February 20 – 25 – Naples Botanical Gardens

We’ve spent most of the week doing as little as possible.

However, on Wednesday, we went through the Naples Botanical Gardens

which has only been open to the public for the past two years.  Situated on 170 acres, past of which was formerly a strip mall and parking lot, these “Gardens with Latitude” have been developed into a beautiful preserve with flowers, shrubs and trees from native to a band between 26Oo North latitude (roughly the latitude of Naples) to 26o South latitude.

It has 2.5 miles of walking trails which meander through six cultivated and several uncultivated gardens and ponds, restored natural habitats, and around a 90 acre reforested preserve.

While there were few birds present in the main sections of the gardens, there were butterflies galore, including those in a special designed apiary.

Queen Butterfly

Pipevine Swallowfall Butterfly

Zebra Butterfly Emerging from its Cocoon

Monarch Butterfly

Julia Butterfly

While walking around the preserve, we did see a number of Ibis, Rosette Spoonbills, Herons and Egrets … although at a distance too far to take decent pictures.  However we did have a chance to watch a trio of American Coots

feasting on pond plants.

There were also some [as yet unidentified] spiders who had woven their webs between the leaves of many of the flowering shrubs.

But, the diverse flora, with its variety colors, textures and origins, was the main attraction.

Queen Emma's Cirnum

Dutchman's Pipe

One of Several Species of Bromeliads

Queen Anne's Crinum

Canna

African Iris

Florida Flame Vine

Shaving Brush

Spotted Beebaums

Queen Anne's Wreath

Powder Puff

Pointsettia (12" across)

Neoregelia

Flaming Glorybower

Buttercup

Sorrowless

There were also any number of species of trees with unique and interesting trunks, barks and/or fruits.

Common Screwpine

Cohune Palme

Cohune Palme Nuts (from which oil can be extracted)

Floss Silk

Floss Silk Spikes or Thorns (and they're very hard and sharp!)

And there are the water gardens with white, pink, red, purple, blue and other colored tropical water lilies.

On Friday it was sunny, not a cloud in the sky, temperature in the low 80os and a cooling breeze!

It’s going to be a real shock to our systems when we begin our slow trek back north next Wednesday morning!

Saturday morning we woke to an unusually thick fog.

However the day’s highlight was a 15 mile bike ride through one of the area’s larger residential developments and golf course complexes with a couple from Newfoundland with whom we’ve become good friends and their son.

Some of the homes a truly spectacular!  Leaving the development, we biked around large pond where we saw …

Great Blue Heron

Snowy Egret

Buckey Butterfly

And, oh yes … another couple of

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