December Edition 2013
December is always an exciting time of year. This month’s edition is filled with favorite photography locations from our talented contributors. The MiniMag would like to welcome David Stringer as our newest contributor. David and his beautiful wife Kim will share their love of nature and photography through David’s articles. Cheryl, Scott and I would like to wish everyone a very happy and safe holiday season filled with family, love and joy
There are still a few spots left on my Christmas Spectacular Workshop at Longwood Gardens December 6-8 and Lisa and Tom Cuchara’s Longwood at Night Workshop on the evening of the 8th. You can sign up for one or both.
One of My Favorite Places – Kanapaha Botanical Gardens by Cheryl Slechta
I decided to choose a spot close to home and one that I visit often. I think it is interesting that Anita and Barbara Sammons also chose places near their home (Barbara) or in their own yards (Anita). There is always the lure of far away places but I think there are places for all of us that are the most precious and are literally or figuratively in our own backyards. Perhaps it is because we know them so well as dear friends.
I remember Kanapaha Botanical Gardens (hereafter known as KBG) at its inception. In 1977, Don and Jordan Goodman leased 30 acres of land (cow pasture) in west Gainesville, Florida with the intention of starting a public garden. I was a member of the local bromeliad society at the time and all the local garden clubs pitched in and, starting from a bare patch of ground there evolved the formation of a dream the Goodmans had envisioned and worked so hard to bring to fruition. The property expanded to 62 acres and opened to the public in l987. Today KBG is the 2nd largest botanical gardens in Florida (after Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami). When I go there I always remember how bare it looked in 1977 and it seems impossible to imagine that it’s the same place. Don, Jordan and many, many hundreds of volunteers worked 7 days a week to create a garden that now has 24 major collections, including the state’s largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast.
There is a pond at the end of a wooded path that leads to Kanapaha Prairie and overlooks Kanapaha Lake. In the pond are incredible giant Victoria water lilies that are in their prime during the warm months. The word “Kanapaha” derives from the Timucua Indian words for “palmetto leaf” and “house”. They refer to the thatched
dwellings that were home to the original residents of a small Timucua village on the western shore of Lake Kanapaha. Walking beneath the huge oaks and winding down a path leading to the pond and overlook to the prairie and lake I can feel the presence of those earliest inhabitants. It is truly a magical part of the gardens.