right spots; they really aren’t needy at all. So, make sure to do your research before buying them; look at your soil, consider your climate, look up – how much light is there?

We are lucky in Cornwall to have the climate that we do as it creates plenty of humidity for moss to form on trees and in turn lends itself to epiphytes. Our native Polypodium vulgare is a natural at forming colonies on the branches of trees but with our milder winters, we can experiment with some more tender ferns. The most successful being Microsorum pustulatum, otherwise known as the Kangaroo Fern, which has these incredible shiny but deeps lobed fronds that look jungle like and unlike anything you would expect to see growing in this country. The Kangaroo Fern does exactly as I said earlier, it makes you feel, you daydream that you’re in a jungle waiting for the dinosaurs to run past; and there is nothing more you could ask of a plant.
I hope I have inspired you to try more ferns out in your gardens, if you are a dreamer, you will never look back.

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