Wednesday, 5 March 2014

An Antique Wicker Fernery Style Guide

I bought an antique wicker fernery at a silent auction a couple weeks ago (I may have mentioned it already –  I’m a broken record when I'm excited!). The auction was under-attended and I ended up getting the plant stand for the starting bid of $25. I was pretty excited! I absolutely love plants in the home and can’t wait to display them in my fernery. The seller guessed that mine is from around 1910 and previously belonged to her mother who got it for from an elderly neighbour. I like how it’s been passed around from home to home. Another seller was weighing in on the value and said with a scowl “if this was Toronto it would be painted white”. They then talked with disdain about the trend of painting furniture. Personally, I would never paint an antique piece made of beautiful wood but in my mind an ugly piece of furniture can be given new life with paint! I’m all for painting furniture if it keeps the piece around longer. That said, I can’t decide if I’m going to paint this piece. I think this plant stand treads the line of looking a little old lady-ish in the home if not styled just right. Can you picture the look I’m thinking of? A dingy grandmas home with dim lighting and a lot of dust? I think the colour, placement and plants in the stand will directly effect the overall look. I’ve decided that a good look around the internet will help me decide a) whether or not to paint the fernery and b) what plants I should house in my fernery for optimum style.

Interestingly, even though the seller told me it's called a fernery - and as an antiques vendor I believe she would know - I had a hard time finding any online that were actually holding ferns. I also couldn't find any pictures of home interiors with ferneries. (Psst. if you have one in your house send me a picutre!) There was one picture with ferns from a Sears catalogue that I didn't bother re-posting because the quality of the image was so poor. Most pictures I found were actually of the empty plant stand itself I assume this is because they're mainly photographed for sale purposes. I’ve done my best to gather a collection of images that show the different ways to style and place a fernery in the home.

Update: snapped a picture of my fernery (still in my garage) to my delight after writing this post yesterday I found out that mine has a bottom shelf * happy dance * :)

Quick Snap of My Fernery :)


How to Style a Fernery:


Source: EBay
Mine is a lot like the fernery above (which is currently on E-Bay for $337) except that mine has not (yet) been painted and is a natural brown colour.

Source: cynfullyfunfurniture
I love this bright red fernery in the garden! I don't think i'd ever paint mine red but I appreciate the bold colour choice. It definitely makes this fernery look modern.

Source: Red Beet Mama
A white stand with lavender on the front porch.  Absolutely love the lavender! I'm not sure if I'd put mine outside for risk of wear and tear although it does look absolutely fabulous. (Further research tells me that they make more of a rattan style fernery - brands like Ty Pennington's - for outdoor use).

Source: Etsy via Google Images
A white stand with English Ivy. I have a lot of English Ivy in my house already and I absolutely love it. It's so hardy and easy to care for! It loves going outside in the summer. However, this look enters the territory of looking a little out of date to me like someone transported this right out of grandmas house in the 90s. I want mine to look fresh and chic so I think ivy is out and perhaps white is out, too.

Source: Rita May Days Blog
Another white stand with the hardy Pothos plant in it. This stand looks better in white! The blogger that I sourced the photo from, Rita, calls this plant "pathos for the pathetic". She says: "pothos is the easiest houseplant to grow. It’s a long-growing, leafy vine that confines itself to about 6-10 feet in large containers or hanging baskets, where it trails freely. Pothos is tolerant of low light conditions and erratic watering.  Water whenever the soil feels dry. It's high on the list of plants that can help purify indoor"(Rita May Days Blog). Apparently they are also very easy to root and re-grow! After a quick google about Pathos plants (also known as Scindapsus Aureus or Epipremnum Aureum) it seems Rita's description is sourced from About so go there to learn more about growing a pathos plant!

Source: The Martha Blog
A brown wicker stand from Queen Martha Stewart's Bedford house! She describes the look on her blog: "the wicker planters in the canary room were adorned with snake plants. In its native tropics, this evergreen perennial forms dense stands, spreading by way of creeping rhizomes. I love its serpentine qualities" (The Martha Blog). I wish I had a canary room! I am loving the look of snake plant and according to Plant and Flower Info's list of  the Top 10 Houseplants they like bright light.

Source: Wicker Warehouse
This stand makes me wish mine had a lower shelf! I am really digging the look outside and I love the natural wicker colour of this one. I like the variety of plants this stand holds, too.

What House Plants Like Sunny Spots?


Since the planter would look best under a window and our big windows are South facing I need to select plants that like direct/indirect sunlight. Two more hardy indoor plants that like bright indirect light from Plant and Flower Info's list of  the Top 10 Houseplants include  Philodendron Cordatum (Heart Leaf Ivy) and Dracaena Marginata. They also recommend a Guzmania for a hardy flowering plant. 

Barn Nursery has an awesome .pdf on plants that like light (I highly recommend checking it out). They recommend Jade Plants (Crassula Argentea) which like sun and infrequent watering and grow like cacti and succulents. They also recommend Croton and Anthurium (both of which I already grow in my house) that add colour. I have only seen these two plants in smaller sizes though and I want something big and luscious in my stand.

On Martha Stewart's Blog she lists houseplants for any kind of light. I've been hearing a lot about Goldfish Plants lately and she says the sprawling plant "requires bright but not direct light and plenty of humidity, and must not be allowed to dry out during the growing season". I think they would look good hanging OR in a planter! She also mentions Spider Plants for medium light which I can see looking very cool in a plant stand.

So, what do you think? Should I paint mine? What house plants would look best? Do you have one in your home? If so tweet me a picture I'd love to see how you styled your fernery.

Once my fernery finds its home in our home I will post an update :)

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