IN APRIL MRS NIMMO-SMITH described some of the many and varied ferns which can be grown in the UK, including some well suited to the less hospitable parts of the garden. She went on to explain the fascinating life cycle of ferns which is different from and more complex than that of flowering plants. The mature fern we recognise is an asexual stage which produces copious spores. These are readily dispersed by wind and they can geminate in moist shady places to form the tiny sexual stage, the prothallus. In turn, this produces both male and female cells and after fertilisation, one of the latter grows into a new plant.
Stages in propagation were available for us to examine and examples of different ferns were offered for purchase.
In May there was a departure from our usual type of topic when Jenny Edrich took us to the Seychelles, a group of many, mostly tiny islands, in the Indian Ocean. She outlined the varied nature of the islands, the main one granite and mountainous, some of the smaller ones, coral and low lying. With beautiful illustrations she described the animals (mostly birds) and plants (endemic and introduced) characteristic of the different habitats. Vanilla, cinnamon, tea and coffee are all grown here but with declining markets available, the government is increasingly turning to tourism for its revenue. I wonder how many of us made note? Don't forget that we are going to the RHS Gardens at Hyde Hall on Saturday, 13th June. There is still room on the coach for any interested people and whether you are a member of the club or not, you are welcome to join us. For details contact Roger Connan.