I say “day 1” because I plan to return and view more of the gardens at Kanapaha in the upcoming weeks. Warning: this post is part eye candy, part inspiration and part crack for all those gardeners “at rest.” I came upon a little quote the other day by Rumi on Facebook, “And don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots down there are riotous.” That’s something I would cling to if I were spending winter with my garden. That and the whole winter interest thang – evergreen, interesting bark, bright stems, seed heads … Phooey! Look at this!
It’s tropical, it’s lush, it’s green, it’s … it’s … it’s LEAF LOVE!!!
The entrance to the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville, Florida is flanked by bamboo as tall, if not taller than, Maples. So tall I cannot frame them in this photo. I loved the Alligator bench and fountain centered on the thicket of bamboo – yes, those are the trunks of the bamboo.
I gather from the literature and an advertised bamboo sale and workshop, that Kanapaha is known for its bamboo. Another thicket – this one knocked in the warm breezes – a great attribute I wouldn’t have thought.
The welcoming building is beautiful with a post and beam type construction. I purchased my husband and I a membership for $50 (includes two adults) since we will be returning a number of times. The gardens even allow dogs (wow!!!) so Mojo will accompany us next time. I also purchased some fish food for .25¢ Fish food you say? I placed my fish tank of some thirty years into a new home so we could migrate here winters, and I do miss it terribly but at the same time, I no longer wish to keep anything in a cage. My new fish tank will be a pond in the garden where creatures can come and go as they please although I will not have fish such as these but I thoroughly enjoyed feeding them, big kid that I am.
These fish are located in the children’s garden at Kanapaha. I really had fun visiting the children’s garden – this elaborate water circulation system reminds me of something out of Dr. Seuss. (I still need to take that course on videoing …)
This artistic “bedazzled” wall begs to be touched and looked at in detail. I wish I could construct something like this that would withstand our freezing temperatures – perhaps I will. For now, I will settle for the wine bottle border.
Yes, that is sunshine you see! The sun sets an hour later here than in Clayton.
These wind chimes are nothing but copper pipes – I foresee a new Violet Fern project coming up …
We chose the children’s garden to visit on this day because it was on the way to the Great Victoria water lilies – the largest water lily in the world. And although I was somewhat disappointed to learn they are now out of season, at least a few were still growing though somewhat tattered.
On our way back, however, we happened upon this wonderful little Asian Garden. More leaf love in a big way!
Look at this, an aloe with a flower bud! Oh, Medusa I hope you are okay. Medusa (my house plant Aloe), has never bloomed for me. I could have brought some of her here and planted her in the gardens! In case you are wondering, I am in zone 9 – ZONE 9!!!
Of course, in spite of all the tropical foliage and bamboo, I am still drawn to trees. I see the appeal of Crepe Myrtle firsthand. In North Country we might try a Paperbark Maple or River Birch. In zone 5, a London Plane Tree although much larger. There are many Sycamore trees here, too.
Okay, so we are including “interesting bark” for that inspiration part of the post. There is this beauty, hardy to zone 5.
This is what I really love about here – these large trees dripping with moss and vines. I have ordered two books on Florida plants so I can begin identifying what I see based on the recommendations of the master gardener program here. I almost signed up for the class, but I decided to wait a couple more years. I hope to focus on painting this winter – see, I’m already distracted.
But, this, and all these interesting barks are things I would love to paint so I suppose you could say I’m “gathering material,” yeah.
Remember this little guy? This is the plant Douglas Tallamy discussed as the reason for the incredible comeback of the Atala butterfly (see my previous post). I have seen the Coontie planted in three locations since arriving here: Kanapaha, The Cemetery Point Park in Cedar Key, and my favorite new hangout The Low Key Hideaway Tiki Bar.
There’s much more to see at Kanapaha – the Bulb Garden, the Butterfly Garden, the Arboretum, the Rock Garden, the Bamboo Garden and more … Days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6? Until then, you know where I’ll be … at the tiki bar! There’s plenty to see there, too.