Is Your Tree Fern Dead?

I know from my stats page that many people find their way to this blog to seek advice on their Tree Ferns and in particular Dicksonia antarctica. It seems that Tree Ferns all over the UK have suffered due to the very cold winter. The questions people are seeking an answer to include:

  • Is my Tree Fern Dead?
  • My Tree Fern has no fronds.
  • How do I know if my Tree Fern has died?
  • My Tree Fern has only a few fronds.
  • Why has my Tree Fern not got many fronds?
  • Should I cut off dead fronds?

I do not claim to be an expert on Tree Ferns (or anything else for that matter) – so I set off on the Interweb to see if I could find answers to the above questions. I found lots of expert advice on the cultivation of Tree Ferns including how to protect them over winter. But I could not find anything about cold-damaged Tree Ferns or any advice on how to nurture a frost damaged Tree Fern back to life, if indeed, that is possible. For myself, I would like to find advice on what to do about my smaller Tree Fern that has, so far, only put up 2 new fronds this year.

So if there is an expert out there who knows some of these answers please could you use the comments section at the bottom of this posting to share your wisdom.

I have 2 Tree Ferns (Dicksonia antarctica), one 6ft tall and the other 3ft tall. The tallest one is quite exposed to both wind and sunlight and despite losing all its fronds to frost has now put up 20+ new fronds. The shortest one is more sheltered from the wind and sunlight and even has a tall bamboo growing next to it giving increased shelter but this one has only put up 2 new fronds so far this year. Both had some dry leaves and fronds stuffed over their growing point. It seem then that size must be an important factor in getting through a cold winter.

My smallest tree fern, the one in trouble, seems to have either some dead coils of fronds at its heart or somehow the growing area is blocked by the stems of dead fronds. I wonder if some of the cause of my problem is that some of the fronds have been killed by the frost before that were able to naturally bend outwards and downwards away from the centre of the central well of the trunk? I wonder too if dead, embryonic fronds are similarly blocking the central well and stopping the development of new fronds?

I think my non-expert advice for anyone wondering if their Tree fern is dead is:

  • To not assume death and continue to keep the trunk moist. Perhaps there is a chance of recovery.
  • To not cut off dead fronds unless absolutely sure that there is no life in them.

Sorry that I can’t be of more help but perhaps an expert will give us

some advice.


  1. My tree fern is quite moist in the middle with no sign of any fronds could it of died????

  2. I am mourning my beautiful tree fern as I think it is dead but I am afraid to give up hope! It was absolutely fantastic but last winter was extremely cold (in Ireland - a freak winter) and all the fronds died off. I was hopeful that this spring loads of new fronds would uncoil from the centre and spring up but each day nothing happened. Yesterday, I examined the centre in great detail. It is very moist, smells badly and is crawling with little worms of some sort - it is definitely rotting away in my opinion. The only thing I can think of doing is maybe trying to saw off the top few centimetres as perhaps the rotting material is only in the very top layers and there are perfectly healthy uncoiled fronds below just waiting to escape (unlikely I am sure but still I wonder have I nothing to lose by sawing off a few centimetres). What does anyone think? Likewise I too have serched the web for any help but can't find any specific to my query.

  3. I'm in Lancashire and we too had a deeply cold winter with temps as low as -20

    Our two tree ferns were well protected- it appears we have lost both of them. The smallest was obvious. It was wet and mushy ontop and smelt bad. The second 5ft high fern started seeping orange slime out of the trunk during early April and it appears the top (although not mushy or rotten) has completely died- all the developing fronds were dry and black.

  4. In answer to the first comment:

    I think that may be the case but it is worth waiting a little longer to see for sure. It is always worth protecting the crown with straw over winter, I use old fern fronds.
    I hope you tree fern pulls through.

    In answer to Mary's comment:

    Hi Mary
    May I offer my sympathy, the passing of old fronds is always sad. It does sound like your tree fern has expired. You could try removing the rotting part but I’m not sure that would help.
    I’m no expert on tree ferns but I have scoured my collection of books on ferns to see if there is anything about resuscitating a tree fern. Martin Rickard in his book ‘Garden Ferns’ writes:
    “It seems to me that it is the meristem (the bud tissue in the crown) that is vital for the continued success of the plant, so from late October to mid-April I protect this area of the plant.”
    From what Martin says it seems that cutting into or cutting off the meristem would not help.
    Sorry I can’t give more joyful advice but thanks for your post and once again my sincere sympathy.


    I answer to the last comment:

    I’m sorry about the loss of your tree ferns. Both mine have survived unscathed but last winter (and the one before) was very cold. I live close to the coast in Kent and I don’t think we got temperatures anywhere near those you experienced.
    It is interesting what you say about your smallest tree fern. The smaller of my two was badly affected the winter before last. In researching some of the comments I’ve had about the losses through the winter, I noticed that Martin Rickard in his book ‘Garden Ferns’ suggests that shorter tree ferns are less hardy. He bases this on the severe winter in the mid 80’s when he says that none of the plants he saw that were less than 4ft high had survived despite being protected. Of course, the theory is that this is due to temperatures being lower near the ground.
    The winter before last caused the coiled fronds in the crown of my smaller tree fern to turn black and die. However, new growth fronds did come through despite the dead coils impeding their progress somewhat. Perhaps there is some hope for your 5ft tree fern? I hope so.
    Thanks for your post.

  5. Well I took the saw in hand today and cut off maybe half an inch off the top of the stump of the tree fern. It was still all rotting looking underneath - wet mushy gooey stuff. So I took another quarter inch off and it looks a little more promising - only in so much as it is not wet and mushy in the centre at least. The outside of the stump circle is still wet and oozy (perhaps that is akin to tree sap or perhaps its and indication of rot, I don't know) but the inside of the stump circle seems dry and very hairy so that to me seems an improvement? I will fall over with shock if anything uncurls out of it but it is certainly more likely I think that something might uncurl out of this dry piece than out of the gooey smelly rotting top that existed before the sawing!

  6. Good luck to you and your tree fern. I hope it survives! If not, you could, at least, be left with a 'feature' stump. You could plant some other ferns and stuff into the stump - I hear that some people do that.
    Please let me know if the patient survives.

  7. Aha.......just the blog I need.... I have had my tree fern for three years now..and its my most treasured thing in my garden (I am whispering because I dont want it to hear me calling it a 'thing') I to have been greatly concerned about the health of my tree fern but have had none of they symptoms of Mary, but I have no fronds coming through, but the outside looks dry and......hairy and the centre looks nice and brown and healthy - i keep poking my finger in the top to see if i can feel any growth but alas nothing yet, but I am not giving up hope. I live in Yorkshire and the winter here was very harsh, I lost my cordeline and my bottle brush and other plants and lost an ever green clematis (which i cut right back and woo hoo its shooting again) I carefuly wrapped up my tree fern in bubble wrap over winter and packed the centre with straw. I am not going to give up hope on my little treasure :) I will be sure to report back next month on any......growth!!

  8. Wendy
    I feel a tad ashamed that my tree ferns have survived because I did very little to help them. I put a few old, dry fonds in the crowns and that was about all. But I do live in the south and the winter was not so harsh. I've lost a load of other stuff mainly because I headed off to the South of France for Christmas and New Year without giving the tender plants a second thought. My biggest loss looks like being my bananas - Musa Sikkimensis - which have survived in the garden for the past ten years. I keep checking to see if there are shoots from the roots ("shoots from the roots" - sounds good!)
    I am fed-up and bored by the north-easterly winds that continue to make my part of the world so cold (North-Kent Coast). It has driven me to drink and I'm just back from the pub.
    I hope your tree fern survives.
    Keep the faith.

  9. Rob

    Shame on you for leaving your tender plants alone at Christmas and New year, they obviously hit the drink and didnt survive. lol.
    Still keeping my fingers crossed for my tree fern and trying to decide if I should risk putting my Kangaroo Paw out in the garden (has anyone got any suggestions on care for this plant as I have never had one before)
    I liked the idea of a 'feature stump' so thats what I may have to do, move my 'stump' to a bigger pot and plant hardier plants around it, I am wondering if I could get those little suculent alpines to grow on it...(the ones that look like cabbage roses)
    Oh well back to work - grrr.

  10. Wendy

    I think I was the one that hit the drink and I did leave my plants to fend for themselves whilst I quaffed champagne (it was good though!).
    The stump idea sounds good! I think the little cabbage like things that you are thinking of are Sempervivums but also try Echeverias - they can be surprisingly hardy. But perhaps your tree fern will come to life again . . . . perhaps! I hope so.
    I know nothing about Cat's Paws except that I think they come from Australia and are also known as Kangaroo Paws. There is, as usual, differing views on their hardiness. Amulree Exotics say they can be quite hardy - there is a link to their site in the right-hand column of this blog.
    I had some good garden news tonight. My big clump of black bamboo had not made any new shoots and I feared the worst but tonight there are new shoots. A similar thing for my banana - Musa Sikkimensis - which is tonight showing signs of growing a new shoot from its root (sounds a bit dodgy)after being cut to the ground by the cold. And a favorite fern that I thought I'd lost due to having to replace a fence post is tonight showing new life.
    Even the weather is better, which is good as my kitchen and bathroom are being rebuilt so I've just had a makeshift shower in the garden!
    Pub next!
    Good to hear from you.
    Regards to stumpy!

  11. Dear quaffer of champagne (I hope it was a good vintage)
    My 'stump' is still showing no signs of life, so will from here on in she/he will now be known as the 'stump' until it starts to show any of the afor mentioned 'life' I will attempt not to call it stump in ear shot of garden so as to not do any lasting mental damage to 'stump'.
    At the moment garden is.....doing well....even the heathers in my front garden seem to have a spring in their step even after I took the hedge sheers to them last weekend, but now I can enter my front door without fear of attack from the fiendish heathers, who would ever have thought that the little 50p pots of heathers from a local supermarket would grow into such beasts!!
    I managed to purchase some new arum lillies at the weekend to replace the ones that didnt survive over the winter at the bargain price of £2.00 a pot, oh the joys of car boot sales. Your bamboo sounds as if it didnt suffer from you drinking bout over christmas and I am pleased to hear that it is in recovery, I have never had a bamboo and it is something I may look into this year. So I suppose I should go and poke my finger into the crown of the 'stump' and see if i can feel anything, and water the rest of the garden, whilst constantly looking over my shoulder to see if 'stump' is doing anything!!
    Have a lovely time at the pub.
    Regards to your plants (poor poor neglected plants :) )
    (if anyone is reading this other than Rob and thinks that I am being horrible to someone in my garden, the someone is a australian tree fern that dosent look as if it survied over the winter - it was previously called Jimmy after Jimmy Barnes who wrote some of the tracks for the movie 'Lost Boys' - No I do not need sectioning, I just happen to name my plants......erm well just the bigger ones, I havnt started calling the little ones anything yet!! :) )

  12. Wendy
    Be assurred - very, very few people read this blog! And that has given me an idea! How would you like to become guest blogger on this famous blog? I'm thinking of updates on the 'Stump' perhaps on a theme like:
    'How to carry-on when all your fronds have left you'
    I also think you have obvious skills in understanding and diagnosing the mental health of plants and this subject would be of great interest to my readers.
    I think your witty contributions would bring in many more readers.
    Meanwhile, it is Saturday (Yippeee), the sun is shining, there is gardening to do, shopping to do (Yuk) and I must think of something to post to this blog. I need inspiration.
    Please consider my offer, I'm afraid I can't offer any renumeration but the reward will be being able to give support to the wider community.

