Fernwood began as the country home of Kay and Walter Boydston, who purchased the first 12.5 acres in 1941. During the years that followed, Fernwood became a popular gathering place for those who shared Kay’s love of nature, horticulture, and the craft arts. In 1964 Fernwood became a public place through the efforts of Niles philanthropists Lawrence and Mary Plym. Additional land purchases increased the size to 105 acres, providing space for an arboretum, prairie restoration, and additional gardens. The Nature Center was constructed as an office building in 1973-74 and converted to its present use in 1989. The Mary Plym Visitors Center also opened in 1989.

High Beam Engagement

Marilyn Moore wrote a wonderful article for the website of the Garden Club of Oak Park–River Forest about Kay Boydston, and her habit of planting well into the night by the glow of the headlights of her car. To read this entertaining and interesting article about Kay, click here