Victorian Fernery

Re-opened on 8th September 2009 after an 18 month restoration project undertaken by MAST Architects

Inside the restored ferneryPeter 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."  


Benmore FerneryFerneries 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.

Benmore FerneryIt is unique because of its scale (142.29m2) and is now a Grade B listed building of great architectural and botanical value.

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

Back wall of Benmore fernery.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.

Benmore FerneryOther 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.

Benmore Fernery March 2009

The completed new roof, March 2009

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Main face of the Benmore Fernery

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)