D. antarctica is the only Australian or New Zealand tree fern which is genuinely hardy in all but the coldest UK gardens. A run of mild winters may have tempted gardeners in the recent past to try D. fibrosa, D. squarossa and a range of trunk forming cyatheas. B&Q were selling them by the thousand a few years ago. However, after the winter of 2012 especially, gardeners have learnt the hard way that D. antarctica is the only survivor in all but the most mild coastal gardens in the south west of England.Trunks of D. antarctica arrived at Falmouth Docks in the 1840s and 1850s. The huge fibrous trunks were used as ballast in the holds of ships to prevent cargoes moving about. At the dockside the bare trunks were seen to be growing fronds and, from there, it was a small step to them arriving in many Cornish gardens. At Caerhays dicksonia thrive in two damp and sheltered quarries. There are 30 or more trunked plants in each quarry and their spores reproduce readily in dampish shady spots all over the garden as well as up and over the stone sides of the quarries. Old plants with trunks of 15-20ft tall eventually fall over but their crowns reroot and grow away again.