Big Changes in the Ninfarium

This week’s blog is by student gardener, Beth Large…

“The Ninfarium, Aberglasney’s unique indoor garden, has been undergoing big changes over the past few months. The garden team have worked to lift any tired or overcrowded planting and have removed a huge amount of depleted growing media. With most of the beds now replenished with a more open mix, and two custom raised beds newly installed, the replanting can begin.

“This week we were excited to plant two impressive tree ferns into their final positions. Cyathea cooperi (or Sphaeropteris cooperi), have long, elegant fronds that unfurl from tight coils to form a delicate canopy. Native to Australia, they need frost free conditions and protection from direct sun scorch, so they should thrive in this indoor space. We planted them towards the edge of the two raised beds, allowing the foliage to curve gently over the paths. The height of these beds and the substantial size of the tree ferns mean you can already walk beneath the fronds as you explore the Ninfarium. Some changes have also been made to make ongoing care a little easier. While these ferns don’t appreciate being waterlogged, they do require regular watering which will be supplied by a newly fitted irrigation system.

“From a range of cultivars and varieties available, one of those we have planted is called ‘Blue Stipe’, named for its very subtle blue tones. Botanically, the ‘stipe’ of a fern frond refers to the stalk that connects it to the trunk or rootstock. As the older fronds of this Cyathea die and are replaced by fresh new growth from the centre, the stipes will either fall off or be removed, leaving an attractive pattern up the trunk.

“As Aberglasney celebrates its 25th Anniversary, the Ninfarium’s preserved, ruinous remains are a reminder of the significant restoration that has taken place and the huge amount of work that has been done to both the house and the gardens over the years. In the coming weeks, we’ll see more new planting going into the Ninfarium beds as the Head Gardener’s vision for the space comes to fruition.”

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