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Fern World BPS Newsletter - Summer 2013

Issue 6. Produced by the BPS Publicity & Marketing Team

Fern World Editor’s Letter Hello & welcome

to the 6th edition

of the Fern World Newsletter! This is the online Newsletter of the BPS, the Society for fern enthusiasts. Firstly, I would like to take a moment to apologise for missing out the winter edition of the Newsletter. Other commitments got in the way of fern business, and the last 12 months have just flown! We had another long and harsh winter in the UK - I hope people’s outdoor ferns have survived the cold weather. Hopefully we will get a good summer this year in return, as we have a full calendar of events to look forward to - see pages 10 to 12 for a list of Regional and National fern group meetings. We have also held a number of successful indoor events since the last publication of Fern World, and a brief run-down of these can be found on pages 6 and 7, and an account of the BPS AGM which was held at The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh can be found on pages 4 and 5. I am very pleased to say we are featuring a guest article in this edition of Fern World, written by BPS member Nick Hards, in which he describes his study of Ferns in Urban Drains - a pastime that anybody can get involved in! You can read Nick’s article on pages 8 and 9.

Above: Cibotium glaucum growing in the RBGE fern glasshouse.

As always, if you have any suggestions about the content for the newsletter, please feel free to contact me, Liz Evans, at the Publicity email address:

Signing Up: If you wish to receive an email notifying you when a new issue of the Fern World Newsletter is published, please sign up to the online mailing list which can be found at the link below:

Further information about the society can be found on the BPS website at:

Front Cover Image : The spectacular fern glasshouse at RBGE Photography : Liz or Alison Evans unless stated

New Fern World Blog! As some of you may know, our Fern World Blog has a new address. Unfortunately the old blog hosts, Posterous, made the decision to shut their website down. However, we were able to transfer all existing blog posts to a new account with Tumblr. This blog is very similar in design, so you should still be able to keep up to date with fern news! Also, there are lots of interesting fern related items to be found on the virtual pin-board website Pinterest! I Above: The new blog on Tumblr. See it have been spending some time gathering items onto “pin-boards�, which here: is interesting in itself, but also serves Below: An example of one of the Pinterest as an advert for the Society. Do have boards: a look if you get chance!

Contact the Publicity Team :

AGM 2013 - Edinburgh The 110th AGM took place at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on the 6th April. As retiring President Mary Gibby has worked for RBGE, it seemed like a fitting venue to hold the AGM, and attendees were treated to some wonderful talks - not to mention a tour of the beautiful glasshouses. As well as the usual business of the meeting itself, there was also an auction of the late Graham Acker’s fern book collection, which raised a great sum of money for the Society. The morning talk was presented by Andrew Ensoll of the RBGE on the Ferns of Texas and their propagation. The talk was fascinating in itself, but was made all the more special when members were able to see the fern specimens themselves in the garden and glasshouses. Above: The spectacular fern and fossil glasshouse at RBGE. Well worth a visit!

Left: The very knowledgeable (and camera-shy!) Andrew Ensoll, who kindly allowed me to photograph him next to some of the Texan Cheilanthes lindheimeri which have very successfully been grown in cultivation at RBGE.

Don’t forget the BPS Website :

AGM 2013 - Edinburgh The afternoon session was led by retiring President, Mary Gibby. She gave a very thought-provoking talk on the subject of conservation, and her work over the years at the RBGE. Subjects covered in the talk included the near extinction inflicted on the Killarney Fern by Victorian collectors; one of the first lady Pteridologists, Lydia Becker; the great importance of monitoring fern sites; climate change; and the raising of rare plants for reintroducing to the wild. After the AGM, there was an auction of Graham Acker’s fern books. On the following Sunday, members who had stayed overnight in Edinburgh were treated to a visit to the RBGE Herbarium, Archives and library, and a full tour of the fern collections. Below left: One of Graham’s beautiful books

Below right: Mary Gibby giving her talk

Above: BPS members enjoying Andrew’s wonderful talk. Left: Past President Robert Sykes with more Cheilanthes!

