Stumperies date back to Victorian times and are to the woodland landscape what a rock garden is to the sunny siteā€”an effective foil for displaying plants. Essentially, ferns and companions are tucked into pockets of soil in downed trees, their stumps, or snags. Ecologically appropriate with a rustic appearance, stumperies offer a balance between nature and foliage contrasting texturally for a pleasing, natural, woodland effect. They are perfectly designed for ferns and can be as simple as a planting on a log or stump left in the woodland garden. Lacking such good fortune, logs, snags and freshwater driftwood can be imported and stacked or artistically scattered along shady hummocks and trails to provide a backdrop for a fern collection. In other arrangements, large stumps are upended and the cavities where their roots exposed are filled and planted. On a smaller scale, weathered wood of all types can be used as individual frames where, with their silvery patina, they offer an accent and pleasing contrast.

Stumperies are becoming quite fashionable with the most famous being in the Highgrove garden of His Royal Highness Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales. Two of the Hardy Fern Foundation's display gardens, Whitehall in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Stephen Austin Arboretum in Nacogdoches, Texas, have incorporated stumperies

Highgrove Garden Pictures

Natural bog in the New Jersey Pinelands.

in their woodland design and plans are underway to create a stumpery at the Foundation's primary garden, the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way, Washington.

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