  13. Rob,
    The champagne that you supped at Christmas time as obviously addled you brain if you want me to become a 'guest blogger', you realy should try some other kind of beverage, I suggest that you try something with less alcohol content....maybe tea or coffee.
    Stumpy gave me a great shock today, I walked into the garden this morning to do an early morning watering due to the forcast for today being hot hot hot and I saw a speck of green in the crown 'excited' is not the word, I rushed up to 'stumpy' with a song in my heart (ok I quickly stepped out of my back door, across the short expanse of decking) and looked.........and saw a bumble bee with a green leaf attached to its rear end. Did I curse, oh boy did I, even my cats covered their ears.
    As you said 'yay its saturday' and I have just come back from having my nails done - my one treat to me once a month and my attempt at being a girly girl and am now running round doing the housework so I can spend the aftertoon pottering around my garden, and inbetween that I will go and feed the little group of ducks that have appeared just outside my garden gate - I am unsure whether they appreciate my efforts at feeding them, its either that or they realy dont like 'weightwatchers' bread but who can blame them realy, the only reason they are getting fed it, is that I hate the stuff and would rather gnaw on cardboard than eat that stuff. Oh for a home-made Cheese and Onion loaf from my local farm shop, but I must resist. Instead I will carry on with the housework - attempt to groom my aged cat (long gardening gloves required) and then enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the garden.
    Ciao for now

  14. UPDATE ON STUMPY : he's still known as stumpy!! no gardening done today as its been raining all day, yes I am a fair weather gardener!!

  15. Wendy

    Not the 'Stump'? Anyway, good to know that Stumpy is still being cared for. Perhaps he will repay you with new fronds. As guest blogger on this fantastic site, you will be able to keep all the (many) readers up-to-date with his/her progress! I may soon post a picture of one of my Tree Ferns and it will probably be best if Stumpy does not see it.

  16. Hi,
    I have a similar story to some of you, my 5ft is fine with about 15 new fronds (I folded the dead ones over the crown and filled it with dead leaves over winter, cutting back all the fronds in march - he's doing fine), but the poor little 2 footer I've had for 10 years with minimal protection over winter other than a sprinkling of dead leaves over the crown, hasn't fared so well. No green fronds just dead brown and mushy ones :-(

  17. Yes, that's very close to my experience. The small one suffered badly the winter before last but just survived. It got through last winter without much problem, I had packed the crown with horticultural fleece.
    I think the moral is - buy the tallest Tree Fern you can afford. I know they are expensive but I don't know of any other plant that gives you immediate impact.
    I hope your small tree fern survives. As I said to Wendy (previous comments), the fibrous trunks even if dead could make great hosts for other plants.
    Thanks for your comment

  18. Rob, if you going to start posting pictures of your tree ferns on here I will have to make sure 'stumpy' does not see them, but then again it might be a good idea as it will make him/her feel guilty and will hopefuly start sprouting fronds. I think I will give 'stumpy' another month or so before I start to think about other options, I did think about getting a little potted fern and placing it in the crown just to make him/her not look so bald - the tree fern version of a 'charlton comb over'
    Plus I would like to know why just because I have a short tree fern that it has been picked out by mother nature not to survive, its rather 'heightist' dont you think, my little tree fern was just as good as your taller ones, my little tree fern was a little fern with attitude, sadly its lost all its attitude now just a stump.
    On a good note though both my ever green clematis have started to come back, my wintering flowering one that I had running up the shed has started to sprout new tendrils and it is looking healthier than when I first planted it, and the white spring flowering one is looking this and luxurious, but just a little short - mmmmm my garden seems to have a little trend going here.....all my plants are short!!!
    Ok back to work for me!!

  19. I can't believe there's a site for ailing tree ferns! It's so good toknow I'm not the only one suffering.....

    My beautiful 4ft fern has still not produced any fronds. It's been protected over winter, but absolutely nothing is happening. The crown isn't mushy, and it feels as thought there could be something formed in there, but I'm getting so frustrated! It's become almost an obsession to look on a daily basis-sometimes more often.I even tried to keep away from it and not look, but failed. I hoped the recent spell of hot weather would spark it into life, but nothing has happened. Should I give up on it?

  20. Dearest Anonymous,
    Aha you found our 'poorly tree ferns' site.
    You definatley are not alone in your suffering!!
    I have been on a simlar journey to yours with 'stumpy' (if you have read previous posts you will know why my tree fern is called that)
    I also check mine on a regular basis hoping that I will feel something in the crown but alas nothing has come through as of yet. I am assured by a gardening friend that something should have happened but alas nothing - at the moment I am pinning my hopes on the good weather recently and on the fact that Rob lives down south (I am only assuming that) and has more of a tropical climate than Yorkshire, so therefore his tree ferns are much more advanced than mine.
    DO NOT GIVE UP - keep the faith (ok now I am bursting into renditions of a Bon Jovi song)
    Your tree fern sounds as if its in the same condition as mine and isnt suffering from any of the mushiness that some of the other posters have mentioned and I am starting to thing that the damn thing is just asleep (must have taken some strong sleeping tablets)
    I am sorry I cannot be of any more help realy but I am sure Rob will post something that may be of some assistance. In the mean time keep up the observation on your tree fern and I will keep my fingers crossed for it.

  21. hi i have the same problem with my 2 tree ferns ,im getting obsessed with poking my finger in just too see if i can feel any new growth ,but still nothing .... i am however enjoying this chat room for tree ferns ,well thats what it sounds like ,lol ! i will not give up trying to bring them back to life & will keep you posted on my progress ....meanwhile i have shoved an artificial fern inside my smallest "stump" & i may say it is looking good ,so far ...

  22. Thanks Mo

    Yeah - this site seems to have become a place for grieving tree fernists to gather. But that's good! Please let us know how your stumps get on. You may need the help and advice of Wendy - she has particular skills in understanding the emotional side of tree ferns and tree fernists. I must apologise for posting a picture of one of my healthy tree ferns - I hope that is not too upsetting.

  23. Thanks for your kind words, Wendy. I am so relieved to have found this site. I really think I may soon need treatment for tree fern OCD. I just can't stop looking and feeling..........

    I am even more worried though as I live in the South East of England. We did have some incredibly cold nights in the winter, though (minus 16 deg on one occasion).


  24. I do have to say I think Rob and I are becoming Agony Aunts/uncles for poorly tree ferns!! and yes I think I also might have tree fern OCD - I even went out with an umbrella this evening to check on my tree fern....this is realy getting an obsession
    opps sorry for shouting - please please dont throw 'stumpy' and I off the blog!!
    So my sweet stumpy has new friends, its nice to know that he is not alone.

  25. I am sorry for posting a picture of a healthy tree fern, I knew it was wrong but I could not resist it!
    Yes we are becoming Tree Fern social workers - but I rather like it! Thanks very much for your help and remember you are to become a guest blogger on the great Musa Blog. (I think I'll go to the pub now for some non-tree fern banter)

  26. Rob shame on your for leaving your much beloved tree fern bloggers and most importantly your garden and head down to the pub - that is so shameful, what is even worse - you didnt take us lot with you, we could have put the tree fern world to rights over a pint of 'old peculiar' or a 'cheeky vimto'
    The weather here 'uup norf' is slightly inclement at the moment, infact compared to earlier weeks it is blooming awful, but then again I suppose our gardens could do with the water.
    Oh well back to work for me.
    Carry on hugging your trees (ferns)
    Wendy x

  27. 2 weeks have passed since I took the saw to the very top of my tree fern stump to slice off the wet mushy decaying top to find a somewhat dryer piece underneath in the hope that there might be a frond or two just waiting to uncurl. On cutting, the centre was dry and hairy and the perimeter was wet but not mushy. I am very sad to report that within less than 24 hours, the wet at the edge had seeped its way into the dryer piece and over the last 2 weeks the whole top has once again gotten very mushy-looks pretty disgusting actually as orange liquid has started to seep out of it-what I knew deep down 2 weeks ago, is definitively confirmed to me now-my tree fern is dead!I can't really see how I could plant anything it it as it really is disgusting with the seepy stuff. However I bought a Gunnerra Manicata at a garden festival over the weekend to maybe put in its place completely but it is not half as attractive (though only cost a tenth of the price) and having researched it (after purchase!) it sounds like it's something one will either love or hate. I do like its architectural look though. Just wondering re the tree ferns - would buying a shortish one (to keep costs low) and sowing it on a height be the same as buying a taller one (as the taller ones seem to have survived better) or is it just the greater age of the taller ones that has stood them in good stead over this brutal winter past. Any thoughts?

  28. Dear Mary, my sincere condolences go out to your and your beloved tree fern! I am to slowly coming to realise that my little tree fern is no more but I think it will take me a couple of weeks more prodding to finaly call it quits - my little tree fern was a present from my dad, I had lost about a stone in weight a few years ago and he decided to buy me something of a similar weight - he was due to bring me up a moss lining for a wall basket, and when he put it on my garden table and I slowly unwrapped it there was 'stumpy'.
    My parents lost their own tree fern a couple of years ago, the crown of the fern kind of went realy wierd and kind or grew out of the middle like a little alien and started sprouting out of the crown which by that time had extended a good couple of inches - it grew weedy little fronds and they lasted a few weeks and kind of gave up the will and wilted.
    I proded my tree fern again this evening and I am still unsure what is happening, the crown seems quite healthy the fuzzy stuff is still firmly attached and looks......well healthy and fuzzy - I think i may do what i said in previous posts and go and get my fern a 'wig' this weekend just so it isnt to embarrassed amongst the other plants.
    I have seen a few Gunnerras' and would love to have one for my garden, but I have heard they grow rather large and as I only have a postage stamp sized garden I think it is unwise, I learnt this the hard way by buying a giant geranium for my front garden - think that giant geranium would mean I would have giant blooms - nope no huge blooms but a whopping great big plant that took over - I dug it up late last year but am now finding its sproutlets in my back garden (how the heck it got there I have no idea, but think it should enter the olympics as it obviously pole vaulted my house and seeded itself in my ivy pot at the back - its either that or it took a meandering stroll round my house, past my neighbours - down the back alley, along the back garden, thru the gate and must have marched stoutly up the garden path)
    I am unsure of the height thing or tree ferns, I honestly think that Rob is just being heightest to us smaller tree fern lovers - heck - up here I would need to take out a second mortgage to get a tree fern the same height as me, and I am only a titchy five footer.
    Oh well less of my drivel.
    Keep hugging your tree ferns
    Ciao for now

  29. Mary
    Sounds like you did the best you could for your stump. If you are going to get another tree fern, go for the biggest you can afford, I think they are hardier and certainly more impressive.
    A Gunnera is fun! Give it enough water and you will be able to sit in the shade of one of its leaves. I didn't quite have the nerve to get a Gunnera manicata but got a Gunnera tinctoria - its about the same but a bit smaller. I'll give some suggestions for other big leaved plants in my next posting (based on my knowledge as a lazy gardener!). Let us know how the Gunnera gets on!
    A bit busy here tonight amidst the dust of builders rubble and it will soon be pub time.

