Photographer Claire Takacs captures the centuries-old Victorian pastime of stumpery gardening in her debut, Dreamscapes
The ancient art of stumpery gardening gets a modern revival
The idea of stumperies is rooted in the 19th-century British romantic Movement that hyperbolised the beauty of nature.
Pat and Walter riehl’s new stumpery on Vashon Island is a hidden forest of native tree stumps brimming with emerald ferns, mosses and lichens planted in homage to this romanticism. Inspired by visiting european ferneries and stumperies with British fern expert Martin rickard, as well as the secret stumpery created by Prince charles at his highgrove estate, the riehls have spent the past few years clearing their 110-square-metre shaded ravine of nettles and thistles to make way for a collection of around 175 Madrone and douglas Fir Tree stumps bejewelled in some of their favourite fern varieties such as Blechnum, adiantum, Polypodium and dryopteris, to name but a few.
The result – the largest stumpery in the united states.
‘as you access the garden through the pergola, which is piled high with stumps on all sides, you enter another world,’ says claire Takacs of her experience of photographing this enchanting space. as the collection of native tree stumps slowly decompose, they provide wondrous sculptural interest and have become home to a multitude of plants, birds and insects. colour is kept to a minimum – the only flowers being epimedium in the form of ground cover. This restraint adds to the peaceful nature of a space planted with a great diversity of rare and unusual ferns. Moss softens the woodland garden naturally and Pat’s pride and joy are the south-eastern australian tree ferns,