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.

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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.

With a name like Tree of Life, it’s no surprise that the tree is represented by a number of species of plants across many cultures and religions. It represents the connectedness of all life in our world.

How a drought-tolerant tree finds its natural range in the 26 Latitude is beyond me. I’m just glad Hetty and a few anonymous “friends of the Garden” had the presence of mind to remove it and replant it.

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