Lee Valley Tools Gardening Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 2
April 2007
 
Interesting Reads
 

Excerpt from American Agriculturist, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 5, May 1879

The Fire-Place in Summer

A fire-place, large or small, may not only have its unsightliness covered, but it may be made an attractive and beautiful feature of the room by converting it into a fernery. It is well, to prevent all injury from water, to have a shallow pan or tray made of galvanized iron; this should fit the floor of the fire-place, extending as far forward upon the hearth as may be desirable, with its edges turned up all around for about two inches. This is the only expense attending it; all the rest is to be furnished by the woods and fields, and is vastly more easy to those who live in the country than to dwellers in towns – though these, if they have a taste for rambling, will find a way to accomplish it.


A fernery in a fire-place.
A fernery in a fire-place.


Moss-covered rocks are preferable; these are to be disposed in a natural manner; woods-earth is to fill every crevice between and under the stones, and fill the pan. Bring home ferns of all kinds as soon as they show themselves, taking up good clumps of earth with them. Place the kinds known to be tall-growing at the rear, the smaller in front, disposing them in an informal manner. Then cover all of the earth with sheets and tufts of moss to make a complete carpet of green. If in getting the moss some of the low plants, such as Partridge-berry and the like, are taken up, all the better. If the fire-place admits of it, arrange some kind of shelf or support within the chimney and above the opening, upon which may be set pots or fruit cans of Ivy and other vines, which may hang down naturally, or be trained along the mantle-piece. The engraving of an old-fashioned fire-place thus treated will give an idea of the plan. Most ferns love shade, and if supplied with water, will flourish; when any are found not to like it, replace them by others. The sole care will be watering; let the soil be moist at all times; but never wet and muddy; water by sprinkling, as this will keep the plants free of dust and add to their beauty. Those who are fond of such things may not only hide the fire-place, but derive much pleasure from the care of such a fernery.


Excerpt from American Agriculturist, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 5, May 1879

Editor's Note: This is a reprint of an article published in 1879. It describes what was recommended in accordance with the knowledge and practices of the day. While reading it, please consider this fact.

 
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