“Ferns and Fiddleheads” to create an Enchanted Forest at Fredericton Botanic Garden

This year’s temporary public art installation, ‘Ferns and Fiddleheads’, has been installed at the Fredericton Botanic Garden, home to wide variety of plant displays, woodland trails and much more.

Fredericton area artist, Jean Hudson, was inspired by the motto on the City’s Coat of Arms which features the words FREDERICOPOLIS SILVAE FILIA NOBILIS, which translates to “Fredericton, noble daughter of the forest”.

“I hoped to create a scene of an enchanted forest floor with oversized and colourful ferns and fiddleheads,” said Hudson. ‘It’s a bright, curious, and fun art reference to a Fredericton symbol.”

Among the trees and flowers at the Fredericton Botanic Garden, to the east side of the main trail just uphill of the daylilies, you will find the eighteen fern fronds and fiddleheads, with heights up to four feet each (122cm), fabricated from hand-cut metal.

With her passion for creating art with used objects, and giving them a second life, the artist cut the fronds from several steel barrels. The collection of fern fronds is painted with rust resistant paint in shades of teal, orange, yellow and blue, accented with bees, butterflies, and dragonflies painted onto the metal.

Along with the fanciful fronds are sculptures of their younger versions, the fiddlehead. This is a nod to the Saint John River, which runs through the City of Fredericton, and is the symbol of the New Brunswick Scenic Drive signage found along the river.

"We're delighted to host this installation - it's lovely, and fun, and it's botanical, and those are three of our favourite things," said Stephen Heard, president of the Fredericton Botanic Garden Association.

The artist, and her partner Jack Hudson, created the eight metal curly fiddleheads to intermingle with the ferns and natural greenery to achieve the composition of a quirky and playful forest floor as a creative reference to FREDERICOPOLIS SILVAE FILIA NOBILIS.

The piece will remain in place until mid-October.

Ms. Hudson was also the artist who created last summer’s successful temporary public art display in Phoenix Square called ‘Fish Wish”. The artist, and her partner, Jack Hudson, live in Prince William, NB.  They use recycled materials to create large pieces of art, which they share on their website www.jhudsonart.ca.