West Palm Beach Location of Interest: Mounts Botanical Garden
Palm Beach County’s Mounts Botanical Garden is a tropical oasis in the heart of the city. It’s Palm Beach County’s oldest and biggest public garden, with over 2,000 kinds of tropical and subtropical plants from six continents, including native Florida plants, exotic trees, tropical fruit, herbs, citrus and palms. Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service and the University of Florida collaborate on Mounts.
Plantings began soon after the Mounts Building was constructed and completed in 1954. After that, the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Director, Marvin Mounts, wanted to turn the surrounding three acres into a tropical fruit tree arboretum. Although this dream was never achieved, numerous tropical fruit trees were planted in its place, and a few of them are still around today.
In 1975, Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Director Clayton Hutcheson had a vision for the three acres around the Mounts Building, which housed the Extension Service, to be turned into a Horticultural Learning Center. Many local plant-focused groups and individuals helped launch this project in 1983, and it was quite effective.
In 1985, the Friends of Mounts Horticultural Learning Center and Palm Beach County created a public-private collaboration to create Today’s Garden. In 1985, the property’s size was increased by ten more acres, bringing the total to fourteen. Friends of Mounts Botanical Garden decided in 1986 to alter the name to Mounts Botanical Garden to better reflect the organization’s objective.
In 2004, the Friends provided a research grant to the University of Florida for the creation of a Master Plan to direct the Garden’s future growth. Hurricanes Frances, Jeanne, and Wilma wreaked havoc on the site in 2004 and 2005, decimating 70 percent of the mature forest canopy and practically destroying the original garden.
The Garden and the tree canopy have been restored since 2006 thanks to the efforts of the Friends and the County of Palm Beach.
The Blume Tropical Wetland Garden’s Windows on the Floating World formally opened on June 18th, 2017. Visitors to WGI’s Windows on the Floating World will get the sensation of “walking on water,” thanks to the work of artists Mags Harries and Lajos Héder and the landscape architecture division. Four “windows” planted with aquatics and changed out seasonally with botanical exhibitions growing from submerged pots may be seen within these paths.
In the spring of 2018, the Garden of Tranquility officially opened its doors. Stone, wood (bamboo), and living plant materials were used in an artistic Asian-inspired way to create this tranquil garden experience. Despite the fact that it mimics a Zen garden, the space isn’t supposed to be authentic or exclusively Japanese in nature.