October 2010

Margaret Nimmo-Smith was our erudite speaker at the first meeting of the Club year. She is an acknowledged local expert on ‘ferns’ and we were not disappointed. Rather than describe the many varieties of ferns that you can grow in this area I will concentrate on one aspect of her talk – growing ferns from spores – you can attempt this yourself or with your children!

Ferns belong to a group of non-flowering plants that reproduce themselves from spores – look on the underneath side of mature fronds (leaves) which have clusters of cases (sporangia) filled with spores. Collect some pieces of the fertile frond pieces, place in an envelope and allow to dry in a warm room. After several days remove the frond debris and a fine brown, black, yellow or green dust will be found in the envelope. The colour depends on the species of fern. Fill a small clean pot with fresh compost such as Arthur Bowers. Cover the compost with tissue and scald with boiling water to sterilise (Be careful – don’t allow the children to help this stage!) When cool sow the spores from the envelope and cover with a clean polythene bag. Label the pot and stand it in a warm shady position such as a kitchen window sill and do not allow the compost to dry out. After about a month a film of green will appear – from this the young sporelings will develop and eventually can be pricked out and hardened to a drier environment.

Of course this narrative has greatly simplified the process but it’s worth a try – it may result in your children becoming interested in plants for life! I can recommend many books for reference – just call 01763 208479!

Oh yes, we had an AGM recently! Mary Duff (moi!) and Judy Chamberlain were elected Chair and Vice Chair respectively, Gwyneth Page – Treasurer, Keith Evans – Membership Secretary, Hilary Magnay – Show Organiser and Shirley Cooper, Barbara Harper, Michael Pollard and Joan Smith – Committee members. Special thanks were given to Chief Steward – Colin Green, Jane and Robin Dring, Show Stewards – Shirley Wittering, Claire Worship and Pam Coombs, auctioneer – Cath Brooksbank and all helpers in the kitchen, at the door, at the raffle tables, erecting display boards and posters – thank you all!

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