Create a Stumpery from Tree Roots and Stumps

Create a Stumpery from Tree Roots and Stumps

Stumpery - Biddulph Grange Garden - Biddulph

The objective of a Stumpery is to create a garden feature from ferns, logs and old tree roots. The Victorians started a trend to build Rooteries, Ferneries and Stumperies as romantic woodland places to grow exotic ferns and woodland plants. If you have a dark corner or want to collect ferns then you could start your own Stumpery quite easily and add to it as the fancy takes you.

Construction of a Stumpery

  • Old trees are the basic raw material.
  • Up rooted tree stumps like those after a big storm or pulled out by chains form a great base
  • Gnarled and twisted shapes work well to create form and shape
  • Just cutting trees down to stumps can be enough in a small garden
  • If you live in or near the countryside finding logs and tree stumps should be relatively easy.
  • In a suburban gardens a few pieces of trunk from felled sycamore can form the basis for a mini-stumpery.
  • Drift wood old branches or any wood artfully arranged can also be used
  • Bark chippings can unite the feel for the area

Eco-Friendly Stumps

  • Different wild life to that found in tidy gardens love stumperies.
  • Fungus can thrive on decaying wood and moist conditions.
  • Insects and small mammals have a place to hide, feed and multiply

Plant Up with some Ferns

  • Mosses and lichen can be encouraged by painting uncovered surfaces with yoghurt
  • Ferns should be planted in spaces between stumps and roots. They like dark places without fertiliser but some leaf mold can be added to the soil.
  • Chose a variety of ferns for shape, size and colour.
  1. Matteuccia Ostrich feather fern upto 3 feet
  2. Dyopterarias erythrosora has elegant fronds that emerge bright orange and change to lime-green as they age.
  3. Harts Tongue fern Phylitis has a smoother leaf and sword shape
  4. Athyriums like the Japanese painted fern (niponicum pictum,) and Lady fern are smaller but can  light up very dark places.
  5. Adiantum pedatum is a small maidenhair fern with a fragile appearance but a hardy nature. It has a running rootstock that quickly makes a respectable clump.
  • Snowdrops, celandines,primroses and foxgloves may grow well in semi shaded areas or on the edge of the Stumpery.
  • If planting Bluebells make sure they are the native kind not the hybrid or Spanish variety

More information on Ferns is available on

Photograph of Stumpery at Biddulph Grange Garden – Biddulph by westher, on Flickr under creative commons license.

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