Today brings the final of my three posts on Heronswood Garden, which I visited in September (Part One, Part Two). In this post we'll explore the Renaissance Garden. We begin at the path that takes us there...
I miss my Grevillea victoriae, such a good plant and always in bloom.
So, you might be asking, "what exactly is the Renaissance Garden? The short answer is that it's a 1-acre stumpery.
Here's a longer description I lifted from the Hardy Fern Foundation Fall Quarterly, written by Patrick McMillan, Director at Heronswood: "Dedicated to showcasing ferns from around the world, the Renaissance Garden includes hardy ferns from five continents, nestled within an array of massive stumps, with a supporting cast of woodland plants such as hydrangeas, trilliums and hardy gingers. The Renaissance Garden collection includes 32 fern genera in 15 families, a total of 145 different species and cultivars."
"The Renaissance Garden pays tribute to the resilience and vibrancy of life and features a massive display of old growth stumps within a second growth forest. The logging industry is an intrinsic part of the history of Kitsap County and the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe [owners of Heronswood]. Tribal members provided much of the workforce for the nearby Port Gamble Mill and would canoe across Port Gamble Bay every day to go to work at the mill or in the timber camps. The Renaissance Garden is filled with period appropriate artifacts that take the visitor into an abandoned logging camp that has been reclaimed with the lush vibrancy of life."
Here's one of those supporting cast members, a begonia with deeply cut leaves.
An adiantum of some sort, with a bit of stump art...
This section of the garden features so many plants that I love, it was easy be impressed with the plantings.
What I found not so impressive was the oversized fern table.
There were some sweet little gems tucked in, like this Pleopeltis lepidopteris 'Morro dos Conventos' (Brazilian Hairy Sword Fern)...
And I'm always happy to see bright green selaginella.
Ditto for asarum and Asplenium trichomanes.
But all in all I thought this eye-level plants could have been ones that were a little more "special." Then again maybe I'm just not smart enough to know I was looking at rare plants?
Of course the tree ferns had me practically drooling, there were so many of them and they all looked so happy and healthy.
Here's a little more criticism; I thought the "period appropriate artifacts that take the visitor into an abandoned logging camp that has been reclaimed" fell flat and seemed contrived. Take this piano for instance. If it really is there to represent something abandoned, then why does it have a specially fitted planter box on top? The plants should be coming out of the piano itself...
I was so bothered by the piano that I wasn't going to take a photo. Then when I decided I should, I didn't pause long enough for the camera to focus, thus you get blur, sorry about that.
Moving on to beautiful plants,
Cyrtomium falcatum I believe. thanks to a reader named Marc I think this is actually Cyrtomium fortunei...
If this shiny fern had a name tag I didn't see it. Referring back to the Fern Foundation Quarterly I think it may be an unnamed Arachnoides SP.
It looks like an explosion in the "logging camp" blew a rusty bit of metal up on to the top of a stump. Good thing it didn't hurt the tree fern.
The astelia make a great addition to the ferns and the stumps.
Why is that old rusty loaf pan just sitting on the stump? Wouldn't it be more interesting with moss and a tiny fern growing out of it?
More pretty ferns I can't identify...
Look at all the begonias they worked in there!
Dan Hinkley, Director Emeritus at Heronswood, has been bringing back interesting (and potentially hardy here in the PNW) begonias from his plant hunting travels, I hope these will make their way into our nurseries in the not too distant future.
Okay this "artifact" is practically begging to be planted, just look at it!
Paris polyphylla var. stenophylla x luquanensis
Surely they meant to mount something on that metal ring? I'm curious, are you agreeing with me on this criticism? Or do you think I'm completely off base?
I am not sure if the tree ferns are all Dicksonia antarctica...
Or perhaps there are a few Cyathea cooperi mixed in?
It was fun to spot a few big leaves and blooms mixed in with the ferns and fine leaves.
This stump is a work of art on its own, no oddly placed artifact required.
Finally... there were pyrrosia! You know I was looking. This one Pyrrosia lingua 'Hiryu'...
Pyrrosia lingua 'Tachiba Koryu'
Although it also looks a lot like the Pyrrosia lingua 'Dragon's Tail' I picked up back in 2020. Plant names can be such a moving target.
Here's the whole pyrrosia gang, with P. lingua 'Cristata' in the foreground.
Finally one more I'm lusting after, I believe this is Adiantum aleuticum 'Subpumilum'... "A truly dwarf maidenhair, and a very slowly spreading groundcover. Shiny, glossy black stalks hold aloft contrasting, limey-green pinnae. Rarely available, it takes good drainage and light shade and rich soils." (source)
I really enjoyed this addition to the gardens at Heronswood, the ferns are gorgeous and the abundance of plantings was a real treat for the eyes. I just wish that the artifacts were better integrated into the garden. While I understand what they're trying to do, I fell like as-is these objects stand apart from—and distract from—the plants, when they could actually be in an alliance with them. Both working to contribute to the garden as an experience.
All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.