Friday, January 30, 2015

Naples Botanical Gardens

It is a bit of a drive from North Fort Myers south to Naples for a day trip, but, as we learned yesterday, it was worth making a second trip.  The botanical gardens were chartered in 1994, and the first phase of it opened in 2008.  It was initially an area overgrown with invasive exotic species as the melaleuca tree.  The gardens started collecting large trees and palms in 20006, many from Old Naples that were about to be cut down.  Tree movers were hired and the trees were then transplanted.  We could well imagine that this was a major effort, walking around in the gardens we saw many large trees and palms that are quite large and certainly could not have grown to that size in a matter of a eight years!  Pictured below is a banyan tree.
The height on this banyan tree is amazing, you can get a perspective of that with the man standing below it.   We saw several of those trees on the grounds of large estates while driving around Naples.  That tree has arial prop roots that grow into thick trunks- the older trees spread out laterally eventually covering a wide area.  One of the first areas of the park we first visited was the Butterfly House, and it is one of the best we have seen.  The vegetation here is quite lush and colorful, the butterflies of a wide variety and numerous.
It is always a challenge for me to snap pictures of butterflies, and I was successful in getting several good photographs of them.  The Children's Garden was quite imaginative as well as whimsical.  Plants here could be found in purses, boots, as well as in a toilet.  And I liked how air plants add a fascinating dimension to paintings.
Initially the park had to be raised from 2-3 feet above sea level to 10 feet, thus preventing it from being inundated by salt water during hurricanes.  Soil had to be dug up for the level to be raised, which created the park's lakes and a water garden.  The later has waterfalls as well as an infinity pool.
One last picture here before closing this, and I will continue with more on this garden in the next posting.  The Water Gardens have some beautiful lotus flowers blooming, as pictured below.

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