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When the winter of 2009-2010 hit, with its minus 18 temperatures over a prolonged period, a number of my tree ferns succumbed and died. It was saddening as I had grown them for ten years with no problems. But this did provide me with the opportunity to try my hand at carving them.

Fern Carvings


For my early carvings I settled on an unfurling fern leaf motif. Using a chainsaw and jigsaw, followed by a strong set of scissors to tidy the edges, I tried a variety of designs and was quite pleased with the results. I have since used these carvings in a few of my garden designs. They sit as a point of interest in beds of ferns and acers.

Dragon Carving


My largest tree fern was over 14ft tall, which made it rather unwieldy for carving into a single object. So I cut it in half and then used the base part (which was over 2ft wide cut lengthways) to create wings. From the upper half I carved a body with arms and legs. Finally, I cut the top off so that I could reattach it on its side to create the head.


This dragon now sits in the Southdown garden, slowly having moss colonise its surface. As a first attempt at carving an animal I am pleased with the result.



I have also hollowed one stump out to a depth of 14 inches and planted a young dicksonia antarctica in the top. In time, the young plant’s root system will infiltrate the entire stump and grow on. For now it is very useful being able to move the entire thing around the garden as the mood takes me.

(more photos will follow)

Epiphyte Stand


With the smaller slimmer trunks of dicksonia squarrosa and cyathea Australis, I created pockets and inserted young bromeliads which have since thrived.

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