Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The fernery at the Morris Arboretum and Gardens

It is time, on to the fernery!
Truth be told, I've been a little hesitant to post this series of photos, fearing that I just wouldn't be able to do this area justice—it's absolutely magical.

Built in 1899! That's a full 124 years before I visited. Good lord (a little of that history here)

Down the steps...

And behold the ferns...

What is that steely blue business?

This was my introduction to Microsorum steerei. I didn't spot a name on it here, but was able to ID it when I saw it at Chanticleer the next day.

There were so many extraordinary ferns here, ones that I can't even begin to guess at the names of, like this one with the very upright fronds...

And this...

The big guy there is of course Asplenium nidus, bird's-nest fern. 

Aglaomorpha meyeniana, bear's paw fern (the next three images)...

Microsorum punctatum

Lygodium flexuosum, a rhizomatous perennial climbing fern. 

Isn't the building itself incredible?

Blechnum brasiliense, Brazilian tree fern.

I didn't get the name of these tree ferns, maybe Sphaeropteris cooperi?

At first glace this groundcover fern fooled me, was it a pyrrosia?

Nope, the sori aren't right...

And the fronds weren't leathery like pyrrosia are, still it was an impressive planting.

Another Aglaomorpha of some sort...

So fantastic!

And look, plants growing on plants—one of my very favorite things—a lycopodium perhaps?

I previously shared a video I took inside the fernery over on Instagram, watch that here.

Phymatosorus scolopendria ends this post, on Friday (because there were just too many cool ferns for one post) we'll see a little more inside the fernery and then get a bit of a bonus tour outside the building and in the garden nursery.

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  1. You had me at the word fernery. So much green, I think I need to lie down and shut my eyes for a few minutes! Seriously, I'm more than envious of people who can actually grow these in their gardens.

    1. The world of ferns is pretty diverse and amazing isn't it?

  2. What an incredible structure! I'd have never imagined that the fernery was essentially below ground with a glass roof. That might be the secret to growing ferns in my climate, where few (other than western sword ferns) survive. The collection itself is impressive.

    1. While my research is limited, I don't believe a fernery is always below ground, I'm sure this one benefited from the insulating properties of being low ground level.

  3. What a cool (warm?) fernery. I imagine the stone walls help keep the environment more consistently humid. The Aglaomorpha ferns are new to me - interesting to read that those attractive, tan, lower nest fronds serve to collect debris. Beautiful.

    1. The nest fronds look like sculpture to me, they're so cool!

  4. AnonymousMay 22, 2024

    I bet that is a very sensory experience…a humid, warm, refreshing…fernery! My wife is just now getting into gardening, chiefly as a weed puller, but she loves ferns. Sharing this with her.
    Jim Steinman

    1. If you find yourself in Philly make sure you visit!

  5. AnonymousMay 22, 2024

    Gorgeous structure. I was surprised at the descent below ground. Is that to benefit the ferns or just a unique architectural design element?
    Often when I visit a greenhouse, I'd walk around once and then the opposite direction for a second go. I find its easy overlook an awful lot in such an overwhelming space.
    Blechnum brasiliense knocked my socks off! I could stare at it forever.

    1. I'm guessing the design is probably both a benefit and a feature. You are smart to do the reverse! I try to do that in gardens as well, or at least I turn and face the other direction often, it's amazing the different things you see.

  6. The building alone i amazing, I like how you step down into it. The plants on plants picture - I admit to an audible "oooh".

  7. Nice to meet you.
    The “groundcover fern” you saw is probably Deparia lancea.
    It is native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of East and South Asia. It grows in the shade on moist cliffs and valley sides in forests.


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