- Jun. 17 2013
- Renee Waller
Tropicalia: Prickly Pear Cactus
- Sep. 19 2012
- Dominique Mitchell
Dr. Wilder Observes The Genus Scleria in Florida
I first observed Scleria lithosperma a few months ago, on May 31, 2012, in Key Largo, Florida. This is the only Scleria species listed as Endangered in Florida. Including S. lithosperma, I’ve now observed nine of the ten Scleria species known from Florida. Scleria is a genus belonging to the monocotyledonous family Cyperaceae. All Scleria species of Florida are native here, except for Scleria lacustris.
The fruit of all Scleria species is an achene (as is true for all other species of Cyperaceae). An achene is a dry, indehiscent, one-seeded, fruit. Species of Scleria, like species of other cyperaceous genera, are distinguished from one another largely according to features of their achenes. All ten of our Scleria species have white achenes (an atypical feature among Florida Cyperaceae, overall) and their achenes are minute - ranging, collectively, from one to four mm long. Because the achenes are so small, the beginner requires a microscope to see them clearly and to identify Scleria plants to species.
Florida species of Scleria appear, superficially, grass-like and weedy, and the average person would consider them unremarkable. Yet, their achenes appear unique and beautiful under the microscope. I’ll now review selected features of the achenes. While doing so, I’ll refer to the handout which I’ve distributed today. 1
- Jul. 13 2012
- 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.
The 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!
Florida Butterflies-Spring Butterfly Count
At 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.
- Jul. 5 2012
- Nicolette Beard
Naples Garden Attracts Crowd for Last Summer Concert
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.
- Jul. 3 2012
- Sally Richardson
Dawes Arboretum Home of APGA 2012 Garden Paths
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.
- Jul. 2 2012
- Nicolette Beard
Dagny Johnson Park: Dr. Wilder Initiates Botanical Inventory
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.
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.
- Jun. 27 2012
- Nicolette Beard
Summer Camp is On Rain or Shine!
We’re having a great time at the Naples Botanical Garden summer camp. Campers are flying kites, getting to know the ‘Stinky Plants’ Curator Brett Adams brings in, learning to weave, building rainbow tacos with Julie from Whole Foods and exploring the colorful residents of the wildflower meadow.
That is only a small taste of the Garden summer camp activities happening all week every week this summer in the Garden. Every day our campers are getting their hands on new art activities, exploring in the Garden and meeting speakers who come from many organizations, from Rookery Bay to the Naples Museum of Art and walks of life, from solar engineers to printmakers.
With access to the plants, butterflies, gardens and staff, the Naples Botanical Garden makes it easy for the counselors, all CCPS teachers, to keep everyone entertained. Our Camp Coordinator, Laura Foht agrees.
“The Garden is the perfect place for curious minds to wander and explore,” said Laura. At least one camper agrees. “This is the best camp ever! I wish I could go to the Garden all year!,” enthused Trevor.
- Jun. 21 2012
- Nicolette Beard
Tree of Life Rescued from Demo
Our stalwart horticulture assistant and trusted keeper of the plant records, Hetty Ford, and her band of loyal gardeners, removed a mature Lignum Vitae tree, commonly known as the “Tree of Life,” from a demolition lot in Old Naples on Monday, June 18, 2012. The magnificent specimen is now in the Kapnick Caribbean Garden.
For those novice gardeners (like me) Guaiacum sanctum (Lignum Vitae) is a native Florida tree. Large specimens are rare and, when Hetty learned that this tree was on a demo lot, “I knew we could not let the bulldozers get it,” she said.
- Jun. 18 2012
- Nicolette Beard
A Reel Catch - Garden Lake Tarpon
One of the things I like most about the Garden is that people can engage in a variety of experiences depending on their interest area and age level. This last weekend was no exception.
From Catch and Release fishing to another memorable Summer Picnic Concert, we saw a steady stream of visitors; some with fishing poles and major outback gear to early birds toting the classic straw picnic baskets. As one concertgoer claimed on our Facebook page, “The concert today was amazing! (Thank you for that Dolette.)
For years, rumor had it that the Garden Lake was home to tarpon, which seemed like a fanciful tale to many who had heard this story. Lo and behold, a 3-foot tarpon was indeed caught by our very own Director of Horticulture, Brian Galligan.
One of our longtime volunteers hypothesized that the tarpon found its way into our lake after Hurricane Donna. He suggested that it was the Gulf surge that provided a new home to many of the fish now populating the lake. For those born after 1960, Naples News’ Lighthouse Project provides fascinating tidbits of hurricane history surrounding that devastating day.