The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Day 2 Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Part 1


Meet Kanapaha Kermit! He will be gracing the Violet Fern garden with his presence just as soon as it warms up a bit – hopefully by watching over a small pond soon to be planned. I met KK at the botanical gardens on Monday and thought he would be a perfect memento of my walks through the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens.


Honestly, I thought I would have visited these beautiful gardens a little more frequently but one week we made the trek to Gainesville on a Thursday forgetting that the gardens are closed on Thursdays – big bummer. This week we made the trek on Monday and wow, what a great way to start any week! We settled into the mood first by walking this labyrinth formed out of mondo grass. Mojo – how great that we could bring him along! – kept wanting to cheat by crossing over the grass but after awhile followed form.


We toured the other side of the gardens this time, beginning in the Vinery.


I loved walking through these pergolas even though many of the vines are dormant now – I recognized a few like Trumpet Vine and Polish Spirit Clematis. How I would have loved to see the Chocolate Vine, Akebia quinata, in bloom! (It is hardy to my zone 4! However, it may be considered invasive.) I would love to incorporate a “vine tunnel” such as these pergolas in my own garden. I imagine birds would love it!

We then entered the Ginger Garden but again, many of the plants are dormant now. After all it is winter, hard for me to comprehend that down here. I just loved the texture on the leaves of this ginger.


A lovely shade of green – I think KK would agree. We then came upon the herb garden, possibly my favorite part. Oh, do I miss my Potager and oh, what inspiration! (I cannot wait to get back out in my garden!)


Those little dots of orange above right? A favorite friend and a tug of nostalgia, Calendula – blooming, of course! Only it hasn’t taken over this wonderfully disciplined garden.

Wonderful brick work and paths. (Hmmm, I vow to get to work on my “recycled path” as soon as I return North! I must also find a gazing ball and put it up on a pedestal of some kind! I could also reconstruct some new obelisks out of pressure treated wood or cedar like these – so beautiful and ornamental. I also could … as I afore mentioned, inspiring.)


I was drawn to this small tree by the name of …

Bark used in tannins, flowers in perfume (also stated on sign above), leaves edible and high in protein, seeds also edible. I like the fun “pom pom” flowers!

I was also drawn to this, ah, tree. I am a fan of bottles in the garden.


And just to prove to myself that yes, Monarchs do overwinter here as I discussed in my last post … look what I spied on the Butterfly Weed!

It was difficult to pull myself away from this oasis called the Herb Garden, but look what was up ahead … who wouldn’t want to venture into this?

Mojo: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, can we go in there? Huh, huh?”

So we walked on into, you guessed it, the Bamboo Garden.

There was a slight breeze and I attempted to record the knocking of the bamboo but it just didn’t pick up over the wind.

Fallen leaves? (Shedding trunks.)

Even here in this tranquil grove, people find the need to make their mark. It is strangely attractive.



Do you think this means bamboo?


White Bamboo


Native plant lover that I am aside, I very much want to grow this incredible plant in my garden. I just need to be sure to plant a clumping variety – did you read the sign (above) “Bamboo Garden?” Two inches per hour! Can you imagine? The gardens are having a bamboo sale but I think I am saved – I don’t believe there’s a bamboo hardy enough for my Northern zone though that requires a bit more research. Those of you in zone 5, however – you’re in luck!

There was so much more to see … but I am going to save that for Part II. Believe it or not, I was dog tired that evening – a lot for this tiny, pea brain to absorb! Mojo was, too. (A lot to smell – hint, hint.)


Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

10 thoughts on “Day 2 Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Part 1

  1. What a fun place to visit. I would have loved it as well. Sounds like you are itching to be back to gardening. When do you head back north? Be happy that you are in a zone not conducive to bamboo. I planted an “annual” very pretty variegated bamboo that turned out to be perennial, reverted to all green and is rhizomatous – definitely one of my bigger gardening mistakes as it is IMPOSSIBLE to eradicate and each year there is more of it. Oh well, lovely ground cover! 🙂

    • Happy mistake? I know I am going to try some bamboo – I already have mint, lemon balm, dreaded bishop’s weed and even bindweed running rampant ha ha. I like to learn the hard way although I appreciate your warning Eliza! It is fun to visit Kanapaha! We will mosey our way back in March – it may take a week, it may take two. I would love to return home just in time for pea planting time!

  2. Kathy-I agree-strangely attractive:-) I am in zone 5, but I am on the quest of making my garden almost all native but do have my “fun” plants-you know us girls just gotta have fun-LOL
    I LOVE bottle trees, so I broke down and got a little dwarf peacock one for I don’t have much space left to stuff anything else! I love your frog:-)
    I am eager to get outside, but snow is coming this weekend. I don’t mind, I feel spring in the air. It is in the mid 30’s and I am ready to work but a bit slushy out there. I know the east coast got hit pretty hard this week:-(
    Enjoy for it goes fast:-) Thank you for sharing!!!

    • So wonderful to hear you feel spring in the air Robbie! I know that feeling. That makes me soar! I hope it’s a light fluffy snow without horrific winds. The kind that settles like a blanket and feeds the soil!

  3. Kermit is interesting. So is your garden tour. Thank you.

  4. What am inspiration Kathy and Kanapaha Kermit will be wonderful by your new pond….I would be careful of any bamboo as I recall they all spread to some degree.

  5. Pingback: Day 2 Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, Part 2 | The Violet Fern

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