  30. Wendy
    Heightest indeed! Tall tree ferns are a good investment and if you buy online you don't have to stump-up so much. When I have more time, I will tell the story of the day I took delivery of the trunk of my tall tree fern - it was like tossing the caber. (spelling ?)
    As you might guess the pub is beginning to call but I'm working from home tomorrow and may have time to produce and photograph some of my 'Pondlife' products to amaze you. Watch this blog!

  31. All I have to say that it serves Wendy right that she has got a dying stumpy, she laughed at her Dad and I when ours went AWOL and died. It just goes to show that these unkind things come right back and bite you on the bum.
    If I am completly honest even the replacement one isnt fairing that well at the moment but hey ho you win some you lose them

  32. I have just looked at your photos Rob and it has made me realise what an incompetent gardener I am yours looks amazing all I can say is I must try harder

  33. (Stares up at the poster above her and ........just stares and whispers "Hello Mum")
    Ok I did laugh at your tree fern and I apologise most sincerley!!! But just remember who is going to be looking after your garden this weekend!! All I have to say is 'watch out Sweet Peas!!"
    Update on Stumpy: Still stumpy but no signs of rot or anything like that.

  34. Its good to know that this great blog is now attracting families. Perhaps the readership is just comprised of Wendy and her family?? Never mind - I'm grateful that anyone reads this! I shall persevere with this blogging lark.
    Good to hear that Stumpy is not going rotten although I think he could do with making a few new fronds.
    Thanks Ann for your kind words about my photographs and garden. The good thing about a camera is that you can point it at the good bits and not show the bad. Clicking in to some of the photos will take you into 'Flickr' and the thousands of photographs that I hold on there. But that could be scary!
    Anyway, tis Friday - a few glasses of Vino Collapso and maybe to the pub later for a snifter or two.
    Have a good weekend!

  35. I think I have lost all five of my tree ferns (sniff). The crowns are dry and hard, even when I water them. They have moved house with me and I am very sad to think I have lost them

  36. Dear Anonymous!! sorry about your tree ferns....omg you have lost five, jeez thats tough. We all seem to have had so many problems with our tree ferns this year.
    Hahah nope Rob, its not just Mum and I. and tonight for a change I am on the Vino Collapso, might surface sometime tomorrow. x

  37. Thanks wendy, I am gutted that my tree ferns seem to have died I have had them for about 12 years with no problems and now this.They moved house with me 4 years ago from Kent to Staffordshire and they are my favorite things in my garden and I am now pondering the wig option for them!

  38. Dear Victoria,
    I think the hard winter that we had this year has 'done' for alot of our lovely plants - I have lost a lot (well alot to me, but as I have only got a garden the size of a postage stamp it probably isnt alot to some). Stumpy was the favourite thing in my garden basicly because my parents bought it for me - and I have always tried to take good care of it. I meant to go and get it a 'wig' today, but alas I now find myself in a build room trying to build a new server - oh the things I do on my days off, plus am trying to build 2 websites and what I realy want to be doing is sat in my garden enjoying it. Spent the weekend at my parents house, their garden is looking lovely and they should be very proud of themselves, you can see the hardwork they have put into it, I meant to get some photos of it to show Rob, but I didnt get around to it, maybe I can do it next week. Oh well I suppose I had better crack on plus must make a note for myself 'get a wig for stumpy'

  39. Hi Victoria and Wendy
    Sorry about the loss of your 5 tree ferns. I hate to say that my 2 are looking very healthy. However, I lost a lot of plants due to the cold winter, most importantly (to me) a very large banana plant (Musa sikkimensis). The banana has now sent up 2 new shoots but they wont make big plants this year.
    I guess its because I live in Kent and near the sea that my tree ferns survived. I think that in growing tree ferns there is a fine line between keeping their crowns reasonably dry during very cold weather and keeping the them moist enough when they are to start growing again.
    I would be very interesting to see tree fern wigs and would love a photo!
    Busy weekend due to kitchen rebuild and I need to think of something to post to this blog (always feel I've got to keep it topped-up). Any ideas you two??

  40. Wendy
    What websites are you building - sounds interesting.

  41. Wendy
    What sort of websites are you building? Sounds interesting.

  42. mine are the same fronds but still think that they will come on later because i think that they are still healthy "inside" (no smell or over dry or too mushy) but like you i do seem to inspect all the time ... anyway heres hoping

  43. We seem to be a group of 'prodders' dont we - hehe!! I prodded mine this morning and still nothing, I am still not giving up hope!!
    Rob - I work for an IT company on an evening, just learning how to do things at the moment and earning a little bit of 'me' money. I have only realy done one solo project and that was for the building I work in (will post url in sig) but I am working on one for an alarms company and have just finished one off for an artist.
    Things are so hectic here today and I am sure I will meet myself coming back, but have five minutes whilst the printer and the fax machine spout out reams of paper. Oh well back to the grindstone.

  44. Rob, seems if you click on my name on the previous link it will take you to my first website.

  45. Tis me again, just having lunch and resting my little feet for abit.....was just wondering if anyone has any idea what I can plant underneath a conifer hedge......I havnt got anything in the beds at the moment as nothing seems to like it as the confiers seem to draw all the water out of the soil. Its just mulched with bark at the moment, think I would like something pretty low lying and hardy!! and probably cheap as the flower bed is approx 30ft long but only a foot and a half wide - any thoughts?

  46. Wendy

    A fantastic plant that would go under your hedge is Geranium pyrenaicum 'Bill Wallis'.
    Geranium pyrenaicum's common name is the Hedge Geranium cos it is said to be able to grow in such places. It has small blue/purple flowers and blooms from Spring through the Summer. If it stops flowering it can be cut back and will then bloom again. It is quite rare so I think the only place to buy it will be online. Mine grows in deep shade surrounded by thugs but holds its own. I've got to really like it. If you click on the Geranium pyrenaicum 'Bill Wallis' label in the right column of this blog you will find some photos and words of wisdom. (OK - perhaps not wisdom!)
    Website looks good - wish I could build such a thing but I have enough trouble trying to get this blog to look right.

  47. Thanks for the tip Rob, and dont worry this blog is fab, I love it, and love the pictures.
    Its obvious when you first visit it that its someone who loves gardening and is willing to share his knowledge with others.

  48. Still looking, still feeling, still hoping.........!!

  49. Dear Anonymous

  50. Garden is coming on well and the bedding plants are starting to fill out nicely, my sweet peas are abit slow but I am sure they will start blooming soon - so many jobs to do in the garden but so little time. The clematis that suffered over the winter is coming back thicker than ever and the skimmia that I planted earlier in the year are fab - the garden centre that I bought them off said they would take awhile to grow and that I should invest in bigger ones, but wooooooo they are filling out nicely and I am glad i went for the smaller ones..........and stumpy....well urm..agh.....NOTHING!!

  51. UPDATE: Stumpy is still.......stumpy, but rest of garden is coming on well. Plus I think Rob has been abducted by aliens its either that or he has got lost in his garden!! :)

  52. Interesting Blog guys ( and gals ). I have the same problem as Wendy, Stumpy is not looking good. We had a very cold winter here in the south and I think it put pay to the poor thing. Have just been digging around in the middle, very mushy and full of worms. But... Under the mushy orange fluff there is what looks like white living plant material so Like u am not giving up. Am going to trim the edge of the top as over the years its appeared to get smalled and smaller with less room for the new fonds to grow. Ill let you know if I get any new growth but judging by the comments here am not holding out too much hope.

  53. Hello, I just found this really helpful blog, thanks to everyone for their comments. like you all, I am have a 'dormant' fern tree, I had however moved it in the spring, so this site has just at least given me the peace of mind that I may not have killed it, and that it failed due to the cold winter here in the south coast of Ireland. I just plucked out the dead rotten brown curled up fronds from the centre. Some of the last year fronds are still showing some green, and the roots seem to have restablished themselves since I moved it in the spring, so I am hopeful that there is life in the ferntree yet, I will give it another year before I give up on it. Interesting about the tree height being a factor in the survival rate over the cold winter, I have a second tree which I hadnt moved and its fine, but is about the same height as the one thats dormant(I refuse to say its dead just yet), only about 10 yards apart, but the dormant one is in a slightly sheltered area so more prone to a 'frost pocket'. But also the one thats fine has a greater trunk diameter by a few inches giving it roughly double the bulk, which may also mean that the centre has more insulation, both fern crowns were protected over the winter by the natural collection of pine needles and beech leaves from surrounding trees.

  54. Hi, i've got a five foot tree fern which took a big hit during the winter and yes there are no fronds growing out of the crown. I was wondering if anyone has tried purchasing a much smaller and therefore cheaper fern and attached it somehow to the top of a tree fern stump.

  55. Andy
    That's an interesting idea! I'm sure there are plenty of people who will give reasons why grafting a small Tree Fern to the top of a dead stump will not work. . . . . But I suspect that no-one has ever tried it! Tree Ferns are imported as trunks without roots, they've been sawn off at ground level. I've been amazed at how they are capable of putting down new roots from the sawn stump. So, if the base of the live stump is in contact with the top of the old stump and if it is held firmly in place with pegs and if the old stump is kept very moist at all times . . . . then?? The new Tree Fern will need to put roots down right through the old stump . . . I'm not sure if this is possible.
    If you do it then please let us all know.

  56. Geoff and Anon
    Welcome to this humble blog which seems to have become a refuge for bereaved Tree Fernists. (Of course, I'm not suggesting that yours have expired). You are amongst fronds here!
    The winter before last caused more problems to my tree ferns than the last. I found that some of the coiled fronds or claws (I'm sure there's a technical name) had turned black and died and these were blocking the path of new fronds. This might be a similar situation to 'Anon' in Ireland. The new growth did eventually come through after forcing out the dead coils.
    I'm not sure if there is a relatioship between size and hardiness, I only know that my 6ft tree fern has had no problems over the past 2 winters whilst the 3 footer has suffered a bit.
    Thanks for both your comments and apologies for not replying sooner.

  57. Wendy
    Perhaps Stumpy is happy as he is? (a stump) Did you read Andy's idea of grafting a new tree fern to a dead stump?
    Yes, I have been a bit slow in replying to comments. I have 3 excuses:
    1) Work
    2) I have added some new posts to this amazing blog. OK - they are not about tree ferns (or stumps)but I need to keep the thousands of other readers interested.
    3) I'm decorating!! Arrrgggg! And I hate it! It puts me in a bad mood. I should be doing it now but I'm putting it off by writing this! It's a lovely day and should be a weekend to get out in the garden but . . . .

