Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Stumpery

The island we live on is home to the largest stumpery in the United States. What, you ask, is a stumpery? It is a type of garden first popularized in the Victorian era in England, when a romanticized interpretation of nature was in vogue. Simply put, a stumpery is constructed of tree stumps, uprooted to expose the roots, piled aesthetically, and planted with woodland plants, especially ferns, which the Victorians adored.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we emerge from winter with a fair number of trees blown down, especially shallow-rooted Douglas firs, and soft-wood trees like Alders. Clearing for construction results in still more stumps. The makers of our local stumpery thought it would be a good way to recycle this material, rather than seeing them chipped or burned.

The gardeners have created a 9,000 square foot garden, filled with fantastical piles of gnarled roots, interplanted with magnificent Tasmanian tree ferns, thousands of ferns, hostas, trilliums, terrestrial orchids, and over 100 different epimediums. It's truly an otherworldly place, and will only grow more so over the years as things develop a coat of moss and lichen.

To see an article about this stumpery, including a photograph (it's the second of two photos), follow this link. To read about stumperies, including the one at Highgrove in England, check out this Wikipedia entry.

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