The Victorian Fern Craze

The Victorian Fern Craze
Author: 
Sarah Whittingham
Publisher: 
Shire Publications
Publication Date: 
2009
ISBN: 
978–0–74780–746–9

Paper, 63 pp., $12.95

Searching out the story of a far-reaching plant hobby that began in Britain during the early nineteenth century, British architectural historian Sarah Whittingham has brought to light a fad that went across all segments of society. Discovering, cultivating, and displaying ferns was aided and abetted by amateur naturalists, botanists, nurserymen, and street vendors who urged society to grow these tender plantings in specially designed glass cases, conservatories, and glass houses. The rage for this greenery even reached into nineteenth century fashion, from jewelry, glass, and chinaware to building ornamentation. Although this craze slowly dissipated, the author draws attention to some contemporary examples of “pteridomania.”

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden

Volume: 
12
Number: 
2