2019 Fall Garden Tour

Part 1: Patch of Heaven Sanctuary

 

On September 28, 2019 the SFPS visited two really hidden gems, the Patch of Heaven Sanctuary and the Walton House, in Homestead, Florida. Although these incredible gardens have been in existence many years, somehow they don't quite attract big crowds. Perhaps this is for the better.

The Patch of Heaven is non-profit garden, open to the public. From their website, their objectives are conservation, reforestation and education. They state,"Experience old growth tropical hammocks, peaceful paths, historic structures and native habitat. We invite you to enjoy this special place. Please join us in preserving and expanding the forest, and protecting the local wildlife for the benefit of all." The Miami New Times, calls it "a serene haven that seeks to preserve tropical hardwood hammocks and create new habitats for native wildlife." See link.

The image below is from the Patch of Heaven Sanctuary website, but our members can definitely testify that pond looks just like this. The waterfalls begin in the foliage above this image.

The co-founder of the Sanctuary is Bruce Chesney.

SFPS President Elvis Cruz presented to Fred Hubbard, Director of Patch of Heaven, a SFPS lifetime membership certificate.

 

The Patch of Heaven is an eclectic mix of beautiful landscapes and art.

Roberto Del Cid, director of horticulture is shown on the left side. As he is responsible for the sanctuary, he shared some of his knowledge with the group. He was a great guide.

 

This is the bat house. It is one of the important environmental efforts of the sanctuary. Hopefully, they will be able to overcome the many myths of bats, and bring public awareness of the vital role bats play in our ecosystem.

 

Another view of the bat house. Note the blue bat room to the right of the bat house.

 

The owners are not religious but obvious liked oriental art. The Buddha sculture was surrounded by a circular pond filled with goldfish.

 

The sculptures seem to fit in perfectly with its surroundings.

Throughout the landscape, there were many beautiful palms, however the narrow paths made taking photos of the tall palms difficult.

The sky is barely able to poke through the banana and cecropia trees. The garden has many cacao trees also.

Branches are still growing out of a fallen tree.

 

Native yellow water lilies bloom even in fairly shady conditions.

 

In front of the koi pond, Roberto explains the challenges of landscaping in extremely flat south Florida, where it is necessary to construct garden features by excavating the limestone rock below the water table. The koi pond is at the level of the water table. There is an element of discovery to the Sanctuary as one descends down to the pond. The koi and blue cichlids were gorgeous. The pond was fed by a dozen or more narrow waterfalls. Right here, I believe the garden is living up to its namesake, Patch of Heaven.

 

I believe there is a palm tree somewhere under these vanda orchids. It was proof that orchids will bloom without continuous spraying of fertilizer.

These hand painted tiles of spices in the main house were particularly attractive and unique.

A Komodo dragon stands watch by a stream filled with fish runs through the house.

Roberto explained to us some special challenges of the recovering from hurricane Irma.

The tour continued to the Walton House, where we had lunch and a second garden tour.