What is a Fernery?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 15 February 2018
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A fernery is a specialty garden where various types of ferns are grown and displayed. It is often an indoor area that is mostly shaded, but can also be an outdoor space with filtered sunlight. Although the garden normally features ferns, it may also have other plants such as trees. A fern garden can also contain other items, such as statues or birdbaths.

Many times, fern collections are housed indoors where the temperature can be strictly regulated. A large fernery might be enclosed in a large structure similar to a greenhouse, but with fewer windows. Smaller versions can be found in glass cases, and normally contain smaller varieties of ferns.

When located outdoors, a fernery normally is located in an area that is partially sunny and partially shaded. This is because most types of fern do not do well in full sunlight. A shady area between two buildings is usually a good location. Some displays might have a canopy over the top as well. Outdoor fern gardens are more common in regions that do not usually see temperatures dip below 32° F (0° C).

A fern garden can contain other plants in addition to ferns. Common plans often include ornamental grasses, hostas, or flowers. Some of the gardens might have small trees in them as well. This is because some species of fern thrive at the base of trees, while others known as tree ferns actually grow on the trunk or limbs.

In addition to growing in or around trees, ferns can also be planted in containers. Japanese painted fern, Alaskan fern, and wood fern are often planted in containers. Some varieties, such as Boston fern, might be found in a hanging basket. A fernery might also have rock gardens containing leatherwood fern or ostrich fern as well.

Some ferneries are elaborate displays that include ornamental statues or birdbaths. They can have paved paths for visitors to walk on while touring the garden. These botanical gardens might be partly underground in some cases. Many are maintained for educational purposes and might also offer guided tours.

A fernery can be an interesting place to visit because it normally contains many different species of ferns. It can provide visitors with an opportunity to view varieties they may not have been exposed to before. This can also be an educational experience, as many fern gardens are good sources of information about these plants. People who are considering growing ferns may want to visit one for inspiration and advice before doing so.



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