Liz, who is a member of the SoWe Flo cycling group, invited me and a friend, Mindy, to tour the Naples Botanical Gardens. It was member appreciation weekend so Liz had a few free passes to visit so we accepted the gracious offer.
There was a special exhibition provided by the National Sculpture Society called " A Blessing of Animals" Exhibition. These metal animal sculptures were scattered throughout the park so it was fun to try and find them while exploring the gardens.
The gardens are tucked away on Bayshore Drive which is near downtown Naples. It's one of the best kept secrets of Naples. Here is a link to explain more about the gardens.
This park is funded totally by private donations. It is amazing that such a large venue can be privately supported. It took a big hit when the hurricane came through Naples but since I didn't have a reference point of before versus after the hurricane I couldn't believe the beauty (and serenity) of these gardens even after the storm severely damaged the gardens.
Although I don't know much about plants and gardening I was interesting in learning about native plants of SW Florida. There was a butterfly garden , an orchid garden, and several other themed areas of plants which made for a very interesting time. The gardens are quiet large so we only saw half the gardens but hope to go back to see the "nature" section of the gardens another time.
Here are some photos I took while exploring.
The sign say Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. That represents the three phases that this plant will go through in it's lifetime. Green is Yesterday, purple is Today and the White is tomorrow
Bromelade which is pronounced Bro-mir-a-lad
The colorful center is the plant growing more leaves
This garden was named after it's donor
Here are some of the animal sculptures we spotted during our visit. These are just a small representation of the exhibition. We unfortunately missed many as they were hidden so well within the gardens.
The House of Lords which is some type of bird...maybe an egret or heron
Wild Instinct which is the Panther
Stella the Pig
It was a great day spent with friends and learning more about Florida. I hope to go back to these gardens very soon.