Ferns and Orchids

These hardy ferns were transported on steamships from Australia to England to feed the Victorian ‘fern craze’ which was coined Pteridomania. Beautiful, rare orchids were sought out in Australia by adventurous plant hunters. Back in England orchids could fetch up to £300 – around £25,000 in today’s money!

Maidenhair Fern

A tender evergreen fern about 60cm tall, it is black-stalked with triangular fronds that round into triangular, variably lobed segments. They are pale green initially, but darken with age.

Dicksonia antarctica fern

An evergreen tree fern, but deciduous (sheds its leaves) in colder areas. It grows slowly but can reach up to 4m in height. The stem is reddish-brown with glossy dark green fronds growing in rosettes.


The genus name is derived from the Latin words for “butterfly” and “flower”, in reference to this plant’s beautiful petals that resemble butterfly wings. Orchids come is an array of colours primarily in pinks, purples and yellows.


Award-winning gardener and influencer Jane Porter is our ferns and orchids ambassador. Her knowledge, passion and generosity have contributed to this stunning Wardian Case and our Botany 2024 programming.

Jane Porter putting the finishing touches to the fern and orchids Wardian Case.

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