The House of Wayward Plants: The Smithfield Greenhouse, is a commission for Culture Mile Smithfield Rotunda Gardens. It was designed by the award-winning landscape, art andarchitecture practice, Wayward. Drawing inspiration from the ironwork of Smithfield Market and Victorian plant explorers, the greenhouse will act as a hub for public events and creative workshops throughout the summer.
The House of Wayward Plants: Smithfield Greenhouse takes its inspiration from an eccentric craze that swept across Victorian England. Pteridomania, or ‘fern madness’, can be seen as an attempt to turn away from the environmental damage caused by the Industrial Revolution, which saw fern imagery of the period adorn everything from homeware to biscuits. With no access to a working internet, the Victorians had to rely upon hunting parties to catch ferns and build their social networks. Avid fern collectors came from all walks of life and it is said that “even the farm labourer or miner could have a collection of British ferns which he had collected in the wild and a common interest.” Having caught the ferns, the Victorians needed somewhere to keep their collections. Hence, the Wardian Case (or ‘Waywardian’, as we like to say) was born: the fore runner to the modern terrarium.