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Fern News Round-up RHS Open Days The BPS had stands at all four RHS Gardens on the 5th of October 2012 as part of their Plant Societies event. These stands were a great opportunity to meet gardening enthusiasts and to let people know about the Society and what we do. The “growing ferns from spores” demonstration was as popular as ever, and lots of people were interested in the BPS merchandise - and of course how to pronounce “Pteridological”! We also had stands at this year’s event on the 20th of April at RHS Harlow Carr and RHS Wisley. A combination of this event not falling on the RHS “Free Friday” as the previous one had, and the dreadful weather, meant that not as many people came to the stand, but it was still a worthwhile event. Thanks to all members who helped out at the stands!

Below: A selection of pictures of the BPS stands at the RHS Plant Societies events.

Don’t forget the BPS Website :

Fern News Round-up

FERN CALENDAR 2014 Again available early in the year, this is the latest in the series of BPS Fern Calendars. The calendar contains 12 high quality glossy colour photos of ferns taken around the world by BPS members – one photo for each month. It is spiral bound A4 size opening out to A3 size with details of each month underneath a different photo. A posting envelope is included. You can order from the BPS Merchandise webpage for £7.75 including P&P within the UK - different rates apply elsewhere. Thanks to Bryan Smith for all the hard work he puts in to keeping the calendar going year on year - if you have any photos you would like to submit to future calendars, please send high quality landscape JPEGs with details of content and location to Bryan:

SPORE EXCHANGE I am sure you will all agree that Brian and Sue Dockerill have done a wonderful job with the spore exchange this year after taking it on last year. The spore exchange is a free service available to all BPS members, and a full list of this year’s spores can be found on the website: We also now have downloadable leaflets on the website giving advice on growing from spores, the private life of ferns, and ferns for different garden conditions:

Contact the Publicity Team :

Ferns in Urban Drains This article was kindly sent in to the Newsletter by BPS member Nick Hards, and all words and photos are his. Do you have a piece you would like to see in the next Newsletter? Please do send it in to the address at the foot of this page! 1. I have not systematically searched for ferns in drains although I have known of 3 examples in my home town of Didcot, Oxon for several years. This year I’ve been paying more attention and have found ferns, mainly Dryopteris filix-mas and Asplenium scolopendrium in many drains, both locally and in Oxford (where there is a greater range of species) and North London. 1 is Dryopteris filix-mas in an old drain in the heart of old Didcot. The drain cover actually predates British Standards and was forged in a foundry beside Wallingford Bridge. 2 shows Asplenium scolopendrium in a second old drain on the same shop frontage as 1. These ferns have been in these drains in a long established residential area for at least 5 years and probably much longer.


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by Nick Hards These are where ferns are few and far between, but there are also ferns in drains in an area which has been developed within the last 25 years. Dryopteris filix-mas was the first fern which I found in a drain in the new part of the town and I have observed it for over 3 years, in a drain which was installed with the last 20 years The fern has been reinvigorated by the torrential rain of April, May and June 2012 although it survived the two years of severe drought. 3 shows Asplenium scolopendrium and Dryopteris filix-mas in another drain on the same modern estate, first observed on 10 July 2012. There are 2 adjacent drains with ferns on a main road through this estate. There seem to be no more ferns in drains along this road although there are other ferns on minor roads in both the estate and the older parts of the town.


Newsletter Editor’s footnote: I would love to start a section of ‘Ferns in Unusual Locations’ - does anyone have any pictures that would fit in this category? If so I would love to feature them in future editions! Email any pictures you would like to see in the Newsletter to

Don’t forget the BPS Website :

Fern Meetings 2013 18th May

22nd June

Manchester and North Midlands Group

Yorkshire Group

Moonwort monitoring at Oxlow Rake and Asplenium viride hunting in Conies Dale.

Cautley Spout, near Sedbergh.

Leader : Yvonne Golding

22nd June

23rd May South Wales and The Borders Group A day of garden visits with Clive Brotherton and Alan Ogden. Contact : Brian and Sue Dockerill

25th May Yorkshire Group

Leader : Bruce Brown Scottish Group Bioblitz at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh Leader : Heather McHaffie

29th June South-East Group

Moonwort Surveys at Grinton near Reeth.

Beckley Wood and Great Dixter, near Rye, East Sussex.

