As you pass the Ridge Trail entrance and continue on the main path, you leave our more formal gardens and enter our habitat displays. The displays range from natural environments to constructed features representing New England habitats. Native plants thriving here have evolved to live in specific places based on factors such as soil type, temperature, and nutrient levels.
On the right, you will see our limestone outcrop covered with ferns. These particular ferns thrive on alkaline soils, found in the Connecticut River Valley. You will see the northern maidenhair fern with its dark wiry stem and the Hart’s Tongue Fern. They are accompanied by other rare, alkaline-loving plants on this constructed outcrop, such as yellow lady’s-slipper and pale yellow American globe-flower. Continue walking through the garden’s wooded areas to spot ferns that prefer the more common, granite-derived acidic soil, such as fiddleheads and wood fern.