Saturday, July 20, 2013

Mounts Botanical Garden - Tropical Fruit Festival part deux

Well friends, Mounts Botanical Garden's Tropical Fruit Festival in West Palm Beach has come and gone BUT I have pictures!  This post may be a little long but I just had to share so I hope you stick around :)  To be honest, I was disappointed with how small a venue it was.  I guess I was expecting a bit bigger fare with more vendors and more variety of things to eat and taste.  The exceptional reggae musicians could be heard throughout the park but when I finally found them, I was very surprised to see they were tucked away in some remote area.  Why not front and center so people could dance or near the vendors so we could hangout to watch them?  

Anywhoo... despite the sweltering humid hot day (I forgot my hand fan but brought my floppy hat) and my little mental festival quirks, hundreds of people showed up bringing great spirits and the gardens were absolutely gorgeous.  It was my first time there, so I strolled along the pathways, hanging back from any groups passing by to get some alone time in the well thought out nooks and crannies of the gardens' vignettes.  A total must see when you are in the area!

I have to say I really enjoyed my day.   Enough with my blabber mouth and on with the pictures.  Hopefully the folks at Mounts will put on their creative thinking hats to make for an even better festival next year!
One of the meandering pathways to walk through
Hmmm, I wonder where this leads to, let's go
Some of the vendors selling plants, delicious
libations & treats.
Very nicely thought out planter beds with lots
of variation & variegated plants.
One of many water features throughout the gardens
A better view of the bromeliads on the rock bank
Love these planters, alocasia 'lutea' & stilt root palm
Alocasia's & begonia's
Very cool color combination of purple &
orange - sword fern, purple potato vine,
bromeliad, crossandra & buddha belly bamboo.
This area was predominately all yellow's - yellow
striped century plant (agave), thryallis, bush daisy,
white pentas & white angelonias.
Buddha sitting in Buddha belly bamboo hammock.
Beautiful ferns cascading along the walkway.
A multitudinous of color - cordyline varieties,
bromeliad varieties, crotons & Buddha belly bamboo.
An incredibly striking croton variety I think the
variety is called 'ADF'?
One of the many gorgeous water features throughout
the gardens- pine trees, water lilies, saw palmetto palms,
cypress trees, coconut palms.
Another water feature view - giant flag iris,
alocasia 'california', water lilies, palms, crepe
myrtle, bromeliads.
Another colorful arrangement in a planter bed - cordyline
'exotica', acalypha 'java white', caladium varieties
A cool place to catch a moment of relaxation
and contemplation.
Beautiful succulent planter, just wish it were sitting
a bit higher for better admiration of it.
This area is a pretty neat idea of recreating an
underwater coral reef but with succulent plants.
The color green was so super saturated here it was
hard to capture it, but you get the idea, lol.
Another view of this incredible emerald green fern
forest area, the temp was much cooler in here.
A gorgeous teddy bear palm (dypsis leptocheilos)
Queen Emma crinum lilies, bromeliads, crotons.
This unique palm is the old man palm 
(coccothrinax crinita) for it's bristly bearded trunk.
Seems like a classic view here, folks strolling
along the pathways & enjoying the view.
This is definitely a picturesque view of a more
manicured twist on classic Florida flora & fauna.
The ponytail palm always reminds me of the Dr. Seuss
books I read as a child, this one is about 30ft high.
Roxburgh's fig tree loaded with lots of figs, oh I
wish I was bold enough to have tasted a few
After my time at the garden, I decided to drive through the neighborhoods in West Palm Beach where my Dad grew up.  My Mom moved down from Massachusetts when she was in junior high school.  My Dad's house off Federal Hwy & Southern Blvd is still there.  It looks like someone did a great job renovating this 2-story Spanish's for sale by the way.  The neighborhood seems to be doing well with lots of neat antique shops and cool eccentric boutiques.  Then I drove up to Riviera Beach where my Mom's parents used to own a motel and a couple of houses.  The motel has long since been torn down along with quite a few other places I remember as a kid.  The neighborhood is definitely struggling with many buildings vacant and store fronts closed down.  It's such a shame the drug culture has to ruin everything it touches.  Where my grandparents house use to be is now a vacant lot, along with many other of my grandparent's friends homes.  Most of the area has been bought out marina folks and boat companies, makes sense since it's prime real estate right on the water with Peanut & Singer Island in view.  Ah the memories of back then, hanging out at the marinas, fishing (then selling out catch to Acme Fish Company for some pocket change) and swimming to Peanut Island (I hear it's some kind of park now) from the docks.  What was it the dock hands affectionately called us...wharf rats, lol.  Another place we used to visit every time we came to Memere & Pop Pop's house...Sea Shell City...and it's still there!  As kids, we had never seen anything like it.  It was the most intriguing and magically captivating store to us with it's orange blossom perfume, it's coconut shell monkey sculptures, shells from around the world, stuffed puffer fish with googly eyes, uniquely made things hanging all over the store.  Our parents thought it was touristy garbage but we begged to differ.....ah good times indeed!
My Dad's house in West Palm Beach where he grew up...looks nicely renovated.
One of my Mom's houses in Riviera Beach
is now a vacant lot.
Here is a picture of what it looked like in the 70's,
it was a tiny thing but they were quite the gardeners.
This is the inside of Sea Shell City, I just love
this crazy place!
Another view of inside Sea Shell City, yes
I definitely made some purchases, lol.
Inside Sea Shell City
Yes it's a bit touristy but everyone needs at
least a few touristy items in their lifetime.
This place used to be a bit larger with lots of shell
bins outside but at least it's still the original owners.
Hope you stuck around long enough to read this & if so I say thank you my friend!
Wishing y'all a most wonderful weekend!
Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,



  1. Sorry for the heat and humidity but it really a very impressive botanical garden! The water features, crotons, cordylines and ferns caught my attention. TQ for the showing the pics. I had a good tour :-D Oh that Sea Shell City... it looks like a place I can spend many hours there hehe... cheers, Stephanie

    1. Hi Stephanie, yes despite the boogie-hot weather (luckily there were no mosquitoes, lol) it is really worth a trip to visit if ever in West Palm Beach. Though since you are in Malaysia I am glad you took the virtual trip, hee hee. Sea Shell City is just such a fabulous little touristy boutique and yes I think I was easily there for an hour or so :) Thank you so much for the visit and so glad you liked it! Wishing you a wonderful week.

      Best wishes,

  2. Ok, this is my next project for the second half of this year. Sheri, I'm planning to create a botanical garden here in Chicago and I want the majority of my garden's composition is saw palmetto. Is it advisable to do this one? Since I'm also planning to harvest some of it's berries to create something like this saw palmetto which I read from the article in Chicago.

  3. Hi Diana, sounds like you have a real project on your hands! I believe the saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) is cold hardy to zone 7, unlike the windmill palm that can grow up to zone 5. I guess if you live in southern Illinois you may have a better chance of it surviving outdoors though have never heard of it that far north. Saw palmetto's are very hardy and notoriously slow growers which is why they can live for hundreds of years. If it is within your botanical budget I would buy a few, put them in the ground now so they can get acclimated before the frost and see how they do this winter. Would love to hear how they do!

    I looked at the article you referred to and have to say it is very interesting, as I have never heard of it's "healing" properties. Though I know that the Seminole, Timucua, Miccosukee and other Florida natives have been eating the berries for thousands of years. So I researched it a bit and yes, the saw palmetto is being used in the medical field for all kinds of things, who knew, lol. Good luck with your garden and please keep us posted!

    Best wishes,