In homage to the main centrepiece of Trevena Cross Nurseries’ Royal Cornwall flower display this year, (and a big contributor to the top award – our Large Gold Medal!) we’re selecting the tree fern as Showpiece No. 4 in the series.

Majestic, unique, and striking architectural plants for a shady, sheltered spot – that can be troublesome to fill – these incredibly slow growing focal points are desirable plants, particularly impressive as large waterside or woodland specimens.

Dicksonia antarctica tree fern

Their fronds – and trunk come to that, have a unique beauty; and a calming aura. The natural movement of the fronds and the individual shape and form of each specimen – a number of which have a long history, makes these plants special and often treasured by those who are lucky enough to own and enjoy one in their garden.

Enjoying a cool, sheltered, shady position in a moisture-retentive, slightly acidic soil, these plants should be watered freely, especially in warm weather. In cold weather, the crown of the tree fern should be protected with a mulch of bracken or straw.

We used to stock a huge range, and large quantities of tree ferns, originally imported from approved land clearance sites in Australia. Stocks have reduced over time, with the costs, logistics and restrictions involved in further imports ever more difficult, but we’re still big fans of the tree fern and have a great tunnel full of them at the garden centre!