Thursday, February 06, 2014

Favourite Plant of the Week - Dicksonia antarctica

We haven't had hard frosts and low temperatures yet to brown off the fronds so they're still looking very lush and green when I saw them last weekend. Seeing them so verdant still has made them our favourite plant for this week.

Dicksonia antarctica
Seeing tree ferns in leaf never fails to bring a smile on our faces. However what bought an extra smile was remembering that, yes, they sailed through fire damage too! Defoliated and trunk charred to nothing but chunky poles, lo and behold they flushed again a few weeks later and carried on like nothing happened.


They are a lot tougher than you think! Well a few Aussies did say so as well to us before fresh from the event and they were right.

So how do we usually protect them in the winter? With a ball of frost fleece or landscape fabric on to their crown with a scarf too of the same materials wrapped around their 'necks' for good measure.

This one was damaged by winter 2010/11 and has since only put out very short fronds. When it got scorched we thought that was then end of this as this tree fern was weak already. But it wasn't and it flushed again. 
So far this winter, no need to protect them yet. Hopefully we won't have to....

We join Loree of Danger Garden for her favourite plant of the week meme!

23 comments:

  1. No such luck for us: snowing hard and 12 degrees. Needless to say, I am enjoying your tropical look.

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    1. I hope the cold spell there won't last long Ricki!

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  2. What a great plant! I'm so glad they came back from the fire. I'm going to have to look for one to overwinter in my greenhouse.

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    1. That's a good idea Alison! Perhaps plant one out too (if it's big enough) as your climate is very similar to ours and more likely it will be fine planted out with some winter protection.

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  3. I adore these. They're so tropical yet so temperate all at the same time. The trunks make a really interesting lumber for fencing after the tree dies (or is cut down). When I was in New Zealand we toured a reconstructed Maori meeting house (argh I can't remember the proper term...council house?) and it had a stockade-type fence made entire of tree fern trunks, it was so beautiful and rugged I could barely even stand it!

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    1. We adore them too Tom, can't get enough of them! :) And you're right, they look so tropical and yet so temperate. Apparently when they first made their way in the UK the trunks were used to stabilise ships and then the trunks were used for fencing. And much to their surprise most of these logs sprouted and rooted.

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  4. It still amazes me you're able to grow these in the ground...let alone that they've come back so strong from the fire. Definitely deserving of the favorite title!

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    1. Our climates are very similar Loree, it's worth trying planting them out in gardens there. I know you planted one out last year, hopefully it will be fine and sail through the cold spells you guys have been having there. We're very confident and optimistic with your tree fern :)

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  5. One of my all time favourites too Boys - not just of the week. Remarkable that it just shrugged off that charring. Dave

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    1. Same here Dave. It's an all year round favourite for many people including us :)

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  6. Just gorgeous, against a blue sky.

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    1. Thanks Karen, they are and with blue sky too as a bonus :)

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  7. Such magnificent plants, I love that they just shrugged off the fire like that.

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  8. A beautiful and very tough plant! With a name like Dicksonia antarctica, I would have thought it frost proof! But then, in Antarctica one does have to wrap up warmly!

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    1. A tough plant indeed but not tough enough for current Antarctic conditions even as the species name suggests :)

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  9. It's amazing what plants survive a fire but that one is leafing out beautifully. I love anything Fern, they are such pretty plants and this one is no exception.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. They have certainly amazed us Cher!

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  10. Tree ferns look so primordial, that's interesting information about the uses of the wood. How great that it survived the fire!

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  11. I love tree ferns, how I wish I could grow them here!

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