Friday 24 June 2011

Royal Fern and Golden Sedge

Carex elata 'Aurea' at the shore in Wisley Gardens, England

In May I went with the students from the design course at the University in Alnarp on a trip to England. Shorts resumes from this expedition are given on my Swedish blog, utan stängsel, and some few further reports will be published there later on.

Here I instead center on some certain details from the journey, as the Royal Fern and the Golden Sedge today. This Tufted Sedge, Carex elata, grows naturally in marshes, nutrient rich swamps and along rivers and brooks. It is densely tufted and can during the years create huge tussocks. In gardens we seldom find the true species, instead the golden form, Carex elata 'Aurea' is more commonly cultivated and often named Bowle's Golden Sedge.

The Golden Sedge thrives in any fertile, not too dry, garden soil, but develops best under moister conditions. At Wisley it grows on the edge of the ponds with its roots constantly under the water surface. Rather surprisingly we did find the same sedge at Sissinghurst in a dry and sunny position in the Cottage Garden, clearly showing its broad adaption to different conditions. In dry gravel and sand it will not survive for long however.

The Golden Sedge at Wisley

Carex elata 'Aurea' in the Yellow Garden or Cottage Garden at Sissinghurst

In the woodland at Beth Chatto's garden the Golden Segde developes well

Inger Strömberg and the Royal Ferns at Wisley 

The Royal Fern, Osmunda regalis, is native in many parts of the world. It is found in Western and Central Europe, Eastern North America and in Japan. In Sweden it only grows in the south and is always bound to wet habitats. The Royal Fern is primarily found along shady rapids and brooks with flowing water and often it grows so the roots are hold constantly wet.  

Osmunda regalis is one of the tallest ferns we can grow in our gardens and it can reach nearly 2 meters if grown in nutrient and moist soils in at least partial shade. Old specimen can even form short trunks as shown in the picture from Sissinghurst below.

The Royal Fern can create low trunks by time, here at Sissinghurst  

Osmunda regalis at Vargaslätten in Southern Sweden

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