Sunday, December 21, 2014

McKee Botanical Gardens

Located in Vero Beach, Florida, the McKee Botanical Gardens are 18 acres of tropical gardens along the Indian River.  They were begun in 1929, when landscape architect, William Lyman Phillips, designed the basic infrastructure of streams, ponds, and trails. Native vegetation and ornamental plants were added with the goal of establishing an impressive collection of water lilies and orchids.

It flourished throughout the 1940s, but by the 1970s, competition from other Florida attractions caused it to close its doors.  Sixty of the original acres were sold.  The remaining acres sat vacant for twenty years. Then in 1994, the Indian River Land Trust purchased the property and restored the garden.  It was reopened in 2001.  There are now several buildings on the property, including a gift shop, education center, and restaurant.

The gardens are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Sunday noon to 5:00 PM.  Admission for adults is $10.00, and for children, $8.00.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Key West Garden Center and West Martello Tower

Key West Garden Center and West Martello Tower is located in Key West, Florida.  The ruins of an old civil war fort are home to the Joe Allen Garden Center and Key West Garden Club.  There are many native exotic trees and plants, including orchids, growing within these ruins.  A gazebo that overlooks the ocean, is a perfect back drop for weddings or for enjoying gentle sea breezes. Visitors will also see a lovely waterlily pond and waterfall.

The Key West Garden Center boasts that it is one of the island's last free tourist attractions.  The gardens are open from dawn to dusk.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens are located in Gainsville, Florida.  This 62 acre site overlooks the beautiful Lake Kanapaha, and contains nineteen different themed gardens.  These include a Butterfly Garden, Asian Garden, Vinery, Hummingbird Garden, Herb Garden, Rock Garden, Water Lilly Pond, Water Garden, and a 29 acre arboretum.

The gardens are open Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM (or dusk, if that comes earlier).  Admission for adults is $7.00, and for children it's $3.50.  On the first Saturday of the month, guided two-hour tours are offered.  These are great for those who wish to learn more about the plants they are seeing.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Historic Spanish Point

Located in Osprey, Florida, Historic Spanish Point is a museum complex and archaeological site with preserved pioneer dwellings, Native American remains, and lovely garden landscapes.  Included in the gardens, are the Fern and Jungle Walk with a scenic aqueduct, and a Sunken Garden and Pergola.

The historical things on the site are quite fascinating.  There's an Indian burial mound, an archaeological exhibition built inside a shell mound, and an old house built in 1901 that once belonged to the Guptill family.

Historic Spanish Point is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, and from 12:00 to 5:00 PM on Sundays.  Admission for adults is $12.00, and for children, $5.00.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Heathcote Botanical Gardens

Heathcote Botanical Gardens are located in Fort Pierce, Florida.  The three and a half acres were once part of a nursery.  Now they are filled with paths bordered by orchids and palms. There are several gardens, including an herb garden, childrens garden, and a lovely Japanese garden that contains a picturesque pond.  The Japanese garden also boasts the largest tropical Bonsai collection in the United States.

The gardens are open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Sunday from 1:00 PmM to 5:00 PM  (November through April). Cost of admission is $6.00 for adults, and $2.00 for children.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fragrance Garden

The Fragrance Garden is part of Lakes Park, a 277 acre park in South Fort Meyers, Florida, where you can touch and smell the scents of native exotic plants and walk a fruit and spice path. It was started in 1991, with a small collection of herbs.  It has grown quite a bit, and now has a huge assortment of trees and flowers.

The park is open from 9:00 AM to dusk.  There is a parking fee for motorized vehicles:  $1.00 an hour or $5.00 all day.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Harry P. Leu Gardens

Located in Orlando, Florida, the Harry P. Leu Gardens contain fifty acres of ancient oak trees, camellias, and giant camphors.  In fact, it has the largest camellia collection and formal rose garden in the southern United States. The gardens were donated to the city of Orlando in 1961 by Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane. There is also an herb garden, butterfly garden, palm garden, and bamboo garden on the grounds.

The gardens are open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, except on December 25th, when the gardens are closed.

Cost of admission, which includes a tour of the Leu House Museum, is $10.00 for adults, and $3.00 for children.