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Ferny Fun at Rowden Garden Nusery by Penny King

Posted by admin on 19 Oct 2012 at 02:24 PM

Sometimes, working as a Gardener at Rosemoor, I get the chance to visit specialist nurseries to source unusual plants.

Jonathan Hutchinson and I travelled to Rowden Gardens located at , Brentor, Tavistock,  to visit John and Galen Carter. They have run a specialist nursery of rare and unusual aquatic, damp loving and herbaceous plants for some years now. It is a well-respected nursery (visits by appointment only - www.rowdengardens.com) and we have used them on many occasions over the years.

Recently, they began to donate their own home grown collection of Rowden Iris for use in the Bog Garden area of Lady Anne's Garden. We were very pleased to receive these and look forward to adding more of the collection at a later date. Although the area is in the early stages of development, the Iris will eventually settle in and transform it into a sight to behold during the summer.


On our visit, John and Galen kindly offered to donate a division of an unusual fern to Rosemoor which they had raised as a sporeling a few years ago. We set about dividing a portion of the mature fern by digging it up from the garden and prizing the crowns apart. We made sure there were plenty of roots attached. We then placed the root ball in a plastic bag to keep it moist. On arrival back at Rosemoor, I settled the fern into a pot of peat-free compost and watered it in. It will stay in this pot to grow on for a while until I find a suitable place in the Lady Anne’s Garden.


The fern is a descendant of Athyrium filix-femina ‘Frizeliae Capitatum’. John noticed that the fern showed different characteristics to that of its parent. He pointed out that the pinnae are bigger and the crest is more diffuse. Unfortunately the fern is not readily available or registered in the RHS Plant Finder. John has named it Athyrium filix- femina ‘Rowden Spider’ and it certainly resembles one!


It really was a good trip and I got to meet their dogs as a bonus, Hassan and Asha (who incidentally are Crufts/Racing Award Winners and now retired) who are particularly partial to bananas!


All in all, a very good ‘ferny foray’ of a day…

Penny King

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