  58. Yes I have come to the conclusion that stumpy is happy being stumpy, but I am not going to give up hope as of yet, I have no rot or anything like that, so I have made up my mind to leave stumpy as he is for the time being, but next year I may try hollow out the centre and try to make a feature out of it and perhaps plant a fern of some sorts in its crown, in the mean time I have bought some small succulents to plant around its edge. I also bought stumpy a wig today but he does look an awful site with it on, and realy looks much better 'bald'
    Bought a lovely white campanula (or however you spell it) today and a carex grass, but at the moment its just to damn hot to plant anything in the garden, so I might leave it till the sun starts to go down - at the moment its tipping 90f in my garden. So going to sit in the shade and read a book.
    Rob....decorating......hmmmmm lol.

  59. Hi Rob, Wendy and others, my name is Kevin and i too appear to have a dead/dormant tree fern which is about 4ft tall. Was well protected through last winter but i did note late last summer a couple of the fronds had like black tar coming out near their base, anyway this summer all i have is a 2" long frond all covered in this black tar stuff, the centre is dry and hairy and i can feel a few throngs but the seem too harder than before. As my fern has got bigger the growing centre is getting smaller and smaller, i did wonder if i should cut the top 2" off, but after reading Mary's blog maybe i should wait. Not got a clue what to do for the best.
    Sorry for the anonymous but could not work out how to enter my proper name.

  60. Hello The Rob and Wendy Show!
    We are down in sunny Cornwall!! Where the snow hardly falls, unfortunately we have had two very long frosty winters and two of our eight foot tree ferns seem to have had it, although one has two fronds! (looks a bit sad) Luckily we have a really big one, about 12 foot who is looking healthy. One question, will the one that has two fronds get better, if we help it this winter? We have been here three years and have been ignorant of looking after them, but they have been here about 19 years. Very interesting blog by the way!

  61. Hello Rob,

    Sorry have just found out how interesting your blog was with other things more than tree ferns! When you have a dying tree fern, that's all you care about! And that was all you were asking!! Very interesting with the white headed blackbird, I have seen an albino one once. Pity though that we have had no good insight to how to look after tree ferns, as your question was the same as ours, but perhaps as a group we can all help each other.

  62. Kevin,
    Good evening! I would not do anything as drastic as Mary in cutting-off the top of your tree fern as I think this will cause instant death. I am no expert on tree ferns (I keep saying this!) but I think the best thing to do is to make sure the trunk is kept moist but avoid over-watering the crown. I blast the sides of the trunks of my tree ferns with a jet of water from the hosepipe every day in summer even if it has rained. I will water directly into the crown only when there is active growth and when the weather is dry. Having said all that - I don't know the answer but I'll see if I can find out. Perhaps someone reading this will have an answer.
    Wendy would probably suggest that tree ferns are better without fronds! (Not sure where Wendy and Stumpy have got to the last few days).
    Thanks for your comments Kevin.

  63. Hi Sue,
    Welcome to the Rob & Wendy show! (Wendy has been a bit quiet recently)
    You must live in the best pace for tree ferns - lots of rain and mild (usually) winters. I remember seeing the tree ferns at Heligan, which I think is in your general direction? Sad if you were to lose such large specimens! As I said to Kevin, my best advice (non-expert) is to keep the trunks moist at all times, I think it will be important to get your tree fern into active growth before next winter and that means making sure the root system is working and nutrients are being drawn up the stem. Gosh! I sound like I know what I'm talking about - don't be fooled!
    Yes, the main focus of attention to readers of this blog seems to be tree ferns, I am glad that you have noticed that I do post stuff about other plants and other things. You might be interested in this evenings post about 'pondlife'.
    I have even thought about floating-off the tree fern posts into a seperate blog just about tree ferns. I thought I could call it 'Fronds Reunited'!
    The white-headed blackbird - sadly I've not seen him / her this summer and I fear the worst.
    Thanks for your comments and for reading the non-tree fern posts. Must go now as it is nearly time for a medicinal beer at the pub!

  64. Rob, Kevin here, thanks for the reply, i have had another feel about and i can feel new frongs, did a bit of googling last nigh and it would appear a lot of people are saying they are slow to grow this year, i lost loads due to the cold winter, cannas which were in the green house, my 6ft bannana plant rotted at the base, but i cut it off at ground lever and i now have 6 new plants growing.
    will keep you posted

  65. just setup a gmail account to get rid of anonymous, see if it works

  66. Haha so I have been missed eh!! Things are pretty hectic, just started a new job and have been out with friends and OMG I have discovered I have a little bit of a social life - watering my garden in the dark - my recently planted house leeks seem to be doing well and 'Stumpy' seems to be be an exceptional host. Hi to all new posters - Ok back to work I go :)

  67. Welcome back Wendy! Yes, its OK to go out and have fun. I've been working, decorating, tending to the bananas, and slaving over a hot blog with hadly enough time to get out for a medicinal tincture of beer!
    I'm pleased to hear that Stumpy has made new friends (if not fronds). Don't worry about me - I will struggle on, I owe this to our public.
    Actually, I have a day off tomorrow! Yippeee! A day to do decorating! Booo!

  68. A day off.....omg! We had rain overnight - its as if the garden has sighed with relief and is looking realy well - just a little small compared to some peoples gardens :)
    I am still a little stuck on what to plant in my front garden now that I have got rid of my giant geranium, what I would realy like to do is get rid of the postage sized lawn so I wouldnt have to drag the lawn mower around. Have been looking at more tree ferns but think I will buy another lottery ticket. Ah well time to head off to work - Happy Gardening everyone - and decorating :)

  69. Hi all
    Distraught tree fern owner on the Isle of Mull here. Like everyone else:long hard winter, protected tree ferns, no fronds yet, 2 out of 4 ferns are slimy and mushy in the crowns, other 3 are dry and hard. Do both conditions mean they are all dead? Our first fern is also called Stumpy, the second one was named Mr Kangaroo by our 3yr old daugter and the two smaller ones are Ant & Dec. We are all very sad at their likely demise but like you all are not giving up hope just yet. About to try growth stimulant/organic seaweed extract which they're meant to like. There must be someone out here from Heligan or Kew or knows the answer to all our woes? Someone please help us! from The Lost Tree Ferns of Mull

  70. Hi all
    still nothing thus far, can feel throngs but nothing coming up.
    Heres a pick of the centre

    On a better note the new bannana shoots are ding great as are my gunnera's

  71. I love the thought of us all going out in the garden and feeling for fronds! No one seems to know what to expect. I heard Heligan has the same problem and they are supposed to know!I shall try to contact them and find out for us all!

  72. Does gunnera ever not do well?

  73. Rob is probably in the pub!

  74. Actually he is not. He has not been to a pub at all today! In fact, he's just arrived back from seeing Bob Dylan at the Hop Farm Festival.

    OK, OK . . . . there were a few beer tents.

    He is also very tired and weary and will reply to the thousands of comments in the morrow.

  75. Sue
    Gunnera does do well if you water it loads :-)

  76. Hi Anon Mull, Sue Cornwall, Kevin and Wendy (she's probably out on the town!)

    I think it's a good idea to contact the man from Heligan. Good luck Sue and please let us all know how you get on. Mind you, don't get your hopes up, the man from Heligan is still trying to find his garden! I'll try the RHS - I think I'm still a member.

    I agree with Sue and Kevin, Gunnera should be fine given enough water. Gunnera manicata does need a lot of space, it might be worth thinking of Gunnera tinctoria - I grow this species and it is smaller than manicata but still impressive.

    Interested to know what bananas you grow Kevin. I grow Musa Sikkimensis and that was severly knocked back by the winter and is only now starting to put up new shoots from the roots.

    Does any one grow the palm -Trachycarpus fortunei or Chusan Palm? Mine has come through the past 2 winters without any protection and no signs of any frost damage. In fact, this year it was putting out new leaves in March when it was still cold. My plant is just beginning now to look 'substantial'. If you like plants with big leaves that require the minimum of care, this might be a candidate.

    I've been in the garden today staking plants. I'm not very good at staking, in fact, I hate it. Hence, I always leave it too late and don't do it until the plants are falling over the when I've tied them with green string around bamboo canes they look strangulated! Oh well!

    Tonight I will go to the pub! Work tommorrow - Yuk!

  77. I said when DOESN'T Gunnera do well, we have one that is a monster and we don't do anything to it. The kind lady from Heligan only talked about one she has in her own garden, and said, she only had two fronds!! Why is there ever only two? She says we have to be very patient but if you don't get any fronds this year then it's dead and should dig it up, BUT I say give it another year, you never know! It may just be resting. If it's all gunky and yuk then I would think it's probably dead!! But I also like the idea of planting something out of the top. I heard, from a great fan, that Bob Dylan is not good these days, any comment Rob?

  78. Rob, your garden looks amazing. Congratulations on all the incredible plants.I recommend all tree fern lovers to have a look! There is more to life than a dead tree fern!

  79. I am not on the town, or should I say I wasnt, I did go for a rather nice Italian meal last week, but dont class that as 'out on the town' just spent a lovely few days chilling out at my parents whilst they spent the weekend up at Alnwick Castle - they said the gardens are fab, but I was more excited about the place where they filmed the Harry Potter scenes for the first Quidditch lesson!! Dads tree fern is coming on well, this is his second one as the first one went realy strange!! His sweet peas are amazing and I always know when summer has arrived because your house is full of the scent (thank you for the bunch of sweet peas dad) - mine are not as far along as his and I am still waiting for the first bloom, serves me right for not growing my own this year!
    Bob!! would love to have seen that.
    Ah well better go and water my garden as it has been a tad neglected over the weekend.
    Happy Gardening everyone.

  80. Dear Sue Cornwall & Italian Wendy ,
    First - thanks Sue for your kind comments on my humble plot! But you can point a camera at the good bits and exclude all the nasty bits - and that is what I do! Nevertheless (is it meant to be one word?) I must admit, your kind comments make me feel really good - sort of bursting with pride. Amongst my chums I am the only one who has any interest with growing things, hence why I started this blog.
    Wendy - sounds like you had a good weekend - things like the association of the smell of sweet peas and your Dad will probably stay with you for the reast of your life.
    Sue - sounds like the lady from Heligan is, like us all, a bit lost.
    Bob Dylan . . . . I am also a great fan. I took my youngest daughter to the festival cos she wanted to see Mumford and Sons and Pete Doherty. I last saw Bob Dylan in 78 and thought then that he was past it! He was OK this time round. Favorite Dylan albums, apart from his very early stuff, are 'Blood on the Tracks' and 'Desire', his 2006 album 'Modern Times' is also pretty good. We also saw Ray Davies (of the Kinks), Laura Marling and The Magic Numbers who were great. Seasick Steve was also on the bill - I decided that as he was playing on dry land, he should just be called Sick Steve! (and he was rubbish).
    If you like music and you use a computer to listen to music then you MUST check-out Radio Paradise an internet radio station that has restored my faith in music - and has no adverts! There is a link in the right-hand column of this blog.
    Ahhhhhh - must be pub time! It's KMS tonight or . . . . Keep Mondays Special!
    Good to hear from you both, hope your tree ferns survive. But as Bob Dylan says:
    "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

  81. ahhhh Ray Davies, I saw him on glastonbury, he was awesome (well i am sure thats who it was) - I cant remember the last band I went to see, the last big one was probably either Bon Jovi or Kiss, and think that was back in 88 infact I saw Kiss twice in one week, now adays I just settle for the radio. lol, but I do like Eliza Dolittle at the moment!!
    Have a good time at the pub, time I went and got some sleep.

