Mounts: Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County is located in West Palm Beach, Florida. The site was first used in 1954, not for a garden, but as a pasture for horses. The land wasn’t turned into some resemblance of the gardens you see today until 1980, at which time Clayton Hutcheson had a large part in its creation. The garden was officially named what it is today in 1986, in honor of Marvin U. Mounts.

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1.The Gardens

The Gardens
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In the Butterfly Garden, visitors can not only see around 12 different kinds of butterflies, but also the types of plants the butterflies use as food sources. What may look like weeds to us, are actually plants grown specifically for the butterflies and are the butterflies’ favorited food sources. A few of such weeds are the Tassel-flower, Beggar’s Tick, and Mistflower. There are also a variety of nectar plants around the garden, such as Tropical Sage, Firebush, Coral Honeysuckle, Mexican Petunia, Tampa Verbena, and Dune Sunflower.

Visitors to Mounts can find shade in the Tropical Forest. This shaded tropical garden provides a cooler area to explore, with the temperature sometimes being up to ten degrees less than gardens in the sun nearby. The lower temperatures are created by the dense foliage of bromeliads, ferns, orchids, and other tropical plants in a collection of different colors, textures, and sizes. The eye is naturally drawn upwards while exploring this garden, with spots of color working their way from the garden floor to the treetops.

The Mediterranean Garden features Mediterranean plants and those that can be used as substitutes that can survive in the area’s subtropical climate. With a large amount of architecture throughout Palm Beach County being of the Neo-Mediterranean style, a garden or landscape that matches if often desired. Unfortunately, much of plants from the Mediterranean do not survive in a subtropical climate. This garden demonstrates how visitors can have create a Mediterranean style garden that can survive the climate.

Visitors to the Rainbow Garden are greeted with a wide array of colors arranged by hue. The color spectrum is made possible by an extensive assortment of flowers and foliage. The plants in this garden demonstrate the variety of color of plants that grow well in the area.

Plants showcased in the Garden of Extremes grow best in extreme environments. The plants or materials here are typically unique to variety of extremes, such as a very low amount of moisture in soil, strong drying winds, and large amounts of light. These extreme conditions are often necessary for the plants to survive and thrive. Extreme conditions occur in Palm Beach County, albeit more so near the coast. The Garden of Extremes showcases plants that are able to grow well with a small amount of water, many can go weeks without being watered. Much of the collection of plants in this garden consists of cacti, conifers, and fleshy leaved plants. Most plants that thrive in extreme conditions need soil that is well drained.

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2.More Gardens

More Gardens
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The Tropical Foliage Border is also called the Gentlemen of the Garden/Eigelberger Border due to the Gentlemen of the Garden providing funds for the garden and being created by Bob Eigelberger in 2005. While many other landscapes are more formal in structure, the Tropical Foliage Border consists of two subtle curves. The dense assortment of bromeliads, ferns, begonias, succulents, and additional non-woody tropical plants gives the border a colorful display throughout the year.

The plants in the Edible Landscape are plants that you can eat, or at least parts of them, and are arranged in a fashion similar to that of a French Kitchen Garden. The variety of edible plants includes edible flowers, vegetables, tropical fruit trees, and herbs. One main feature of the garden is dooryard fruit trees. Dooryard trees are trees that are maintained to a small size to enable easier harvesting and care, as well to fit in smaller spaces. There has been an increase in visitors due in part to the “grow your own” trend.

The Florida Native Garden was created as a Native Plant Initiative. Located around the teaching and administrative buildings, this garden shows the large array of plants that are native to Florida. The native garden was designed by Robert Hopper and demonstrates a new, planned approach to showcasing native plants.

Cottage gardens were first started by English farmers around their homes as more informal and smaller gardens. These gardens have gradually appeared in different climates, adapting over time. The Tropical Cottage Garden actually features more temperate plants than many of the other gardens at the Mounts. The garden features a plethora of different annuals, perennials, and vines adorning trellises and arbors, creating a colorful little garden.

The Trial Garden at the Mounts Botanical Garden is used to evaluate how well different plants will grow in the average gardener’s landscape or garden. The garden is full of color throughout the year, with seasonal plants being switched out two times per year. A longer amount of time is spent evaluating non-seasonal plants.

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3.O’Keeffe Rain Garden & More

O’Keeffe Rain Garden & More
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The O’Keeffe Rain Garden, formerly a retention basin, is now an environmentally friendly watershed. The rain garden acts like a sponge, absorbing run off water in large amounts. It then cleans the water before it returns back into ground. The retention basin was replanted with plants found in Florida, specifically with plants that could handle occasional flooding as well as times with scarce amounts of water. These plants have the ability to filter, and at times, extract toxins from the water. The O’Keeffe Rain Garden demonstrates how the runoff water in the area can be improved.

The Garden of Well Being features plants that have the ability to improve our lives.

The Gazebo Garden provides visitors with a shaded place to rest during their visit. The spotted shade is created with by a variety of flowers and foliage. Many of the weddings at the Mounts Botanical Garden are held in the Gazebo Garden. Much of the shaded area is provided by five massive Black Olive Trees. Colorful orchids and ferns can be seen growing among the lower trunks of these trees.

The Begonia Garden is full of colorful begonias. Begonias are commonly found growing along river banks and near the edge of forests in tropical climates. The forests provide the filtered light and rich soil these plants prefer. In home gardens, begonias do best on screened patios or under trees. For visitors who would like to enjoy these plants at home, an ideal soil combination is that of composted mulch, leaf litter, and peat.

The plant display of the Rose and Fragrance Garden is appealing to both eyes and the nose. Colorful roses and tropical flowers offer a feast for the eyes, while the fragrances of said flowers and faintly perfumed leaves loft through the air providing a pleasant aromatic atmosphere.

The Zimmerman Color and Shade Garden’s purpose is to demonstrate just what the name suggests: growing colorful plants in a garden located in the shade. Color in this garden is displayed through diverse textures, flowers, and foliage. Begonias, ferns, and bromeliads are necessary to accomplish the goal of this garden. The garden is located on an island and the garden is purposely designed to be reproducible in home gardens.

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4.Nursery Guild

Nursery Guild
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Volunteers maintain a collection of various plants from Mounts available for visitors to purchase for their own gardens at home. Many of these plants for sale are difficult to find, thus providing a good value for visitors. There is a large array of plants available, but the Nursery Guild specializes in a handful, such as small trees, butterfly plants, herbs, salvia, and unique shrubs. These plants can be found for sale close to the front of the Garden Shop, near the main entrance.

Educational Programs

The Mounts Botanical Garden provides numerous different educational programs for children and adults alike. For adults, there are many different workshops, lectures, and classes focusing on an assortment of topics. Mounts also holds a Book Discussion Series on the second Tuesday of every month, during which participants can discuss a specific book about gardening or horticulture. This program is in partnership with the Palm Beach County Library. The Master Gardener Program provides education on home horticultural principles. On completion of the program, participants will receive a certification from the University of Florida as a Master Gardener.

Children can participate in a variety of programs of their own as well. The Garden Mice Adventures: Special Places and Magical Spaces offer kids an interactive way to explore the gardens. The program focuses on looking at and investigating the plants up close and using nature to design art. The Stories in the Garden program occurs once a month for part of the year. Young children can participate in interactive stories, songs, and learning activities while in the garden. Mounts also has programs such as its Nature Camps, 4-H, its Fall Family Festival, and programs for schools.

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531 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, Fl 33415, Phone: 561-233-1757

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Things to Do in West Palm Beach: Mounts