Looking back at this, I never pruned the Dicksonia antarctica - it survived the winter unscathed. And the Washingtonia robusta definitely isn't dead!
I had to bring the Wollemia inside last night. Hubster said it was set to go down to -2°C, and while I know it should be able to cope with -5°C comfortably, I wasn't prepared to risk what is still one of the most expensive single items I have ever bought (only my laptop, my wedding dress and my car have cost more). So it's now inside our back hall (which is still about 15°C or less on average - we don't put the radiator on in the hall as we get draughts in from the pathetically inadequate door). And that's where it will stay until the end of February I should think. I'll stick it outside for the day from time to time to photosynthesise. And before the end of November the palms will be wrapped up in fleece.
So I thought it was time for an update, although (alas) no more photos - I hate coming home in darkness as it means I can't check on my plants regularly. Here goes...
My maidenhair fern - oh I thought I'd lost this one. After SVPCA I came home to the realisation that leaving it unattended for a week in an east-facing room at the end of August was a Bad Idea. I had to cut back all the dead fronds and it looked pathetic. It's okay now. Next door's cat likes eating it when she comes over.
Hart's tongue fern. It's gone from strength to strength, and if it was in a larger pot I'm sure it would have grown even more. It spored - mustard yellow coloured spores - so we'll see where it pops up in the spring!
My little "Goldcrest" cypress has hardly grown, but it's looking very healthy. I've debated, as it's right outside the back door, decorating it with little lights for Christmas, but I don't know where I can buy such a small number of outside lights - it's only about two feet tall.
Bastard the cycad. I left it unwatered while we were away at SVP, and that's done it no harm whatsoever (the maidenhair and Boston ferns went to our next-door neighbour). No new branches, but I expect it's done its growing for the year, so we wait to see what it does come spring. The existing branches are starting to look a bit tatty, but it's not dying.
After sustained attacks by the neighbourhood squirrels, countered by chemical warfare (pepper spray!), it threw up eleven fronds. It would have had at least fifteen if the little shits hadn't eaten four of them, but I'm happy with its progress this year. I expect the fronds to die back over winter and I'll prune it quite hard.
I've seen new fronds, and I think it is establishing itself, but it's not growing very much. I was expecting it to take off like the Asplenium I think. Red fronds that turn to green with maturity are very pretty though.
To all intents and purposes this looks like it's dying and it's looked like it's dying since the summer. I have so many leaves going yellow and brown at the tips, and whole "branches" dropping off, but when you look at the entire plant it doesn't look half bad. I'll keep an eye on it over the winter.
Magnolia x soulangeana
I couldn't resist buying it and potting it up before the winter, especially as the garden centre said on its "What you should be doing this month" that late September-early October was perfect planting weather so the roots had a chance to establish themselves before the frosts. I'm unaccustomed to having a deciduous plant in my garden and it's freaked me out seeing it lose its leaves, but I am assured that particularly in its first year this is entirely normal. Fingers crossed.
The Boston fern has really settled in well in our living room between Bastard and the maidenhair fern, and has probably doubled in size since I bought it. A neighbour of ours has one in their front window that's at least 1m across. Scary stuff.
Getting bigger all the time, and it seems to have it in for Paul's nethers. I got spiked through my gardening gloves in the tip of the finger last week - it throbbed for hours. Fortunately my tetanus jabs are up-to-date, and at least if it's that spiky and evil it's deterring the squirrels.
This one spored when I bought it - big orange spots on the underside, but it has done almost bugger all since. It's looking healthier than the Dryopteris though.
No. Growth. Whatsoever. This fern has just sat there. The fronds are lovely and delicate, and it is hardy, but I was hoping to have three fronds in Grandpa's old terracotta pots all ready to overflow. Are ferns not meant to be fast-growing???
This guy's looking not very robust at all actually. Some of the tips of the leaves look like they're dying. I don't know if it's too much or too little water - it's a sheltered spot in the garden, and they're hardy old souls. Some TLC for him over the winter.
The non-Mesozoic plants are okay too, but they're not really what you're interested in are they? Over the Christmas holiday I want to take a visit to the Bedgebury Pinetum, which was featured in the Grauniad over the weekend. It looks beautiful, and I love surrounding myself with conifers. According to the article I read, it has 488 of the 607 conifer species that can be grown in a temperate climate. There are 56 species within the pinetum that are officially vulnerable or critically endangered. And they have the three largest Leyland cypress in the UK, which I have to see!
Expect a write-up early in the new year, along with a few photos of my scowling Hubster, no doubt...