One rainy day last November, I finally stopped at the Rhododendron Species Foundation Botanical Garden in Federal Way, Washington. That's where I discovered this sweet little stumpery, created by the Hardy Fern Foundation, in 2009.
Not familiar with the concept? A stumpery is "an intentional arrangement of woody material like trunks and root wads...The goal of a stumpery is the creation of habitat especially for ferns" so says the materials they make available there at the garden. "The first known stumpery was in 1856. It was the brainstorm of Edward William Cooke, an artist and gardener. At that time, land clearing left large debris piles that begged a solution. Cooke looked at them and saw something different. At Biddulph Grange, the estate of James Batemen, he turned some of the chaotic piles into ten-foot tall walls on either side of a path, and planted them out in ferns. The structure was quickly repeated across Britain, ready for the new species the fern-crazed Victorians were discovering." There's more info here if you're curious.
I was particularly taken with the Woodwardia unigemmata, as I'd planted a couple of these in my garden earlier in the year. Now of course I am eagerly awaiting any sign they're alive...(damn winter).
Fall color was present throughout the garden. I really should get on editing down the rest of my photos, so I can post them before spring (officially) arrives and fall color is hopelessly passé.
"The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (RSBG) features the worlds largest public stumpery with ferns spilling over 140 stumps and logs in about a half-acre garden set within the 22 acre botanical garden. This artistic arrangement of woody material is interplanted with an amazing collection of ferns and unique plants from around the world." (source)
The stumps and root-wads used here are quite lovely in their own right.
Saxifraga primuloides, I believe.
I wish I'd found a label for this climbing plant.
The overcast day, combined with the mist and rain, certainly set the mood for my visit. Someday though I would like to visit when I have more time (I was on my way back to Portland) and when it's dry. Being cold and wet isn't fun for long.
On the stump is Saxifraga stolonifera 'Maroon Beauty'.
I bought one of those guys on the right, Dryopteris sieboldii, with the fairly thick fronds, last year at Joy Creek. It's held up well over the winter, even though the damn squirrels keep trying to dig it up.
Blurry photo, but it was nice to see the Selaginella kraussiana happy here, mine is looking pretty toasted after the winter cold and ice. I hope I don't lose it.
Another shot of Dryopteris sieboldii...
This image reminds me of camping on the Olympic Peninsula when I was a kid. My mom longed to grow ferns like they did there, only we lived on the much drier side of the state.
Even the fallen needles add to the scene...
As does the Hakonechloa...
Adiantum venustum (I believe) covering a log.
There were rusted metal bits mixed in here and there, they looked like they could have been tools used to move the stumps into place.
Should you find yourself in the area I wholeheartedly recommend a visit. Admission to the garden costs $8, but for happening upon gems like this, that's a bargain!
Weather Diary, March 2: Hi 51, Low 36/ Precip .06
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