Table of Contents

This is one of a
series of paintings
by Robert Butler
that depict
turn-of-the-century scenes from twelve
of Florida's major
agricultural industries.
Fern Garden
Floridas cut foliage industry started near the turn of the century, when growers of fern asparagus started shipping iced fern sprays by train to florists in the Northeast. Growers sold millions of ferns to "dime store" chains, which soon asked for other plants to sell also, launching the foliage industry. Fern asparagus eventually gave way to leatherleaf fern as the dominant crop. Volusia County continued as the leading producer, followed by Putnam and Lake counties. In 1997, there were 259 producers of leatherleaf ferns and other cut greens on more than 7,300 acres in Florida, with sales totaling $85.5 million. Florida continues as the national leader in sales of cut cultivated greens, producing more than 80 percent of the value of all cut greens sold in 36 states surveyed.

All narratives accompanying the paintings were written by Robert Butler.
All rights reserved by the artist.

bullet.gif (943 bytes) Cracker Cowman
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Golden Grove
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Equine Splendor
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Farmers' Harvest
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Fern Garden
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Timber Shadows
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Shipping Cotton
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Ocean Farming
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Strawberry Patch
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Sugar Harvest
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Tomato Garden
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Beekeeping in the Pines
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Fern Garden

Wild and cultivated ferns occupy an important place in Florida agriculture; where ferns grow, environmental enhancement is a by-product.

Ferns form the backdrop for millions of floral arrangements, and many who enjoy them have no idea of their place of origin.

Evidence of the sensual impact this tropical delight has had upon us is clear through the use we make of it. Millions have witnessed their startling beauty.

In the place they grow, enchanting music pervades like a heavy mist over the forest floor. As warm rays of light penetrate transparent openings in the forest canopy, luminous shapes delight the sense of wonder, seemingly suspended in a primeval broth, transparent fern carpet the floor of southern hammocks. It is a special place where fantasy and reality meet.      Poem by the artist.

Robert Butler 1999