  82. Back fom pub. Do try Radio Paradise :

  83. Your pub either is a long distance away or stays open out of hours!

  84. A bit of both! Pub regulations on licensing hours changed a few years ago, so 'after hours' is not so definable as once was.

  85. Rob
    i grow musa basjoo, as for the gunnera i love the huge leaves of the manicata around the pond, got 2 so far, also awaiting for the first flower to come out on my Brugmansia which i grew from seed. Still no sign of life from the tree fern

  86. Stumpy is still..........stumpy, but I have to admit the house leeks do suit it, sadly have no got house 'leaks' in the house thanks to a split waste/overflow pipe in my bath - didnt know anything about it till water started dripping into the kitchen just wish the insurance company would hurry up and visit so I can get things straight again!!

  87. The one and only frond i had this year as i said earlier was about 1" long and covered in like black tar, decided to cut it off today, it was green inside and water is seeping from it, so i guess its still alive, fingers x

  88. oh fingers crossed kevin - that sounds good

  89. Hi Wendy
    Thanks, looks like i have a new one pushing through, fingers x it dont turn black like the other one.

  90. Thats so cool Kevin, just been checking on my 'stumpy' and the house leeks are establishing themselves quite well, think I am going to try and tuck some of the babylets into some more of the crevices on the trunk. At the moment got a plumber in sorting out my internal house leaks, insurance assesor coming next week so hopefuly in a couple of weeks should be all straight again and I can spend some quality time out in the garden.

  91. Wendy

    I have a few house leeks, really like them, post some pics links of stumpy with it's leeks, and good luck with the other leaks

  92. I would...but am unsure how!!

  93. Mmmmm still working on posting photos :)

  94. Wendy
    i think you can only post a link to a photo, go to and set up an account

    not sure if this works not done it before

  96. Hi Wendy
    works for me, nice one, stumpy looks good dressed up

  97. Hehe thank you, I was going to try and get in the garden today and get some work done, but alas the weather is against me again. Why does the shine all week and when it gets to the weekend all it does is rain?? Ah yes I think the answer is because its Yorkshire!! So has anyone noticed that a certain Blog owner is missing - should we report him as a missing person, do you think he has got lost in his garden or do you think the pub is more.....interesting. lol

  98. Hi Wendy and Kevin,
    Yes, it's me! Sorry for my absence . . . . . Ermmmm . . . . . Just been so busy! And then I feel guilty . . . . And then . . . . That just makes me less inclined to add to this (great) blog. Oh well!
    Weather is hot here, its gone 9.00pm and the temperature is 26 degrees. No rain for a long while so I have to keep spending hours watering, particularly the tree ferns.
    The weather is, in fact, just right for a meander to the pub and a couple of snifters!
    I'm pleased that Stumpy is enjoying the company of Sempervivums - I like them a lot. It's just that the birds keep pulling them up, in search of sausages or some other tasty morsel.
    Kevin - How's your Musa basjoo? My Musa sikkimensis is finally starting to make its presence felt after a winter that nearly killed it.
    As for your photos - if you mail them to me at: I'll add them to the blog. I'm also more than happy to give both of you access to add directly to this blog, if you would like to?
    Do you know, it is only 225 hours and 18 minutes before I go on holiday! Not that I'm counting!
    Right! Now I'm back . . . . I'm back! But . . . I'm just off to the pub . . .

  99. HI Rob and Wendy
    Musa basjoo's are doing great after loosing the 6ft daddy this year the 7 new shoots are all doing well, tree fern was looking promising, but it seems to have had a step backwards. Would love to be able to upload photos direct, let me know what you need from me.
    Wendy, weather in the sunny south has been hot hot hot, rain is promised tonight and early morning which will be good, as oer Rob, having to spend hours watering.

  100. Hi Kevin
    Yes - it looks like rain which we need here in the southeast. Glad to hear the basjoo is doing well. My sikkimensis has only 3 new shoots but I'm glad it has survived. I've added a new variety of sikkimensis this year that has red blotched leaves - I can't remember the name and it is now too dark to look at the label! I intend to wrap the banana stems in good time for the cold weather this year - unlike last.
    I'll check how you can upload photos direct but in the meatime, if you send me a photo to my email address (previous comment), I'll put it up.

  101. Rob
    The rain come yesterday, big time, garden really needed it, Cut my first cucumber today, looks great, hopefully should taste good. Sent you a few new photos also.

  102. Aha so Rob returns....
    Nothing much new happening here, seem to be spending most of the time watering my garden on an evening and no doubt we will have a hose pipe ban soon but thankfuly my garden is not that large that it will matter. Stumpy is still flourishing in a 'dead' kind of way and dosent seem to be to affected by his new 'hangers on'. This weekend the weather looks as if it could be quite nice so I will have to dust off the hedge trimmer and start tidying up the hedges......why on earth anyone used conifers to edge should a small garden is beyond me, on a privacy point of view they are fab but I have to admit I would rather have nice fencing than have to spend all day trying not to electrocute myself by cutting through the wire of the trimmer and the back breaking task of clearing up the trimmings afterwards but first I need to do the housework and then I can get into the garden - Hope you all have a lovely weekend. xx

  103. Good news from Cornwall, the tree fern with two fronds, now has two little ones come up! The other one is obviously a gonner!

  104. Hi Wendy
    Sorry about my absence - managing work, decorating, family, garden and going to the pub all become a bit much sometimes and something has to give!
    Glad to hear that, for Stumpy, there is life after death. I think that when I hand-in my gardening shoes that to be left in the garden with plants growing round me would be quite nice - if a little smelly!
    Conifers are very seventies, I remember being quite taken with them in those days although still an aspiring hippie (I failed).
    Off on holiday on Thursday and I'm very excited! My daughters tell me that I've never really grown-up but I like that comment! Getting on a plane! Airline food! Window seat! I love it all!
    If I don't get a chance to write again before I go, enjoy the summer and give my regards to Stumpy!

  105. Sue
    The news from Cornwall is fantastic! I think it will bring new hope to all those people with moribund Tree Ferns. People like Wendy and Kevin will have new hope! (They are already fronds)
    Seriously this is good news.
    My 2 Tree Ferns seem to be going from strength to strength. Not content with their first generous flush of growth, they are now making new fronds (pardon the pun!).
    Keep in touch and let us know how they get on.

  106. Even better news, my 'dead' tree fern has just produced one tiny frond, it looks quite pathetic but at least there is still life there! Hope you others out there get a frond too!

  107. Nice one Sue, had a look at mine today and it feels dry, i think its dead

  108. Hi Folks

    In a few hours time I'm off on the Musa annual summer holiday! Sad person that I am, my trusty itouch will give me access to this blog and I might post some boring bits about my holiday! Mind you, they will appear as new posts on this blog, not comments to the Tree Fern bit.
    Kevin, Sue, Wendy . . . . I've probably not replied to everything sent and I will do better on my return.
    Wendy, Kevin, Sue (and anybody else), I have a mind to create a new blog specific to Tree Ferns. I think the Tree Fern community needs us! And anyway, this blog does carry a lot of non-tree fern stuff (not that anybody reads it!). As you know, the botanical name is Dicksonia and it amuses me to have a blog written by Dick & Sonia! OK perhaps that is not a good idea!
    What I'm interested in is if any of you are interested in getting together to run this blog? It seems people are interested to hear from real people's experiences rather than from 'learned' people. I've certainly been impressed by the wit and creativity you have all shown (including Wendy's stump) and I think between us we could do something fun! And interesting! Let me know what you think . . . .
    Going on holiday now!

  109. Rob
    I'm up for it, let me know your plans on your return, and have a fab break

  110. Hi kevin,
    Great - be good if we can get Wendy too. Very hot here -sitting having a pre-dinner beer by the beach. It's a hard life!

  111. How is it different to it is now?

  112. Hooooooooooooo!!! (runs into the blog room and dives onto the nearest empty bean bag) sorry about my absence just lately, things have been so hectic, I just havnt had time to get online much and my garden is suffering for it (looks glum) but on a good note I have Friday off and as I wont be able to do much inside my house as I will have a plasterer and a plumber doing work that requires doing I am hoping I can run an extension lead out into the garden and get some much needed work done in the garden......lawn mown, hedges cut, weeding done, dead heading and maybe if I have enough time fences painted.
    Its such good news to hear that Sues tree ferns are starting to show a little bit of life – I have had a good luck at Stumpy this evening and I see no signs of growth apart from the house leeks flourishing.
    Rob, count me in on the blog – sounds good to me!!
    Ah well better go and get the garden watered and crack on with the ironing.
    Take care everyone. xx

  113. Hi Wendy

    hot hot hot here! Having to drink lots of beer to keep hydrated! I think the dream team bloggers could be you , kevin and sue. Oh and me.
    I do chuckle about the Dick & Sonia blog but perhaps I need to be more serious.

  114. Wendy, sounds like hard work to me, spent the weekend clearing out the garage, it's amazing how much rubbish we keep, son wants to take over the shed at the end of the garden for his music, so garage cleared and gardening stuff moved in, at the age of almost 21 you would think he would be thinking of moving out, note to self, time to change the locks (only joking......ish)

    Rob, just had another glass of red in sympathy

    As for the garden, tree fern i think has had it, only had 1 flower on my Brug, plant is going great guns, but only 1 flower so far, poppies have all finished, so collecting seeds, along with aquilegia seeds. Thinking how i can split my bannana plants without killing them.

  115. Sue in Cornwall9 August 2010 at 21:50

    Getting back to Tree Ferns!!!!!!!!!! Does anyone think that because it gives one frond it will get better, whether we have a good winter or not? Or is it just dying?

  116. I think the one frond is a good thing Sue, it proves its actualy alive - when my beloved Stumpy (gone but not forgotten!! :) ) was alive I got some specialised tree fern food - maybe that would help - or just give it a good feed with some other good plant food and give it tlc....can you take this tree fern inside during the winter (I cant remember if you said it was in a pot or not)
    I think I am going to have a look around for another tree fern, I do miss having one, I love the structure of the leaves and the whole thing about watching the leaves uncurl (or not in my case) Ah well time to go to work - new kitchen ceiling in - now just need to tackle the decorating..
    Happy Gardening everyone. xx

  117. Hi Sue and Wendy
    I'm sorry but i've not thought much about tere ferns in recent days but as soon as I'm back from hols, i Will need to check on the health of my two.
    Meantime, sitting here by the sea having breakfast having just enjoyed a swim in the company of turtles.

