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  • Nicolette Beard

Summer Camp Happenings from Heather

Heather DuPlooy, the Garden's Education coordinator, reports to us about what's been happening during summer camp. Here's what she had to say recently.

Walking around the classroom at the Naples Botanical Garden Summer Camp, I am distracted by delicate, colorful art pieces that look like stained glass. Camp counselor, Shannon Guidry, who is showing me around before my presentation to the campers, tells me that the work is inspired by the amazing hand blown glass art of Dale Chihuly.

 david_chiluly_glass_naplesnews.bmpThe vibrant artwork is part of an activity presented by Jessica Wozniak from the Naples Museum of Art. While I admire their work, the students are carefully weaving multicolored strands of yarn through garden pots which will later be planted with seeds from the garden. This gives Shannon a couple minutes to talk to me about what the kids have been up to this week. A lot!

  • Mike Malloy

Florida Butterflies-Spring Butterfly Count

Zebra longwing Florida state butterfly.jpgAt Naples Botanical Garden, the butterfly count has been high this spring for most of the Florida butterflies. Most people (myself included) were affected by Hurricane Wilma about five years ago and lost a lot of their garden’s canopy. Now finally, we are seeing a big return of the zebra long wings (Florida’s state butterfly) and also the Julia, which are two of our Florida heliconian butterflies, since the tree canopies are beginning to return.

These two butterflies like to play in shade or dappled sun, like under the canopy trees provide. I have always suggested when planting Passion vines, their host plant, i.e. plants that female butterflies deposit their eggs on, that they should be planted in shade or partial shade for maximum efficiency.

  • Nicolette Beard

Naples Garden Attracts Crowd for Last Summer Concert

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I wrapped up my second “photo shoot” for the Garden yesterday for the last of our Summer Picnic concerts. It was another lovely Florida morning, partly cloudy skies and a mild breeze blowing. In fact, Southwest Fla. temps have been cooler than St. Louis and parts farther north!

Walking amidst the families and observing couples young and old sharing a midday repast on the day of our nation’s independence uplifted me. To be sure, the Garden exudes a special magic, but the tropical music and strong vocals combined with a lazy day vibe made me feel as though time does stand still despite our hyper-connected world. (I do appreciate the irony as I posted on Facebook prior to, during and after the concert!) But here’s the thing…people want to connect.

  • Sally Richardson

Dawes Arboretum Home of APGA 2012 Garden Paths

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A hundred and forty years ago or so, I learned to drive a faded maroon 1950 Ford stick shift at Dawes Arboretum just outside Newark, Ohio. My brother, who must have been heavily medicated, took on this thankless task of teaching me how to drive; and I did manage soon after to get a driver’s license.

Here I am again at Dawes, June 2012, only this time, in addition to roadways, there are majestic tents nestled among majestic trees. There is an enormous climbing tree outfitted with swings, straps and pulleys and some wild and crazy people who you aspire to be (but lack the nerve to be), ascending to the highest branches.

There are five food stations to tempt the most determined ‘weight watcher’. There are delicate wildflowers, regular flowers, pots of flowers, lovely scrims hanging from high branches, fireflies, a setting sun through lacey branches and lots of friendly folk, including a most charming Ex.ecutive Director, Luke Messinger.

  • Nicolette Beard

Dagny Johnson Park: Dr. Wilder Initiates Botanical Inventory

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The northern half of Key Largo is mostly preserved natural land. That northern half is bisected lengthwise – from north to south – by Route 905. The Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park ("Dagny Johnson Park") comprises most of the land situated east of Rt. 905; the Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge constitutes the majority of land situated west of Rt. 905. 

Some months ago, Dr. Wilder initiated an inventory of the species of vascular plants growing within Dagny Johnson Park. The Park's extensive, comprising 2,421 acres and measuring, approximately, ten miles long. "It will be challenging to complete the plant inventory," notes Dr. Wilder. "I hope that I’ll be able to do so. Completion could require years of work!"

Key Largo Botanical Park History

Dagny Johnson Park contains large areas of tropical hardwood hammock and mangrove vegetation. Present, too, are salt marsh, a very small area of beach vegetation and disturbed land. Parts of the Park are remnants of a Nike missile base dating from the Cold War period, which was functional from 1965 to 1979, approximately. Dagny-Johnson-State-Park-entrance.jpg

The Park was established in 1982 and is named after Anna Dagny Johnson, a local environmentalist – now deceased – who led efforts to save the Park land from development.

Two developers tried successively to develop the area with numerous condominiums and hotels before the Park was established. Fortunately, both attempts failed and both developers declared bankruptcy.