Brantwood – Coniston – Home of W.J. Linton and later John Ruskin – NATURE DIARY Tues 1st February 2022

 

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Tuesday 1st February 2022 - Brantwood, Coniston - the home of W.J. Linton and later John Ruskin


Photo: Brantwood - Feb 1st 2022


I find it so interesting and such a privilege to peruse the gardens of Brantwood which are amass with ferns not just from Britain but some also from different parts of the World.  Most of the ferns gardens are found along the many pathways which are built into terraces against a steep sloping backdrop to Brantwood. 

Brantwood is such a special place when you think it was home to W.J. Linton who was the finest wood engraver of his time. He also was known to have one of the finest fern collections in the Country. He did a lot of pioneer work on ferns and wrote "The Ferns of the English Lake Country which was published in Windermere in 1865. So this place really does have a fine ferny pedigree.  Also following on from Linton, Brantwood became the home of someone special John Ruskin.

It's one of those places, you turn another corner and there is another treat which goes on and on. If I had the time I would love to explore even further back higher up the slopes were fern spores will have blown and naturally landed and hopefully set seed and who knows just what secrets! are held on that distant backdrop. 

I saw some of my favourites especially the Polystitchum family, but little in the way of the more common aculeatum's (Hard Shield Fern) which I am used to seeing a plenty on Hutton Roof, at Brantwood it was mainly their cousins, the Setiferum's (Soft Shield Ferns) but what a variety of these special ferns are found. I guess the star of the show for me was to be a possible hybrid between different polystitchums. 

I also found it special to see such beautiful varieties of "scollies" or Harts Tongue Ferns (asplenium scolopendrium) with fabulous names like Cristatum,marginatum,undulatums etc etc.  But one very special scollie which again stood out and was of the variety Crispum with further names of "Robinson" and originally from the Kaye nursery at Silverdale. The crispum variety are heavily fluted on the edges which may remind you of "Edwardian ruff collar -rainaissance"  - check out the photo below. 

Brantwood is a place were Polypodiums (Polypody ferns) are staring at you from most of the natural walls of your approach, most of them are the Commoner one named Vulgare, although there are plenty more which are thought to be more intermediary (originally thought to be a hybrid) these are called by the name Interjectum.  But my favourite of all the Polypodies has got to be the rarer P.cambricam (Southern Polypody) of which I did manage to find some within the collection, they at first eluded my attention with still having the older name P.australe on the name tag. Further varietal specimens of the cambricam were found lower down and shown growing from pots.  They were stunners with crested tips, in fact there were twenty different cambricams some aptly named, cambricum barrows, carew, Diadem, cristatum, grandiceps Foster, Hornet etc etc etc. What I do need are more visits to get more of this information.

One thing we did have on Tuesday was plenty of wind, whilst at Brantwood. The Coniston was being hounded by roaring noise and showing large white crest on each of the one metre waves bounding its expanse. Made it difficult to take photos but I did manage some.





(above) Hay Scented Buckler Fern

(above) Ice House



(above) Polypodium



(above) The ferns above are the rare scollies I mentioned earlier note the bunching at the top, but of more importance is seeing the two bottom fronds are spread out horizontal. 




































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