BCF For Good Grants - Planting Knowledge

three people standing in front of a fallen tree trunk with its roots attached. A For Good Grant from BCF is helping turn a portion of Fernwood Botanical Gardens into what it was always meant to be.

Behind the Sims Education Center sits approximately one acre of land that is being transformed into a stumpery under the guidance of naturalist Daniel Hinkley. A stumpery utilizes fallen trees, stumps and other pieces of natural wood to create luscious environments for ferns, hostas, lichen mosses and other shade-thriving plants to grow. 

“We’re excited to support this project and bring this unique educational resource and botanical experience to Berrien County,” said BCF President Lisa Cripps-Downey. Stumperies are an inviting and fertile home for all kinds of insects, toads and fungi. The more nooks, crannies and crevasses the better for cultivating rare ferns, hostas, lichen mosses and other woodland plants that thrive in shade.

The stumpery will be a work in progress over the next couple years as plants grow on and around stumps and lifted roots, and as the environment is fine-tuned by experts. A celebration of the long-awaited garden will take place as part of Fernwood’s 60th Anniversary Season in 2024, with completion slated for late 2025. But until then, the public is welcome to walk through the garden, taking in the mystical sights and sounds of nature. 

“The funds provided by BCF are helping with the behind-the-scenes tasks and the framework to do this right,” said Chris Jabin, director of development at Fernwood. 
When Fernwood planners were looking at their master plan and what was in store for the future of the nonprofit, they saw something unique in that crevasse of the property.

“That space is becoming what it was always meant to be,” said Fernwood Director of Marketing & Community Engagement Elaine Rowland. 

a photo of tree trunks sitting in an open field.