Murray Bridge garden club learns about ferns

Floral art: Jan and Adrian Scott have a talk with Murray Bridge Garden and Floral Art Club president Robert Butcher. Photo: Supplied.
Floral art: Jan and Adrian Scott have a talk with Murray Bridge Garden and Floral Art Club president Robert Butcher. Photo: Supplied.

 The beauty and diverse world of ferns was the topic at the recent Murray Bridge Garden and Floral Art Club meeting.

Guest speakers Adrian and Jan Scott’s love affair with ferns began 25 years ago,  growing them from spores as a hobby.  

There are about 10,000 species of ferns growing around the world in a variety of habitat. Fronds can range in size from less than an inch to more than 3.6 metres.

Ferns do not produce seeds, they are grown from spores which look like small dots on the underside of the fronds. 

Fern plants can drop millions of spores onto the ground, but only a few will find the ideal conditions in which to grow.

Most ferns prefer a shady location and can handle some direct sunlight, however the more sun they get the more moisture they will need. Maiden hair ferns are delicate ferns with very small fronds and a lacy appearance but they are considered hardy rather than tropical ferns. 

Maiden Hair ferns prefer to be kept away from windy spots and draughts, keep moist and if they die back, remove the fronds at base level to encourage a re-shoot.

Ferns make lovely house plants, but the humidity in homes is often too low for some ferns to thrive, especially in winter when the heat is on. 

Misting the plants will help improve humidity levels as will sitting their containers on a tray filled with pebbles and just enough water to reach the bottom of the fern pot.

Ferns divide much like perennial plants. The best times to divide ferns is in early spring when they are just resuming growth. 

Make sure the plant has been well watered before dividing. Transplant as soon as possible and water well until new growth is seen. Best mulch for ferns is chopped straw or sugar cane or fine shredded leaves, which helps maintain the moisture.

Ferns thrive on Charlie Carp Fertilizer, feeding approximately every three weeks.

There are many problems associated with ferns arranging from drying out, or giving them too much water.  Ferns don’t need to be watered daily.

Competition results:                     

B. B Rule. B&D Hoffman; C. R&C Butcher, R MacCulloch, B&D Hoffman; D. B Rule, R&C Butcher, R&C Butcher; E1. B&D Hoffman; F. M McDougall, B Rule, B Rule; G.B Rule,  B Rule; H. R&C Butcher, D Griffiths, R&C Butcher; I.B Rule,  R MacCulloch, B&D Hoffman; J1 B Rule, B&D Hoffman, D Griffiths; J2 D Griffiths, R&C Butcher, R&C Butcher; J3  R&C Butcher, R&C Butcher, B Rule.

Champion exhibit: Rob and Chris Butcher