  118. Tree ferns come and go but at least someone is enjoying himself!! too much red wine to spell!
    I personally hate holidays, they interrupt a perfectly good life! Have seen live turtles, and yes, they are wonderful, but they would rather be left alone!

  119. I have come to a conclusion, since we have had a few days of heavy rain i now have 3 new fronds poking through, so maybe it had not had enough water, fingers crossed,
    Rob, hopw you had a good holiday,
    Sue, had a few glasses of wine, hope the spelling is ok

  120. Hi Kevin - thanks - just back from holiday and had a great time. Your spelling is fine and I hope (Sue) that mine is better now that I'm using a proper keyboard rather than an iTouch.
    Although I employed a garden waterer whilst away, my large tree fern looks like it has suffered from a lack of water. True, that it is in almost full sunshine since next-door removed a large tree but I think it does show how much water they need. I've given it lots of water through the crown and blasted the trunk with a jet of water from the hosepipe.
    After 16 days my garden now requires a lot of work. It makes me realise how much work is put in to the garden on a daily basis to keep it in some sort of control. If it were an hour a day, I suppose I should have about 16 hours to catch-up on.
    Good to hear that your tree fern is making progress.

  121. Kevin,spelling not that good! But that's OK!
    Holidays and gardens are a problem aren't they? Unless you can get a full time helper. We came back after a week and felt so overwhelmed at all the growing! We have dogs, so we always have a house sitter, but that doesn't mean they want to see to the garden! The alternative is to only go when nothing is growing! Or not go at all! Back to tree ferns, I still wonder if these poorly plants will get back to good specimens? I have only now realised,the fact we have had three wet summers is why they did so well. It was the bad winters that made them poorly. We were ignorant that they needed looking after as they were just there when we moved in and were doing so well. One thing I have noticed this year with the one that has survived very well, the fronds are still upwards, for the three years we have had them, they have always dropped the leaves to make them look like palm trees. Is that because it is too dry?

  122. Hi all
    i would like to introduce my hi-tech bring back to life gizmo, i'm thinking of registering a patant............
    what do you think :-)

    There is a hole in the bottom and a screw in the top with PTFE tape on, by screwing the screw in and out it adjusts the drip flow.

    See what happens

  123. Sue
    It must be something to do with the watering, didnt click about the wet summers we have had,
    will see if my watering gizmo works.

  124. Dear Kevin, I'm not modern, how do I see what you have down loaded?

  125. Bad spelling allowed!

  126. Sue

    Copy the entire text below and paste it into your web browser address bar

    and the same below to see the second picture

    hope this helps.

  127. My tree fern still has no fronds, but remains dry and not at all mushy. I don't visit it quite as often to "have a feel" but still live in hope......Do you think it may regenerate next year, or am I just a sentimental old fool?

  128. Sue, somewhere in Cornwall, away from the visitors!17 August 2010 at 19:42

    Dear anonymous sentimental old fool!

    This is what we are all wondering, unfortunately there is not an expert amongst us and if there are any out there they are not joining in. We will all know the answer next year! Dear Kevin, thanks for that, an interesting contraption!! Hope it works.

  129. Hi Sue
    Theres still life, but im onto version 2 tomorrow, will post moded pics.

    Anonymous, dont give up and keep it moist is all i can suggest at the moment. Good luck

  130. Helloooooooo, sorry I havnt been around for awhile, have been abit busy just recently plus I have some sad news, my gorgeous elderly grey cat died a couple of weeks ago - so in memory of him I think I am going to buy a new tree fern and put it in his favourite place in the garden, found a local garden centre and prices of tree ferns are amazing....just got to work out how to get it in the car. My boss at Guide Dogs has given me a wierd sort of therapy to get over Scruffy.....I have been boarding the most fab Guide Dog whilst he waits for a new owner...hes a lovely dark golden retriever with such a sweet and gentle nature, and hes currently laid at my feet fast asleep after having a very energetic day. Hope everyone is ok and your all hugging your tree ferns. xx

  131. Hi all
    just returned from a weeks holiday in Devon, and the weather aws rubbish, but still had a good time, anyway, on return after leaving oldest son strick instructions and version 2 of my watering device i have 1 1/2 fronds.

    very pleased, i'm sure it must be down to the watering.

    Wendy, sorry to hear about your cat.

    Is Rob still about

  132. Whilst doing some much needed garden watering this afternoon, sadly I have neglected it due to being soooo busy (next year must install a watering system) i found some strange brown leaves........and realised that my cordeline which died in the winter is sprouting again, I had cut it down, but due to lazieness didnt not get rid of the root.....but low and behold its sprouting again, woo hoo.....
    Congratulations on the new fronds Kev, I am still considering getting a new tree fern.

  133. good news with the cordeline Wendy, great when something comes back.

  134. Is it just me or is it sooooooo cold first thing on a morning, ok it is 5.30 on a morning but jeezzz. and I am sure I heard the weather lady say that we had to watch out for groud frosts.......erm!! so does this mean that I am going to have to be thinking about wrapping up my plants for winter. oh I so hope we dont have a winter like last year.
    Hope everyone is ok and had a good bank holiday weekend...
    (waves to Kevin) Has Rob gone into hiding.

  135. I'm still here! All tree ferns alive, don't know if I can keep them for next year.Wendy, very sorry to hear about Scruffy, I die a little every time one of my pets die! But it's good to move on and give another pet a good life! They have short lives and we must enjoy them whilst we have them!

  136. When do you put the straw in the trunk of the tree ferns please?

  137. Where are you Rob? we miss you!

  138. Evening all (is rob still missing in action, last I heard he was on holiday, do you think they have confiscated his passport and not allowed him back into the country).
    I remember the first year I had my tree fern i stuffed the crown with straw, but I must admit I didnt do it till realy late in the year, not till the weather got quite cold, what I tend to do is keep an eye on the Gardeners World website as Alan Titchmarsh used to let us know.......he loved his Tree ferns, dont realy watch it now hes left!
    Thanks Sue and Kev for your kind words about Scruffy, Zeb the guide dog that I am boarding at the moment has certainly stopped me from getting too upset, one look at him and you cant help but laugh, hes such a goof ball, currently he is laid at my feet fast asleep with my other cat flaked out on the sofa, staring down at the dog and I can just imagine what he is thinking "bloody big cat that!!"
    Should we consider reporting Rob as 'missing'

  139. Hi all
    Cant cover up my tree fern at the moment, it has only just started throwing. As for Rob, i think a search part may be in order, i have emailed him to see if all is well.

  140. Ha ha! So you think I am dead or something! But no! I am alive and well.
    Hi Wendy, Kevin and Sue
    Since my return from hols, I have felt so tired and demotivated. I've hardly been to the pub and have been going to bed at 9:00ish! Must admit, I have wondered if my mis-spent youth and adulthood had caught up with me and that I had contacted something terminal like dandruff! I have been working and catching-up with the garden but also feeling that I should nurture this blog. So, I have recently got round to posting some pretty boring stuff and now, at least, feel that I've done my duty. Now, I must apologise to you stalwarts (may I call you stalwarts - it's a lovely word!) and thank you for remaining friends. I feel a lot better now, have enjoyed the Faversham Hop Festival over the weekend and have just returned from a few snifters at the pub - so I must be better!
    I think I should retire to my bed now, the alarm will go at 6:00 and have to chair boring meetings. But - back tomorrow with words of wisdom on life, tree ferns, how to stuff one's trunks etc. etc.
    Cheers to all (including Stumpy). Thanks for the email Kevin. Mucho apologies for absence. Fronds Reunited . . . . now there is an idea for a website . . . . Hosted by Dick & Sonia . . . . Kevin - we should do this!


  141. Glad to hear you are ok Rob, fronds reunited, like it, sounds good.

  142. Fronds reunited, maybe i could run the obituries department as all i seem to do is nurture 'dead' tree ferns. its 06.16 at the moment, and I am sat here with a large cup of coffee staring out of the window at the fog trying to get the motivation to take zeb for a walk before I go to work, lead is ready, ipod charged but alas I am not, give me ten minutes and I will be out of the door enjoying the fresh autumn morning (ugh).
    So back to my garden........nothing much to tell realy, stumpy is still stumpy but the dead cordeline is coming on in leaps and bounds. I think I may spend the winter months re designing the garden and trying to design it on a theme.......any ideas, its rather a small garden, I will try and post some pics later in the week.
    Ah well I am getting stared down by a rather large golden lab and he is getting rather insistent that I take him out for a walk.
    Ciao for now

  143. Glad you both like 'Fronds Reunited' hosted by Dick & Sonia! We must do it! Just a small matter of finding the time - but I'm employed by a Local Authority and almost certain that I will find myself 'put out to grass' in the near future if the government have their way - So I could have loads of time!
    Wendy - I think a series of photos from Zeb level and interest could be fun. Perhaps taken on the early morning walks - Dog Cam And if we you seriously believe that Stumpy is no more the perhaps an obituary is in order.
    A few years ago I explored the idea of a commercial website for obituries - nothing morbid, sad or religous - just a place where people could write about passed fiends and relatives. My father had recently died and I found it kind of strange that if you entered his name on google or indeed the name of companies he worked for, places he lived . . . . nothing came up! I still nuture this idea - I thought of calling it 'liveD'.

    Sue - Put straw in the crown of the trunks when it gets cold very. Maybe the end of November. It is a difficult balance (I sound like an expert - Ha!) between keeping the trunk moist when the plant is growing to dryish when it is dormant.

    Kevin - I'll download the pictures of your watering device and put them on the blog. I couldn't get them last time I tried but that was before my holiday.

    By the way - I have, in the last few days, added a few more posts to the blog - I think they are rather boring. If anyone has an idea for a topic - let me know.

    OK, its mow five and a half hours before I have to leave for work so . . . . Goodnight.

  144. Just sat at work with Zeb fast asleep under the desk ( i so enjoy having dog at work), he has woofed his consent at having his picture taken early in a morning, but he says it has to be from his best side, right better get back to work. eeps. xx

  145. Good afternoon everyone, well its a warm and sunny afternoon here in Yorkshire for a change, yesterday was not to good, infact even Zeb didnt want to adventure outside much, but today we made up for it and got up early and headed out for an early morning walk, went a different way and found some new walks, was going to venture onto a nature trail but sadly it looked as if it had been trashed which was a shame, plus it looked very over grown and didnt think I could get Zeb and myself down the track (omg I do waffle on dont I) So this afternoon have dug up the sweet peas, left them to seed as the little black thunder bugs had made cutting them for the house impossible. Still seriously considering getting a new tree fern.....will just have to see how the funds are going later in the month. Am just uploading a few pics of the dog I am looking after so you can all have a peek, he kinda plonks himself on the decking whilst I am gardening, whilst I get on and do the weeding plugged into my ipod listening to an audio book - I do find I get alot more done if I do this.
    Ok photos done, here they are

  146. Hi all, how is everyone, not much going on here, cold wet and dark :-(

  147. I hate the fact that the nights are drawing in now and I cant get out into the garden on an evening much, and the fact that it always seems to be raining at the weekend - Had a tidy up in the garden this afternoon but its soooooo soggy.
    Still got Zeb with me, he's starting to feel like part of the furniture and am going to miss him when he goes to his new owner.
    Have a lovely weekend everyone.
    Take care

  148. Hi Kevin & Wendy
    Cheer up! There is everything to look forward to! Once you've given your tree ferns (or stumps) a little bit of protection then nights bt the fire with a good book. Soup! Stews! Frosty mornings with the mist hanging low over the fields. Fog. Warm coats and wooly hats. Pints of beer by a log fire in the pub. If we are lucky - we might even get snow!! And by mid December the nights start getting gradually lighter until by February 7th it is 5 o'clock sunset again and things start to grow again! Be positive! Enjoy the variety of our climate.
    I hate bloody winter!

