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Devon Gardens Trust is devoted to the preservation and enhancement of gardens in the UK county of Devon

Fern Fever: The story of Pteridomania

Date & Time of Event: 
Wednesday, 20 March, 2013 - 13:00 to 14:00

Venue:  Meeting Room A, Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), Exeter.

A lunchtime talk by Dr Sarah Whittingham. 

In the nineteenth century Pteridomania, or "fern madness", swept through Britain, and Devon was at the centre of the craze. Against the background of the rise of the amateur naturalist and gardener, hundreds of books and articles encouraged a popular fascination with ferns that resulted in widespread collection and cultivation of the plant. It was so popular that from the 1850s ferns also appeared on buildings and everyday objects from carpets to greetings cards.

Dr Sarah Whittingham will describe the story of the fern craze, from tales of fern forays, through the invention of the Wardian case, to the creation of verdant ferneries in private homes and gardens. She will also reveal the extent of the craze in mainstream Victorian and Edwardian society by describing some of the incredible variety of public places where it was considered appropriate to have a fernery. And along the way she will introduce some of the authors, nurserymen, and colourful characters such as the ‘Itinerant Fern Vendor’, who were associated with fern mania.

Tickets £3.00 (DGT members) in advance from RAMM Reception.  Contact RAMM (t. 01392 265858; e. [email protected]) for more details.