Leader : Barry Wright

Leader : Paul Ripley

25th May

9th - 14th July

Scottish Group

RHS Flower Show, Hampton Court

Linn Botanic Gardens and slate quarry.

BPS Stand

Leader : Jamie Taggart

Contact : Yvonne Golding & Gill Smith

1st June

13th July

East Anglia Group Sandringham Estate, Norfolk.

South-East joint meeting with Wessex Group

Leader : Tim Pyner

New Forest & Hiller’s Nursery, Hampshire

8th - 15th June

Leader : Jo Basil

Week Field Meeting to Western Isles

17th July

This meeting is now fully booked.

South Wales and The Borders Group

Leader : Pat Acock

A field outing to Clydach Gorge and environs

22nd June

Leader : Brian and Sue Dockerill

Manchester and North Midlands Group NT Calke Abbey in S. Derbyshire and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Reserve Ticknell Limeyards.

Leader : Yvonne Golding

Don’t forget the BPS Website :

Fern Meetings 2013 20th July

22nd - 25th August

Yorkshire Group

East Anglia and South-East Groups

Ecclesall Woods, Sheffield South West

Joint meeting, trip to the Netherlands.

Leader : Paul Ruston

Contact : Tim Pyner

21st July

24th August

Yorkshire Group

Manchester and North Midlands Group

Bioblitz at Foxglove Covert LNR, Catterick - booking is required for this so please do let Alison know if you wish to attend.

Unexplored acidic woodland cloughs at Woodhead Pass, Derbyshire.

Leaders : Alison Evans & Bruce Brown

Leader : John Grue

24th August

27th July

Scottish Group

Scottish Group

Kincardineshire Coast.

Geilston Garden, Fern ID tour.

Leader : John Edgington

Leader : Frank McGavigan

7th September

27th - 28th July Weekend Field Meeting - Lincolnshire

Yorkshire Group

Leader / Contact : Neil Timm

SW Yorks threatened plants survey Wortley and Agden Dike.

3rd August

Leaders : Paul Ruston & Bruce Brown

South-East Group

14th September

Cultivar Meeting at Fibrex Pebworth, Worcestershire.


Northwest Group

Leader : Julian Reed

Eskdale - Milkingstead Wood and Lower Mitredale.

10th August

Leader : Mike Porter

Yorkshire Group

21st September

Force Gill. Meet at Ribblehead. Leader : Mike Canaway

15th - 18th August Southport Flower Show, Southport BPS Stand.

East Anglia Group Hatfield Forest, Essex. Joint Meeting with Essex Field Club. Hatfield Forest Country Park. Leader : Tim Pyner

Contact : Michael Hayward Meetings Continued Overleaf

For Meetings Information :

Fern Group Contacts 21st September

Regional Group Contact details:

Scottish Group Puck’s Glen and Benmore Botanic Garden. Leader : Mary Gibby

Yorkshire Fern Group Leader: Bruce Brown Email:

28th September Manchester and North Midlands Group Explore the Staffs side of limestone Dove Dale. Leader : Roland Ennos

2nd October South Wales and The Borders Group Field outing in the general area of the Forest of Dean / Wye Valley. Leader : Brian & Sue Dockerill

5th October Yorkshire Group AGM Harlow Carr, Harrogate

5th October Scottish Group Autumn Indoor Meeting Edinburgh. Contact : Bridget Laue

12th October Northwest Group AGM Holehird Gardens, Windermere.

19th October East Anglia Group Indoor Meeting Oulton Broad. Contact : Bryan & Gill Smith

South East Leader: Paul Ripley Email: East Anglia Leader: Tim Pyner Email: North West England Leader: Peter Campion Email: Cornwall Leader: Matt Stribley Email: Scotland Leader: Frank McGavigan Email: South Wales & Borders Leader: Brian Dockerill Email: Manchester & North Midlands Leader: Yvonne Golding Email:

26th October South-East Group Autumn Meeting at Kemsing. Contact : Julian Reed & Pat Acock

Details of all the Meetings are also available on the Meetings Calendar:

For Meetings Information :

Fern World Newsletter Issue 6  

The summer 2013 edition of Fern World - the online newsletter produced for members of the British Pteridological Society and fern enthusiast...

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