Fernwood Botanical Garden is a special place where people, plants, and nature come together. Beautiful gardens surrounded by forest are tucked into a landscape of 105 acres of cultivated and natural areas along the scenic St. Joseph River valley. Miles of trails await, and indoors, visitors may enjoy an art gallery, fern conservatory, Education Center, café, and gift shop. Fernwood offers many possibilities for learning and enrichment, including classes, workshops, lectures, concerts, trips, exhibits, and special events.
Fernwood’s mission is to enrich people’s lives by awakening and deepening their appreciation of nature and the possibilities of harmony. Now more than ever, public gardens play an important role in offering a safe place of beauty and healing. We look forward to welcoming you to Fernwood’s 105 acres of gardens and natural areas.
Fernwood began as the country home of Kay and Walter Boydston, who purchased the first 12.5 acres in 1941. During the years that followed, Fernwood became a popular gathering place for those who shared Kay’s love of nature, horticulture, and the craft arts. In 1964 Fernwood became a public place through the efforts of Niles philanthropists, Lawrence and Mary Plym. Additional land purchases increased the size to 105 acres, providing space for an arboretum, prairie restoration, and additional gardens. The Nature Center was constructed as an office building in 1973-74 and converted to its present use in 1989. The Mary Plym Visitors Center opened in 1989 and The Sims Education Center opened in 2018.