Re-opened on 8th September 2009 after an 18 month restoration project undertaken by MAST Architects.
Peter Baxter, curator at Benmore, said: "The fact that we've got a wonderful rock gully as you approach the fernery, the combination of the planting of that and this unique building means that we have something very special at Benmore."
Ferneries became popular in British gardens from the 1850s as a result of a new interest in exotic plants. Benmore Fernery was built at the height of this Victorian craze by James Duncan, a Greenock sugar refiner, when he acquired the 48 hectare Benmore Estate.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland has deemed it "extremely rare and unique in its design". It is built into a hillside and ranges from single storey to three levels with a vaulted entrance, grotto and pool.
Benmore's Fernery Restoration
Nestled in a shaded cleft in the hillside, it will be landscaped inside and out with a range of native and exotic ferns. It has also been identified as an ideal site for the cultivation of Trichomanes speciosum, the Killarney fern, one of Britain's most rare species, protected under UK and European legislation.
Other endangered native species will be cultivated to highlight general issues of plant and habitat conservation. There will be range of training opportunities for staff, students, general interest groups and the public as well as educational activities, tours and visitor events throughout the project.
See the work progress on the Benmore Image Gallery.