It would seem I’m not the only one with a case of #pteridomania. The word for the Victorian fern craze. After a week of posting fern related pictures on instagram, I’d only just scratched the surface of an aesthetic, which is as popular today as it was in the 19th century.
The fern’s low maintenance, damp, dark loving preferences are the perfect match for our drizzly island and smog filled Victorian London. Ferns will do their prehistoric thing just left in the corner, soil kept reasonably damp.
In Victorian times, ferns were often kept in wardian cases, a sealed glass container used to transport botanical specimens from exotic places. Whilst protecting plants from the salty seas, most ferns did better inside a wardian case, than choking on the coal fire of the victorian parlour. Wardian cases were beautiful objects in their own right, sadly few original ones survive today. The modern equivalent is a terrarium, a trend that fuckyournoguchicoffeetable mercilessly mocks with their #terrariumtuesday campaign.
Ferns were affordable for all Victorian classes. And one of the loveliest images I found made me realise just how beautifully a fern garden solves the age old problem of the terraced house side return. A dark, damp space, often absorbed into modern kitchen extensions. My favourite is the maiden hair variety and I’m planning on drawing a few soon.