A Toronto gardener's visit to a Florida botanical garden (in the summer!)
My family and I recently spent a much-deserved week's vacation in Bonita Springs, Florida which is located on the Gulf Coast side of Florida between Fort Myers to the north and Naples to the south. We did the silly touristy things like outlet mall shopping, getting used to larger restaurant portions and collecting shells on the beach.
(By the way, "Happy Fourth" seems to be the way of wishing someone a Happy Fourth of July around here. Something tells me that if I wished a fellow Canadian a "Happy First" on Canada Day, I'd likely get a blank look.)
Anyway, back to gardening...
Of course, being on vacation, I didn't do any but I managed to find a few hours to visit a near botanical garden in Naples called, well, the Naples Botanical Garden.
Here are some pictures on the way from the parking lot and outside the admissions office to give you a taste of things to come:
|What "houseplants" do you recognize?|
|From the parking lot, love this colour combination!|
Linda and I got there right at opening time (8 a.m.) because we knew how darn hot and humid the weather would get later. Thunderstorms were also predicted the same day so on this muggy and buggy morning, we started first at the Brazilian Garden which pays tribute to that country's renowned plantsman and landscape architect, Roberto Burle Marx.
|Looking towards the Roberto Burle Marx Plaza. That's a ceramic mural showcased behind the waterfall.|
|Massing using Neoregelia, Aechmea, Porta and Caladium|
|Early morning dew on these seedheads (or flower buds?)|
|The magic of massing using what I consider "tropical" plants.|
|The infinity pool/waterfall with huge water lily pads.|
|Detail of Nymphae "Panama Pacific" tropical waterlily|
|Another closeup of a tropical waterlily, forgot to note the cultivar but so beautiful!|
|A grouping of Red Button Ginger (Costus woodsonii)|
|More massing of silver-leaved Caladium and pineapple|
|Detail of Pink Powder Puff bloom (Calliandra surinamensis "Pink")|
We then ambled over to the Caribbean Garden and took these photos among many others:
|Bridal bouquet plumeria (Plumeria pudica)|
|Reminds me so much of our trip to the Turks and Caicos|
|Stone pillars and wood beams covered by Queen's Wreath (Petrea volubilis)|
Onwards to the Asian Garden, with few pesky visitors to disrupt our photo opportunities but many pesky mosquitoes and gnats to torment those who didn't bring bug repellent.
|Pale cream coloured lotus flowers and seedhead|
|Balinese Shrine at the Lea Asian Garden|
|Thai Riverside Pavillion surrounded by lotus|
|Statue detail from the Garden's Candi Suka Ruins (well, not from the real ruins)|
|Good job replicating Candi Suka Javanese Ruins|
We also visited the four other gardens: the Childrens', Florida and Water Gardens and "The Preserve." By the two hour mark we were getting hungry and getting bitten and decided to call it a morning. All in all, it was an enjoyable and educational outing for this zone 5 gardener. We saw many plants we consider houseplants and annuals growing very vigorously in situ like cannas, taro, bromeliads, and bananas.
I don't know if many of the plants on exhibit experience any dormancy and/or change the colour of their leaves so, off the top of my head, I guess the plants look the same all year round (?).
It was a nice, short diversion away from the endless shopping and eating we endured over the week!
By Paul Jung, author of "garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog"