Tree Ferns - Summer illustration

We've commissioned Dom to create 4 sketches for the project to be used within publicity and creative / digital outputs.  The illustrations will depict four key Trengwainton plants which best represent each season.  Below are Dom's notes from her 'Summer' research day at Trengwainton.

Dom and the Tree Fern, Trengwainton. Photo © Barbara Santi.
Dom and the Tree Fern

Tree Fern (Dicksonia antarctica)

Notes by Dom Williamson.

Tree ferns are scratchy to feel unlike other ferns such as the Male and Lady fern, which are soft to the touch. This Tree fern is indicative of Trengwainton and other Cornish gardens. In Trengwainton there is one plant whose growing habitat is different than the other – the leaves waving down to the ground like the shape of a weeping willow. They don’t know why this is, it must be genetically slightly different.  Also, this plant has self-seeded in the hedge, something they have not seen elsewhere in Cornwall.

Tree ferns, Trengwainton.
Tree Fern, Trengwainton.
Two ferns, Trengwainton. Photo © Barbara Santi.
Silver Tree Fern, Trengwainton. Photo © Barbara Santi.
Gareth the gardener, led me to the Tree Fern glade in the summer and said 'Spot the difference' between Tree Fern Dicksonia antarctica and the Silver Tree Fern Cyathea dealbata'. Wow yes, the former is scratchy - full of texture, whilst the underside of the Silver Tree Fern lives up to its name. The brown sori look incredible against the silver colour of the leaves. I can't wait to capture in paint, the differences between these beautiful plants.
Dom Williamson
Dom and the ferns, Trengwainton.
Dom and the ferns


Silver Tree Fern - Ponga (Maori) Cyathea dealbata

The Silver Tree Fern is rare in Cornwall. It is the unofficial emblem of New Zealand. On the underside of new shoots, when the plant is 3-4 years old, you get this amazing silver colour. Although not a main feature of the garden, it is rare and there are several plants that you can see growing in the Tree Fern glade beside the other varieties. 

On August 21st we pressed both plants from a ½ branch cutting that Gareth the gardener took.