|Children's Garden Treehouse.|
Photo c/o Naples Botanical Garden.
|Guaiacum sanctum. Photo c/o Naples Botanical Garden.|
Next up, field trip participants will embark to the Kapnick Caribbean Garden, which spotlights those plants swapped across hemispheres during the Columbian exchange. Botanical specimens native to the Caribbean and tropical Asia are planted side by side around an aquamarine Chattel House. Many visitors are surprised to discover how many Caribbean plants are also native to the Florida Keys. Challenge yourself to count the number of Florida natives in this botanical melting pot. The observant investigator can locate little strongbark (Bourreria cassinifolia), maidenberry (Crossopetalum rhacoma), spicewood (Calyptranthes pallens), and many more mixed in with Caribbean agricultural commodities. Be sure to rest in the hammocks slung between coconut palms after your count is done. Don’t miss the arid garden, which displays the endangered semaphore cactus (Opuntia corallicola) among diverse Caribbean succulents, as you move on.
|Gaillardia pulchella. Photo c/o Naples Botanical Garden,|
Just outside the Wildflower Meadow, discover an open air patio called Lucy’s Solstice Landing, which aligns with the setting sun on the winter solstice. Native palms, including Florida thatch palm (Thrinax radiata) and sargent’s cherry palm (Pseudophoenix sargentii), stand tall around this reflective spot. If you take a break on the benches, look out across Deep Lake, an aquatic component of NBG’s 90-acre Preserve. Other than examining lush littorals and other native plants, keep an eye out for basking alligators, swooping Ospreys, or dozens of other birds regularly observed here.
|Passiflora pallens. Photo c/o Naples Botanical Garden.|
Strongly consider signing up for the field trip to Naples Botanical Garden if you want to learn identification of south Florida species, observe various native landscaping strategies, and enjoy a leisurely walk in beautiful surroundings. Other fantastic cultivated Gardens (i.e. Kathleen and Scott Kapnick Brazilian Garden; Marcia and L. Bates Lea Asian Garden) will be in view, although not directly part of the tour. This field trip will remain on level walkways (90% sidewalk/boardwalk; 10% shell path) with easy access to restrooms and water fountains. Total walking distance will be approximately half a mile, with plenty of opportunities to rest. We recommend that participants bring a reusable water bottle, sunscreen, hat, and rain jacket and wear good walking shoes. This Florida Native Plant Society field trip represents one of your last chances to tour Naples Botanical Garden before its four-month closure to complete construction of the new Chabraja Visitor Center.
Submitted by Andee Naccarato
Naples Botanical Garden
Department of Education and Conservation