July 09, 2013

The Naples Botanical Garden: Some Like It Hot!

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:

Naples Botanical Garden entrance walkway by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
What "houseplants" do you recognize?


Naples Botanical Garden front entrance walkway by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
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.



Brazilian Garden Naples Botanical Garden Burle Marx Ceramic Mural by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Looking towards the Roberto Burle Marx Plaza. That's a ceramic mural showcased behind the waterfall.
Brazilian Garden Naples Botanical Garden bromeliad bed by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Massing using Neoregelia, Aechmea, Porta and Caladium

Brazilian Garden Naples Botanical Garden closeup bromeliad seeds covered morning dew by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Early morning dew on these seedheads (or flower buds?)
Brazilian Garden Naples Botanical Garden massed bromeliads by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
The magic of massing using what I consider "tropical" plants.

Brazilian Garden Naples Botanical Garden infinity waterfall by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
The infinity pool/waterfall with huge water lily pads.



Nymphae Panama Pacific tropical waterlily Brazilian Garden Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Detail of  Nymphae "Panama Pacific" tropical  waterlily

Nymphae tropical waterlily Brazilian Garden Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Another closeup of a tropical waterlily, forgot to note the cultivar but so beautiful!

red button ginger Brazilian Garden Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
A grouping of Red Button Ginger (Costus woodsonii)


Massed caladiums pineapples Brazilian Garden Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
More massing of silver-leaved Caladium and pineapple

Pink powder puff bloom Brazilian Garden Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
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 pudica  blooms Caribbean Garden Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Bridal bouquet plumeria (Plumeria pudica)

Caribbean Garden Great Lawn palms Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Reminds me so much of our trip to the Turks and Caicos


Queen's Wreath covered arbour Caribbean Garden Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
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.

Asian Garden lotus Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Pale cream coloured lotus flowers and seedhead

Balinese Shrine Lea Asian Garden Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Balinese Shrine at the Lea Asian Garden

Asian Garden Thai Riverside Pavillion Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Thai Riverside Pavillion surrounded by lotus

Candi Suka Ruin detail Lea Asian Garden Naples Botanical Garden  garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
Statue detail from the Garden's Candi Suka Ruins (well, not from the real ruins)

Candi Suka Ruin Lea Asian Garden Naples Botanical Garden by garden muses-a Toronto gardening blog
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"
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