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!

Seasonal Highlights

Ceratozamia microstrobila
Cycas panzhihuaensis
Cycas taitungensis
Zamia integrifolia


For a garden that has a timeless feel, it is entirely appropriate for it have a large number of Cycads, a group of plants whose lineage may be traced to the Jurassic Period. Unfortunately, almost every cycad in the wild is threatened in its native range, lending importance to the conservation efforts at The John Fairey Garden. Many resemble palms, such as the sago palms and dioons, and prefer the dry garden environment. Others, such as Ceratozamia and Zamia, prefer some shade and regular water. Zamia integrifolia, or coontie, is ubiquitous in the garden and is the only cycad native to the United States. Glossy green foliage, very attractive pinnate leaves and amazing seed cones make the coontie a real attraction to visitors.

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.
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.

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