A few favourite ferns

Woodwardia unigemmata ‘jewelled chain fern’

This is a truly magnificent fern from Eastern Asia, which I love for various reasons.  

  • Firstly its size… its fronds can grow huge, each one up to 2metres in length. I saw one once in the wall of an abandoned Victorian grotto with the leaves sweeping down to the floor creating an incredible backdrop to the other ferns in the underground fern haven. If you want an impact fern this is just the job.
  • Secondly its wonderful fronds, the young ones are fleshy pink. Quite a few ferns have this delightful habit, from adiatums to Dryopteris and it always brings the plant to an exciting start in spring and adds dynamism to its structure. Although there is a European chain fern with similar characteristics, it is the pink new fronds that raise this above its western relative.
  • Thirdly, and this one is a little irrelevant to the reader, is its name. My mother’s maiden name is Woodward and it’s always nice to have a link to a plants name (A lot of nursery plants are sold on the back of being chosen for its name alone!)

Familly: Blechnaceae
Genus: Woodwardia
Name: Woodwardia unigemmata
Common name: jewelled chain fern or walking fern
Origin: Taiwan
Care: moist shade or partial shade.
Hardiness: Not fully hardy in all the UK can grow well in the South West but would like a sheltered spot elsewhere or some winter protection.



Polypodium cambricum ‘Richard Kayse’  

This is a lovely polypody fern with deeply divided foliage, a beautiful fern that’s easy and tough but with a fantastic story.

It was discovered by a Mr Richard Kayse of Bristol in 1668 on a cliff outside Cardiff. The fern is sterile so can only be propagated by division. At some point the fern disappeared from nursery and was forgotten about until Martin Rickard (fern expert extraordinaire) re discovered it growing on the same cliff in 1980. So because it is sterile, the plant I now sell in the nursery is part of the same plant found in 1668, of course no one knows when it grew it grew from a spore before that and how old the plant is, but if you buy one you a growing a plant that is at least 400 years old.

The fronds are evergreen so stay around for winter and will grow to around 45cm high.

Familly: Polypodiaceae
Genus: Polypodium
Species: Cambricum
Cultivar: Richard Kayse
Origin: Wales, Dinas Powys
Care: moist shade or partial shade.
Hardiness: fully hardy

Up Coming Events

26 October 2019

Nightwatch is back, this year we have new people and creatures to teach you about everything night time.