Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beautiful Shades of Green

Tracy Magellon

Last week, I got a private tour of the The Montgomery Botanical Garden led by Tracy Magellon, Funding and Communications Director. The secluded garden is an incredibly beautiful property with 120 acres of mostly cycads and palms nestled quietly next door to Fairchild Tropical Gardens. Once you pass through the tall iron gates on Old Cutler Road, you will step into old Florida at its finest. The property has a guest cottage and a meeting space that looks over a tree lined lagoon. You won't see lots of bright color and flowers, but you will see beauty in tranquil shades of green like nowhere else.

Judy Kay, Seed Bank Coordinator

They are very busy on the property doing research, specimen collecting, propagating and finally seed collecting. Once they collect the seeds, they sell the seeds online to nurseries as a way of conservation. They believe that if the seeds are available to purchase from a local nursery people are less likely to poach the plants from the wild.

South African Cycad - Encephalarotos Ferox

I alway thought Montgomery was a private research facility that was closed to visitors, but no, they love visitors! All you have to do is call for an appointment and you can have a private tour too. With only 20 staff members, they are not set up to handle large crowds of people. However, they will schedule time if you call and ask. If you love nature, like me, this is an opportunity not to miss.

Nancy Martini

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