  149. Winter, i love it, Snow, 4 hours to do a 20 mile trip home from work, driving to work at 6:45am on roads like skating rinks cos we have run out of grit, all my plants dead cos of the freeeeeeezing bloody cold, frozen pipes, flu, colds, christmas decorations at the garden centre already, i could go on and on and on......
    im not realy grumpy, honest :-)

  150. Haha your grumpy posts have cheered me up slightly, only slightly though and the thoughts of driving in winter makes me cringe, I remember earlier in the year setting off from work at 14.30 and not getting home till 20.30 and it was only a 15 mile journey, after 5 miles which took me approx 4 hours I had drunk the contents of my flask and all I wanted was the loo!!! eeps. Nothing much happening in my garden at the moment apart from getting ready for winter but on the other hand my parents garden is looking amazing, my dad has got a new green house and mum has finaly let him dig up one of the flower beds and he is going to have a vegetable patch which will suit him down to the ground, he hasnt had one for years and I think he is exicted about what he is going to plant. I still have Zeb but he is going to his new owners on Monday, in a way I should be celebrating the fact that this amazing dog is going to make someones life so incredible but on the other hand I am so sad that I am going to loose such a special little friend (ok hes not so little). Oh well time to get back to the ironing, but first of all have to clean the iron as I got to carried away listening to an audio book and burnt the plate, oops.
    Happy Gardening everyone. xx

  151. -2 in south bucks this morning, had a look round tonight, thankfuly no damage all ok, need to check the weather and see if its time to batten down the hatches this weekend

  152. Hi,getting close to winter wrapping time. Last winter was -20 at mine but no treefern losses unlike previous years.Lost 8 baytrees and 4 bamboos though,ouch!
    Will be using 170mm loft lagging again,enclosed with fleece with a poly bag over the top 2 feet to keep the water out.Laggings cheap when on offer and will protect the fern as long as i give them a drink of water every month or so.
    Goodluck all with wintercare.

  153. Not the greatest view point, but check out my garden

  154. Hi Kevin,

    I see you have a problem with sqirrels in your garden - as do I! And . . . That you are a smoker and smoke outside the house - as do I!

    Brilliant idea of the garden webcam! I wonder what uses / interest a network of garden cams could have? I'm going to have to get one! Also, if its OK, I thought I might try and include your cam on my blog - as an experiment.

  155. Hi Rob, indeed it was me outside smoking, this is probably the most boring view of the garden, i wanted to put it around the pond but i cant get it out there, i need an IP webcam which is wireless. I do have problems with tree rats they distroy everthing. by all means add it in your blog.
    Off to buy a length of drain pipe today to protect my bannanas, you may see me out there.

  156. Getting ready for the annual Halloween/bonfire party this Saturday, been cutting up all the old wood I have collected since last year to burn on a small bonfire and the chiminea, it’s amazing how much they go through. Every year I say no bonfire as it annoys me looking at the large perfectly round brown burned patch of earth in the middle of my lawn, but the kids know how to read me, after a few glasses of wine they start on me and sure enough I’m out there with my chain saw cutting up wood, so this year I have decided to play it safe and prepare in the light and sober.
    The kids are all getting older and apart from my oldest (20 year old) my youngest, nieces and nephews still carve out pumpkins, then burn all my canes on the bonfire. A few fireworks, my amazing chilli (even thou I say so myself) a few sausages and burgers for the kids on the bbq, what ever puddings my aunty, mum and sister decide to make/buy, my wife’s promise of an apple, rhubarb and ginger crumble and a few bottle of red I’m looking forwards to a good evening.
    Keep an eye on the webcam,
    Happy Halloween and a safe bonfire night to all.

  157. Been working on this the last few weeks, all my own work, see what you think and leave a comment.

  158. Hello everyone, and happy belated halloween and happy bonfire, this post comes from...............the understairs cupboard.. Anna is scared of fireworks so we have decided to spend the evening here (silly pooch) ok not realy but it sounded fun.
    Your website looks fab Kevin, just wish I could take pics like that. Ah well back to waiting for British Gas to turn up to sort me out with a new meter (looks at clock and sighs)

  159. Hi Wendy
    Sounds like your understairs cupboard is going to be quite crowded when the gasman cometh (Flanders & Swann song). Will there be room for the 3 of you? Yeah, Kevin's site is good but you must try his garden webcam - if you are lucky, you might get a glimpse of the man himself!

  160. Good evening all
    Thanks for your comments Wendy, much appreciated.
    Done a few little jobs this weekend, netted the pond, brought the brugmansia in, not sure if this is the best thing for it but the greenhouse will be too cold.
    Not covered anything up as yet, hope I won’t get caught out.

  161. Evening all and happy 'weekend' so winter is creeping in, I think mother nature forgot to give us Autumn this year or did I blink and miss it, come to think of it.....did I see Summer, I kind of remember some hot spells but alas they are a distant memory - So I would like to discuss 'Stumpy' my beloved ex tree fern, so whilst rooting around the garden pulling up the stray weeds I came across a strange thing and dont know what to make of it...little ferny fronds growing from the base of stumpy (will try and remember to take pictures tomorrow) plus would like to know why the garden centres sell cyclaman as winter bedding plants but then say they must be protected from frosts??? Confused.
    So I am dogless at the moment and have spent the day de hairing my house, good god I never realised Anna moulted so much!!
    (btw gas man still hasnt cometh they have now missed third appointment and to say I got mad on the phone last night is an understatment) Right had better go, got best friend coming round tonight for tea, movies and lots of wine.
    Have a good weekend.

  162. Hi Wendy
    Yeah! Happy weekend! Just had a great dinner and Mrs Musa and I will be going to the pub for a snifter or two.
    I think this is still Autumn but Winter creeps closer. But . . . another 4 weeks and the evenings start getting lighter.
    Could be SON OF STUMPY (or daughter) - send photo! Great news!
    Cyclamen! Blah! I dont like them. They're mournful plants - sick lament - is perhaps a more apt name.
    And a word of advice . . . . . never trust a gasman.
    Meanwhile, I'm trying to find inspiration as to what to add to this great blog. Perhaps after an evening at the pub I will find inspiration.
    Enjoy your tea!

  163. Hi guys
    Maybe there is live in old stumpy yet Wendy, hopefully.
    Anyone started covering up yet, im tempted to leave another week, what you think?

  164. ps, Wendy, lets see some photos

  165. Have taken some photos of stumpy, but I am seriously starting to think that the growth at the bottom is a 'weed', but I do have to say I am impressed with my cordeline, I thought I had lost it over the winter, and cut it back but never got round to digging up the trunk and low and behold whilst weeding during the summer i found new shoots from around the base, and now that I have pulled up the summer bedding plants its looking as if its coming on leaps and bounds. Planted a few bulbs today and managed to get hold of some alium bulbs quite cheaply so am hoping to have a nice display next year.
    Link to photos above.
    Right had better get back to the ironing.

  166. Great to see Stumpy! And I think that it is a fern growing from the base, however, it might not be a Tree Fern. I like the sempervivums growing on Stumpy.
    A lot of dogs some of which remind me of Tryffan - my old Welsh Terrier.
    Don't worry if you get some strange comments on your Flickr photos from someone called 'emagen' - that's me!

  167. Mmmm so Rob do you think I should cover it up for winter, would that harm the sempervivums??? I have got another fern growing in the garden, but dosent look anything like these little shoots growing on stumpy!!
    Yeah alot of dogs, Zeb, and my parents dogs, am going to put pictures of latest boarding dog up shortly.
    Now back to I'm a celebrity, good job I didnt have anything to throw at the TV during X Factor.

  168. Hi Wendy
    Maybe it would be worth covering, nothing to lose.
    Did most of my cover up this afternoon, bananas covered with lenght of drain pipe and packed with straw, gunneras packed with straw and bucket over the biggest one and cut off leaves over the smaller one, ree fern, crown packet with straw and fleece wrapped around, just got the palms to do tomorrow, need more fleece.
    Want to run the lawn mower over the grass if not too wet to pick up and chop the leaves to put on the compost.

  169. Hi Kev,
    I think I am going to wrap it up this year, like you said - nothing to loose, am also very tempted to wrap my arum lily pots in a bit of bubble wrap or something as the cold weather wiped out my old ones last year, and then have got some hardy clematis which could do with a little protection as well......mmmmm ok you know those waterproof covers you can get for garden you think I can get one to fit my entire garden, would be so much easier!! Hope you have all had a good weekend

  170. Good afternoon all - so winter is realy here and the forcasters say we will have snow by the weekend, and possibly in Scotland by this evening and then gradualy working its way down the east coast - so thats it I am moving....... I am not usualy a hot weather girl, but this biting cold isnt nice, but thankfuly I am on holiday for the next few days so have no reason to go out at all - but I did venture to the diy store today and got some fleece - well ended up with fleece bags as they had them on special offer, I got the larger ones as thought they would be handy for clematis and cordeline, little did I know.......when they say large they mean large enough to cover the whole house, got some rather wierd looks from neighbours whilst covering up, but my thought is that I would rather put a little bit of work and money into protecting my plants now rather than having to fork out alot of money to replace them next year, (not that it did much good for stumpy) I have covered stumpy up in fleece but think I might have to add more protection if the snow comes, any suggestions as I dont want to kill off the Sempervivums (suggestions please)
    Have a good evening all
    Take care

  171. Ah......erm I forgot to mention the main reason I popped onto the blog - I have a large green cordeline that I dont want to loose over the winter (lost my red one last year - well thought I had but I have little sprouts growing back) So should it tie up the cordeline and wrap in fleece or just leave it and keep my fingers crossed.

  172. Hi Wendy
    Established cordelines should be ok, but i have a book which says you should tie the leaves up and cover in fleece, dont take any chances i guess, covering it up should not hurt it.
    Good luck

  173. I may have to dig my cordeline out of the snow before I cover it up, have to love living in Yorkshire..........NOT!!

  174. snow............ not good, the ground has been frozen for about 3 days here and some very light snow Saturday, bu thats it so far.

