Florida Guide > Places to Visit
Kanapaha Botanic Gardens – East Side
In a previous article we spent some time exploring the trails to the west of the picnic area. However, time permitting, there is still much more to see and do.
Picking up the trail to the east of the picnic area takes the visitor to the Cycad collection. These are often mistaken for palm trees because of their similar appearance but they are in fact cone producing and related to the pine family.
The Palm Hammock showcases one of the State’s best collections of cold hardy palm species. Don’t miss the extremely rare double crowned cabbage Palm, which, as the locals will tell you is Florida' s state tree.
Succulents and cacti do not find the Florida climate particularly to their liking. Although there is an abundance of hot and sunny weather, the frequent rain showers make this an inhospitable environment for most species to survive. There are of course always exceptions to the rule and the Rock Garden is home to many varieties that have adapted to the conditions.
A little further on is the Hummingbird Garden with its tubular flowers of red, orange, and dazzling pink. Hummingbirds are in residence during the early spring and again in the autumn when the flowers are full of insects and the energy-rich nectar needed to maintain their high metabolic rate. When the insects and nectar are in short supply during the winter months, hummingbirds migrate to warmer climes. Kanapaha’s claim to fame is that it was the site of the Florida’s first documented sighting of the rare Allen' s hummingbird.
In March and April the Spring Flower Garden is full of azaleas, magnolias and wisteria, all of which add a splash of spring colour.
The path then leads to the Woodland Garden that is home to shade loving plants such as exotic gingers, mosses, and ferns.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens boasts the state' s largest public collection of bamboo, which are the world' s fastest growing plants. When the shoots first emerge they can grow as much as two inches per hour. Some of the more well known species here include the elegant black bamboo and fern leaf varieties.
The nearby Herb Garden comprises both of medicinal herbs and culinary herbs, grown in raised brick beds.
The final stop on our tour is the Vinery. Here the visitor will find varieties of passion-flower, jasmine and honeysuckle all making their escape skyward along the intricate trelliswork.
Before heading back to the car, check out the plant nursery where visitors can purchase specimens of many of the plants seen in the gardens. Also the gift shop offers the discerning shopper a vast array of products from the natural world.
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