Thursday, February 26, 2009

A trip to McKee Botanical Gardens!

Last weekend I took a trip to McKee Botanical Gardens in Vero Beach FL. This place is around 15 acres and every time a go I seem to find something new. A little history...from the a McKee webpage.
"In 1922, the McKee-Sexton Land Company was established in Vero Beach, Florida. This partnership purchased an 80-acre tropical hammock along the Indian River in 1929 and McKee Jungle Gardens was born.

With the help of landscape architect William Lyman Phillips, now known as the pioneer of tropical landscape architecture, the basic infrastructure of streams, ponds and trails was designed. Native vegetation was augmented with ornamental plants and seeds from around the world as Arthur G. McKee and Waldo E. Sexton set about assembling one of the most outstanding collections of water lilies and orchids.

By the 1940's more than 100,000 tourists were visiting McKee Jungle Gardens each year, making it one of Florida's most popular attractions. In the early 1970's, attendance dwindled due to competition from new large-scale attractions and the garden was forced to close its doors in 1976.

The land was sold and all but 18 acres were developed. The remaining acreage, zoned for additional development, sat vacant for twenty years. In 1994, the Indian River Land Trust launched a fund-raising campaign and successfully purchased the property on December 1, 1995 for $1.7 million.

Since that pivotal date, close to $9.1 million was raised to purchase, stabilize and restore the Garden. The Garden held its formal Dedication November, 2001. "

Before I post the pics of my trip I found some old vintage photos worth sharing.

I have an old brochure that my grandma had in a stack of old newspapers. Unfortunately it was stuck together and ripped when I was trying to open it. It mentions that there are tame deer, monkeys, wild alligators, a FL Black Bear, Flamingos, wildcats, 1000's of orchids and a 2000 year old Cypress Stump to name a few things.

And now for smoe pictures I took the other day. Starting with the new rows of Royal Palms. You can see the few old guys that made it through the 1989 freeze.

Pandanus utilis - Screw Pine this is a 5 trunk

Bambusa ventricosa - Buddha Belly Bamboo

Acrocomia totai - Gru Gru Palm

X Butiagrus - Queen Palm x Pindo Palm

Zombia antillarum - Zombie Palm
Pritchardia pacifica - Fiji Fan Palm toasted from the freezing hours it saw a few weeks ago
Chambeyronia macrocarpa - Fruiting Watermelon Flame Thrower
Kentiopsis oliviformis
Licuala peltata var. sumawongii - this has the unsegmented leaf
Coccothrinax crinata - Old Man Palm

Phoenix rupicola - Cliff Date Palm

Sabal palmetto - 2 Headed FL Cabbage Palm or Sabal Palm

The Huge 2000 year old Cypress Stump

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gardenfest 2009 Scores!

Gardenfest has come and gone, back on Jan 31 and Feb 1, 2009. I made an appearance and grabbed a few new palms. Limited on funds I decided to look at all of the booths before making my first purchase. Bad idea, I missed a palm that really was a steal. But I did bring home a few new treasures. And here they are.

Cryosophila stauracantha; Rootspine Palm
Veitchia spiralis

Gaussia princeps; Sierra Palm

Archontophoenix tuckeri; King Palm

Syagrus x costae