Stumperies may be an acquired taste, as much historic and fantastical as they are visual. Yet they're the next new, new thing in gardening, pulled back from their Victorian roots and revived by Prince Charles, who in 1980 installed a garden of sweet chestnut stumps, ferns, and woodland plants at Highgrove, his country estate.
Maybe because of our shady gardens, our love of nature, and/or our plentiful conifers, the Northwest is a hotbed of stumperies. Stay tuned for a story I'm writing for the Seattle Times about Pat and Walt Riehl's magnificent, magical stumpery on their Vashon Island property they've created with the help of British fern expert Martin Richard.
And on September 20, a huge new stumpery debuts at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden. Designed and planted by the Hardy Fern Foundation, the new stumpery covers a half acre, with 130 tree stumps and logs. Recycled from construction sites, these stumps and their wild root forms are set like art objects into a mature conifer forest. More than 700 ferns, including Victorian cultivars as well as natives, are massed around the stumps. Fern experts will be on hand at the opening to answer your questions about this fresh take on an old garden oddity. The dedication is at 2 p.m., the opening runs from 1-4, and the Rhododendron Species garden is in Federal Way at 2625 S. 336th Street on the Weyerhaeuser campus.