At the beginning of this month I did something straight out of a P.G.Wodehouse - I joined in on a public tour of Hospitalfield House, where I will be staying for a 2-week Interdisciplinary Residency at the end of next month. It wasn't so I could get close to the duke's secretary or steal a cow creamer. It was because I'm afraid that those 2 weeks are going to pass way, way too quickly. As a result of a fascinating afternoon, I have a much clearer picture of my project in my mind. AND I found out about ferneries!
("Gathering Ferns" from The Illustrated London News July 1, 1871)
(Fernery at the Geelong Botanic Gardens in Australia (1892-1902))
I hadn't realised the Victorians were quite so fern crazy, but there is a ruined fernery at Hospitalfield House that has now taken up residence in my head. More anon, as they say.
Tomorrow the Hospitalfield House people have kindly said I can come back for a few hours to use the library. I'm really lucky to live close - and if you ever are in the neighbourhood, try a Wednesday Tour - wonderful!