2019 Spring Garden Tour

Part 1: Fairchild Tropical Garden + Picnic

The SFPS Spring Garden tour was awesome. It was a combined event with members of the Tropical Flowering Tree Society (TFTS) and the Palm Beach Palm and Cycad Society (PBPCS) joining in with the SFPS gang.

For Part 1, the group toured Fairchild Botanic Tropical garden, first by tram, and then more exploring by foot. We were really fortune to have Drs. Chad Husby, Horticulture Botanist and Brett Jestrow, Director of Collections leading the tour - the Garden's resident experts of the unique collection. Part 1 included a picnic lunch at Matheson Hammock Park.

For Part 2, we were invited to visit the amazingly beautiful gardens of Cindy Goldberg (PT 2a) and Bruce Brockhouse (PT 2b). A huge THANK YOU to Cindy and Bruce for allowing us to visit their beautiful gardens!

Putting together a garden tour would not have been possible without the help of all three societies and a special thanks goes to the behind the scenes efforts of Jessica Cabrera and Adam Pollack of TFTS, Ruth Lynch and Tracy Sutherland of PBPCS, and the board of the SFPS (and of course the volunteer table movers).  


Dr. Brett Jestrow stepping out of the tram car to share with us his vast knowledge of the garden.


You can never have enought palms!

Dr. Brett Jestrow, Director of Collections, Dr. Carl Lewis, Director of Fairchild Garden and Jeff Searles, rare palm grower and expert palm auctioneer at our holiday parties.

Inside the conservatory, lots of incredible palms, including Pelagoxa Henryana (top right) Johannesteijmannia perakensis on lower right, and poking up near the windows on top of the photo, the red crownshaft of a Sealing Wax palm (Cyrtostachys renda)

Licuala cordata looking real nice in the FTG conservatory.

Jorge Zaldivar and Leonel Mera, member IPS from Dominica Republic

Dr. Chad Husby explains the new plantings in the garden.


A walk through the rainforest, with our guides pointing out the new plantings


Nice Pritchardia pacifica (Fiji fan palm)



Dr. Brett Jestrow conducted a tour of the Montgomery Palmetum, which was followed by a gratuitous Ficus auriculata tasting by Dr. Chad Husby who shared this luscious fig with us. We owe the late Larry Schokman for reintroducing this Moraceae species from Bogor, Indonesia, back to the Kampong in 1994 as it was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Now, through the efforts of Dr. Husby and Dr. Jestrow, this Ficus is conserved and planted at both The Kampong, Dr. Fairchild's former home, and at FTBG. 

This fruit is native to and originates in the Himalayas to Southeast Asia and Southern China. It is commonly known as Roxburgh's fig, Elephant ear fig, and Indian big leaf fig, whose young leaves can be prepared as a vegetable. "The 2-inch, oblate (spheroid and flattened at the poles), red to brown pubescent fruit are borne in dense clusters at the base of the trunk." (Schokman, 2012) Which Dr. Jestrow is examining in the photo. Specific epithet auriculata means 'lobed like an ear'. 

The flowers of the fig are within the fruit or enclosure, referred to as the synconium. See Wikipedia link.

Finally, time for a picnic lunch!

We consumed freely!  Sandwiches, shrimp, cole slaw, potato salad, chicken salad, chips and deeelicious male and female brownies for dessert!

Much palm nerd fellowship and good conversation all around.

Everyone cleaned their plates.

Some came from as far away as Stuart!



Girls just wanna have fun!

Marilyn Fernandez, looking Lovely and gregarious in the white blouse, baked and brought the brownies.  Thanks, Marilyn!


Volunteers assembled picnic tables under the dappled shade of a cluster of oaks.  It was heaving lifting!  Many thanks to Julio Alvarez, Dave Farber, Rick Johnson, David Lord and Andrew Street for doing the hard work that made it all possible.