Established by John Fairey in 1971, The John Fairey Garden (formerly Peckerwood Garden) is an extraordinary preservation garden on 39 acres near Hempstead, Texas. The garden is widely acclaimed for the originality of its design, its education and conservation programs, and its exceptional collection of over 3,000 plants, including many endangered and rare plants from Mexico, North America, and Asia. Docent-led group tours are offered on Open Days (see calendar), private tours are available to members by appointment. We look forward to seeing you at the garden!
In 2017, John Fairey gifted his collection of Mexican folk art to the Art Museum of Southeast Texas (AMSET) in memory of his parents. Thanks to the generous cooperation of the AMSET Board of Directors and Director, Lynn Castle, we are pleased to announce select pieces from John’s collection will return to the Garden for a three-month-long exhibition in the Garden gallery.
Beginning May 11th, the gallery will be open from 11:00 – 3:00 Wednesday through Saturday. Admission will be timed and ticketed with four available time slots. We’re offering entry to the exhibition on the hour for $5 for members, $15 for non-members, and a combination ticket for entry to the exhibition plus a tour of the north dry garden with an emphasis on plants collected in Mexico for $10 for members, $20 for non-members. This combination exhibit/tour will only be offered during the morning’s first slot at 11:15, and the first slot of the afternoon at 1.
Purchase Exhibition/North Dry Garden tour tickets here.
We hope you’ll visit us to experience another aspect of John’s passion, keen eye, and deep appreciation for the culture of Mexico.

Seasonal Highlights

Adiantum sp. Nova
Arachniodes simplicior ‘Variegata’
Polystichum polyblepharum
Phlebodium pseudoaureum2


Adiantum sp. Nova, Arachniodes simplicior 'Variegata', Polystichum polyblepharum, Phlebodium pseudoaureum2

Ferns occupy quiet shady woodland spaces, protected from summer heat by cooler microclimates. Under pines and savannah hollies, around camellias, piper and aspidistra, ferns are an indispensable component of John Fairey’s palette because of their wispy delicate texture and green hues. Visitors usually agree upon seeing the arching bronze new growth of the maidenhair fern, a new species collected in La Trinidad, Mexico. Even more spectacular is the big and blue Phlebodium pseudoaureum (rabbit’s foot fern), also collected in Mexico. Acres of pyrrosia and thelypteris, along with selaginella and ribbon fern, soften the landscape and scale down the summer heat.

Sabal uresana
Brahea mooreii


Sabal uresana & Brahea moorei

John Fairey believed that silver and blue-green colors have a cooling effect as the plants shimmer in the wind. This is certainly true of many palms in the garden. Set high atop the Rain Lily Berm, the Sabal uresana probably have the most dramatic effect on visitors as they glimpse the deeply shadowed silvery blue-green leaves and hear the rustling of the fibrous leaves in the wind. The sound has been likened to the dull burbling and rippling of water in a stream. These palms didn’t escape our winter freeze totally unscathed but they are rebounding nicely. Set throughout the Garden, our Brahea moorei palms, collected in the montane forests of eastern Mexico, display dramatic golden inflorescences and leaves with silver underside. As visitors walk the winding paths through pine and oak, camellia and mahonia, evergreen palms with a tropical flair wave their silvery blue leaves. The Brahea moorei palms, likewise, were affected by the extreme low temperatures of this winter’s storm but they are slowly making a comeback.

yucca linearifolia
agave sp. mr. ripple
nolina nelsonii
dasylirion, yucca rostrata

Woody Lilies

yucca linearifolia, agave sp. mr. ripple, nolina nelsonii, dasylirion and yucca rostrata
In the garden, as in the wild, woody lilies may be found growing in the shade of pines, hickories and oaks, or solitary in full sun. Yet here, John carefully selected the location of these plants. Smaller agaves, such as Agave ferdinandi-regis, line the paths providing low spiny texture. Behind them larger grassy dasylirion add a gentler texture. A third vertical layer of nolina, yucca and columnar cactus arises and is juxtaposed with an important garden architectural feature, such as the Blue Wall or the corrugated aluminum garage or house. Between these solitary long lived plants may be found, as also in the wild, rocky, gravelly soil, in this case pea gravel and bull rock.

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