Think “Caribbean,” and the first image to come to mind may be white sand and turquoise sea. The region is so much more than that, and the Kapnick Caribbean Garden captures its diverse landscape, rich cultural history and multifaceted story.
The slightly elevated, densely planted northern end depicts the islands’ mountains, while the dry, rocky scrub at the southern point showcases cacti and succulents. A “living fence” demonstration area shows the ingenuity of islanders in using natural resources. Scattered throughout are tropical fruits and other plants critical to the region’s identity and global economic contributions such as banana, pineapple, papaya, coconut, sugar cane and coffee. A vanilla orchid trellis shows the potential of a new crop for Florida and its island neighbors, vanilla beans. For a different element of Caribbean life, an expansive lawn and oolite pergola serve as favorite backdrops for visitor photos.
The garden holds the Ware Palm Collection; numerous endangered plants, including prehistoric cycads and the Florida semaphore cactus (Consolea corralicola); and Caribbean species from the National Plumeria Collection.
Guests are encouraged to meander through the lawn, explore the sandy paths behind the Pastore Caribbean House, and sit for a spell in Nina’s Pavilion, overlooking the tranquil Lake Tupke.