  175. Its monday morning and I am not at work, not going to even risk it, have walked up to the main road and its horrendous, I have about a foot of the stuff in the back garden and its getting deeper, even the cat is reluctant to go out, I am hoping that it will get a little better by lunch time and might be able to attempt the drive into Hull, so at the moment making beef stew and catching up on housework

  176. Wed' evening - weather in Yorkshire is not to good atm, I left for work yesterday morning and finaly got home at about 1 o'clock this afternoon after getting snowed in, managed to borrow a friends sofa for the night and then had to dig my car out, then had to head back to offices to retrieve some belongings and got car wedged in a snow drift so had to dig it out again, finaly got home and garden is under nearly 2ft of snow....... when the cat goes out all I can see is her little black and white tail, why does my cat love the snow??
    Hope everyone is ok xx

  177. Hi all
    Weather has been awfull here down in the south most tip of Bucks, well not good to go to work in, anyway Last Saturday walked across the road to Black Park, was realy nice, see photos.
    Have a look...

    On another note i have a new IP wireless webcam with night vision, just need to work out how to broadcast it safely through my router, hope to see what creatures have been leaving the foot prints in the snow.

  178. A bit of video from my new IP webcam.
    Sweet, sweet revenge :-)

  179. Hi Kevin

    Very clever video! I guess that was captured by your webcam. The feeder seems to drop under the weight of squirrel and therefore unsettle them - is that the idea? Seems to do the trick!
    Despite my neighbour shooting them, squirrels are becoming more frequent visitors to my garden with the result that the lawn is full of holes!

  180. Rob,
    thats the idea, the metal sleeve slides down with there weight, spent hours watching the little buggers, then........... they sussed it they just jump from the tub, so i have put a bit of net around it to stop them.
    To my delight i had a woodpecker on my nuts today, :-)

  181. try the new webcam

    username and password are guest

    in the day change the mode to outdoors, at night change to 50hz
    then change the brightness and contrast to suit
    let me know if you get on

  182. Yeah - be careful with your nuts! Woodpecker! Very good.

    I can't access your webcam from the link, I'm not sure why, I may be doing something wrong. I noticed from the squirrel videos that the camera is in a different position. It shows of your garden more.
    I'm intrigued by this webcam thing - I think I'll have to find an excuse to get one . . . . . Security!
    Let me know how to access it.



  183. Rob
    Gotta watch those Woodpeckers.
    I missed a bit on the address, it should be

    The other camera is a usb webcam attached to an old pc i had laying around, its on the inside of the living room.
    The new cam is a wireless IP cam, other than power there are no other physical connections, it conects via wireless to my router.
    So its positioned as far down the garden as the wireless will allow. When the weather gets a bit warmer i will put an outdoor socket near the pond and have it there, but for now it will do.
    This is the camera i have.


  184. Hi Kevin

    Yes - its very good. Can change the resolution etc but not the angle or zoom - I guess that's the way it is set or perhaps your camera doesn't have those features. Looks like a good price too. My wireless system doesn't reach that far into the garden, if I had such a device, it would have to be very near the house. I'm going to have to get one! That is after I've bought a new external hard drive.

  185. I was surprised mine reached from there, laptop would not, camera must have a good wireless sender on.
    This model does not turn, but i thougt it should zoom, but i cannot get that to work either yet.

  186. Hi,
    Just come across this site after typing in "Do Dicksonia Antarctica lose their fronds in the winter?"!
    My own one which is growing in a 45 litre tub is looking quite sickly at the moment. Apart from a couple of greenish fronds the rest are brown and either dried out or soft and mushy. I have (as always) shoved some leaves down into the crown of the plant. I did examine the crown today- there was a completely brown and soft new frond that was just emerging. But also what looks like a green and sound frond right in the middle. So I guess it could go either way!!
    Would it be a good idea to try and repot the plant in the spring into an even bigger tub as it is certainly pot bound as it is at the moment. That of course assumes it is still alive!
    I also have a slightly larger D. Fibrosa which looks stressed but overall in better condition at the moment. In a larger 50 litre tub but again becoming pot bound.
    I have seen taller tree ferns in my local nursery that are in smaller tubs so am never sure whether it matters or not. My Dicksonia Antarctica is about three feet tall (the trunk) and I have had it from a tiny plant I brought back in a carrier bag from the Hampton Court Garden show in 1998. So it would be a shame to lose it!

    Interesting site!!



  187. Hi Bill
    Firstly im no expert, my fronds all go brown and crispy during the winter, i assume by your post this is the first time yours has done this since 1998. Mines in the ground so cant comment on pot sizes either, but i do stuff straw in the crown and wrap fleece around it.
    Hopefully someone else may be of more use.

  188. Hi Bill
    Like Kevin, I'm no expert. In fact, this site seems to attract non-experts!
    I have a couple of Dicksonia antarctica both survived last winter without any problems and kept some of last year's green fronds right through this year. The winter before last was a different matter, both lost their fronds and I think that was a colder winter than last. What I did notice was that the smaller Tree Fern suffered more and I think that was because the crown was obviously lower and being nearer the ground was affected by lower temperatures. Like you, I fill the crowns with a mixture of dried leaves and fleece. Currently I'm not sure if they have survived the last month's very low temperatures. Both have frost-blackened fronds and both have fronds that have broken under the weight of snow. By February / March, I expect to be able to feel inside the crown and feel the tight fists of hairy new fronds - if it is still alive!
    Like Kevin, I have mine planted in the ground so I'm not sure about how they behave in pots. Given that I received my 6 foot specimen as just a trunk and within days was producing new fronds,I think they should suit pots very well. Having said that, considering Tree Fern's need for moisture, a larger pot sounds a good idea.
    I envy your D. Fibrosa, I would very much like one! Interesting that it seems to be coping with the very cold weather.
    I'll take 'interesting site' as a compliment! But I suspect you probably mean amateurish and 'off the wall'. Both are true! I'm learning about this (so-called) art of blogging. The best thing is finding that people occasionally read it! Hopefully someone will be able to give you some expert advice.

  189. Hi
    I meant 'interesting site' as a compliment. There are few if any sites around that seem to discuss in any form about growing tree ferns in the UK. The Palm Centre site used to have quite an active forum but that seems to have died the death with no entries since 2009. That seems to have been the first harsher winter 2008/09 which started to test just how hardy some of these sub tropical plants really are. And the two winters that have followed have continued that trend. Like a previous commenter I remember seeing at Hampton Court a Dicksonia antarctica growing in a bucket of house bricks! But in both cases my own tree ferns have filled their tubs with loads of roots. It might be quite a challenge to even get it out of the tub now! I would prefer to grow them in the ground. But like the idea I can fairly easily move them if needed. Most of my back garden is filled with greenhouses stuffed full of Nepenthes & other Carnivorous/citrus plants. And no space alas to over winter them as I used to do about 5 years ago. Here is my site about some of the plants (not tree ferns) I grow-
    I hope all your ferns/plants seem this winter out!



  190. Small treeferns suffer more as the roots can freeze in the pot.Lost a couple this way,lesson learnt.
    Mine survived -18c last year by wrapping whole plant in cheap loft insulation with a wrap of fleece over that to deflect the rain.Bin bag on top to stop the rain also.All 9 of my 5 footers made it.
    This year i couldnt protect them in time before the snow hit so unwrapping in spring will be nerve racking.

  191. I hope your Tree Ferns survive, you certainly have a lot of them!



  192. The nights are getting lighter and temporarily I suspect the weather is warmer, cant wait to get out in the garden and take the straw, fleece etc off all the plants and see how they have faired over the winter, will have to wait a few weeks yet I guess. I currently have a touch of ‘man flu’ and am feeling very sorry for myself, also to add insult to injury the damn squirrels have managed to remove my squirrel proof birdfeeder, it’s gone with no trace at all, how and where they managed to drag it I do not know. They also keep trying to pull off the fleece from my tree fern and palms, bloody squirrels.
    I have moved the IP webcam but not really happy with the position, really want it looking at the pond, maybe I might move it again in the next few weeks.
    Starting to think about the patio we want to build this coming year, not sure what to do as yet or if I do it or get someone in, decisions, decisions.
    Looking forward to a bit more activity on here as the warmer weather approaches.

  193. I am spending the afternoon in the gardening, discovering what has survived yet another mad winter, the casualty list so far is as follows.
    1. Green cordeline - I was told by the garden centre that this would definatly survive a harsh winter, i even took extra steps and tied it up and covered it in fleece!
    2. Hardy evergreen clematis - I have two of these one two years old and a one year old, the one year old seems to have survived better and it looks as if the older one will have to be cut back again and keep my fingers crossed that it will start to shoot again, but looks as if i will miss the flowering season yet again.
    3. the brown cordeline that i lost during last years snow had started to sprout again, and even though i protected it.... have lost it again, but will leave it where it is and hope!!
    4. The heathers in my front garden have taken a battering and I have been thinking just lately that i should prune them back and maybe remove a few.....well it looks as if mother nature has done that for me and have lost about three.

    So this years planting is going to have to be more hardy stock I think especially if the winters are going to carry on being horrible.

    Does anyone know anything about Skimia Japonica, I bought a couple last year, one seems to be doing OK, but the one with the pinkish flowers do not seem to be fairing as well and my neighbor has the same problem, all the leaves are dropping - is this supposed to happen - any advice appreciated.

    BTW stumpy the tree fern is the same as usual, but his pet Sempervivums are doing quite well and am hoping they will start to spread alittle this year, plus the fern on my patio table has survived without any protection, think I may have to buy a few more of these and put them in the front garden.

    I had to laugh about your squirrel problem Kevin, I have been working in Leeds for the last few weeks just near Headingly cricket ground and the grounds around the offices is over run with squirrels, I sat there laughing and smiling at their antics, but then had to think why can I smile at these little things with fluffy tails yet would run screaming if they had a long whippy tail (aka Rat) go figure.

    Ah well back to the garden and the wondering what I am going to do with the lawn after having a winter of boarding guide dogs who seem to have destroyed it - any suggestions when i should weed and feed?

    Hugs to all your tree fern lovers.

  194. Yorkshire pudding26 February 2011 at 09:24

    good morning from a muddy York garden...
    I am actually feeling panicky over my tree fern. I have been out to lift off the bubblewrap and fleece blankets (same thing I did the previous yr, and last yr my tree fern (3ft stump I would say) was amazing, the highlight of my garden and the envy of my neighbours. I am scared this morning. it is kind of slimy in the top of the stump and my legs went funny when I saw it. I have done same as last yr at this time, gave the poor thing a water and a feed. SHould I be panicking yet?

  195. Yorkshire pudding26 February 2011 at 09:29

    PS I have lost my cordyline, olive tree and gunnera. Oh and my lawn is like a mud bath, I think the snow has killed it off!! save me

  196. Hi yp, hope they all survive, my cordyline is not looking very well, there are about 3 leaves sticking up and the rest are all drooping, maybe just damage fron the snow resting on it, will have to get the ladder out and investigate.
    Was thinking i might take all the protection off things this weekend but might be a bit early after lookng at the long range weather forecast.

  197. ooohhhh hope your tree fern survives Yorkshire Pud.......we did get hit with some hideous weather in Yorkshire, I lost my tree fern last year, but the stump still takes pride of place in my garden and I now use it to for my house-leeks/Sempervivums