I love visiting Florida’s botanic gardens and I am happy to to finally have spent some time visiting McKee Botanical Gardens in Vero Beach. Just about 19 acres in size, this garden takes about an hour to explore.
Visiting McKee Botanical Gardens
When visiting McKee Botanical Gardens the first few steps include a walk through a lattice tunnel filled with tropical plants and vines and stepping out onto a great lawn with palms and ponds all around. This really sets the scene for McKee Gardens.
I was amazed by the water that flows throughout the entire garden. I have to admit that I am very slow in posting about this trip, as I actually visited back in April. I have a feeling that visiting McKee Botanical Gardens is probably a different experience in April as it would be in August– but aren’t all gardens that way?
McKee Gardens has established a tradition of hosting world class exhibitions each fall and winter. It makes sense that this time of year is most pleasant and allows for a beautiful gallery space.
Currently McKee Gardens is featuring ‘The Royals’ by artist Patrick Dougherty. This “stickworks” sculpture is a sight to behold. Intricately woven willow saplings form the amazing towers of the piece of art. I love how the willow was actually beginning to grow in these photos! This masterpiece will remain on-site at McKee until nature and time cause it to breakdown.
McKee Gardens are a success story in themselves. From their website “By 1976 the Gardens were forced to close, and the property was sold and zoned for development. All but 18 acres were developed into condominiums while the remaining land lay dormant for twenty years. In 1994, the Indian River Land Trust launched a fund- raising campaign and successfully purchased the property. An additional $9 million was raised to purchase, stabilize and restore the Garden, and in November 2001 a formal dedication ceremony was held for McKee Botanical Garden. “
Known as the “Sleeping Tree” this Bischofia javanica adds to the story of McKee. Toppled during Hurricane David in 1979, the tree was left in place due to the uncertainty of the gardens’ future. Over time, the tree rooted and began to grow. Once it was determined that McKee would be restored, it was too late to upright and was left to grow in its “sleeping” form.
Throughout the gardens, tropical plants show off in the protected location.
Air plants like these tillandsias are healthy and abundant. I love this iron sphere. It shows off the plants well and gives them great space to grow.