Visit Federal Way's Stumpery to Frolic Among Hundreds of Ferns

Seattle’s fronded friends flourish at the Stumpery and Fern Festival
Brangien Davis  |   June 2014   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
ferns in seattle fern festival stumpery seattle magazine
Experience the verdant Stumpery at the rhody garden in Federal Way

The Northwest climate is heaven for ferns, where their fronded glory unfurls in countless dappled rockeries and shady groves. And as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. In 1989, a group of fervent fern fans in Seattle formed the Hardy Fern Foundation, committed to celebrating and propagating the plant via display gardens, including the primary study garden at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden (rhodygarden.org) in Federal Way. That’s where you’ll also find the Fern Foundation’s pride and joy, the Stumpery. Based on a popular Victorian gardening technique (the Victorians were apparently mad for ferns), the Fern Foundation built the Stumpery in 2009, hauling more than 130 logs and stumps into a half-acre woodland. Hundreds of ferns have been planted upon and among the stumps in what’s now the largest public stumpery on the planet. Visit the Stumpery in full bloom in June, and for more fern fun, head to the foundation’s annual Fern Festival in Laurelhurst (6/6–6/7, Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St.; hardyferns.org), featuring a huge range of foliage for sale, expert talks and the chance to become a member—and thereby gain exclusive access to the coveted spore exchange. 

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