Tower of Glass reprise

A selection of photographs from our January 2019 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

I found three more photographs of “Tower…”

Tower is on permanent load from Frabel Art Foundation. In the late 1970s, glass sculptor Hans Godo Frabel created a small series of abstract sculptures of spheres connected to rods, forming unique clear shapes that render a beautiful play with light. This piece, entitled Tower, is a larger version of Frabel’s 1979 Tower of Babel.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, “Triceratops, one of the last.

References: text is from the park placard with minor edits.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

“Grabbing Some Peace” and “Gotcha”

A selection of photographs from our January 2019 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

Sunday, January 13th, 2019 Pam and I met grandchildren Soraya and Taj at McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach for the day. Pam had found the gardens as a suitable “half-way point” meeting place between Cocoa Beach, our winter haven, and Jupiter were the grandchildren lived. The meeting turned out as an inflection point in for us and the featured Artist.

As you can infer from his “dates”, John Seward Johnson II (April 16, 1930 – March 10, 2020) passed away the next year. Best known as “Seward Johnson”, he was a grandson of Robert Wood Johnson I, the co-founder of Johnson & Johnson, and of Colonel Thomas Melville Dill of Bermuda, Mr Johnson was an American artist who created trompe-l’œil painted bronze statues. He designed life-size bronze statues that were castings of living people, depicting them engaged in day-to-day activities.

A large staff of technicians did the fabrication of the works he designed. Computers and digital technology often were used in the manufacturing process.

Sometimes the manufacture was contracted in China. He was the founder of “Grounds For Sculpture”, a 42-acre sculpture park and museum located in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey.

After this both Soraya and Taj’s moved on in their lives, branching out from their Jupiter, Florida roots. Both stay in touch.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Protoceratops, a caring parent (?)

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Tower of Glass

A selection of photographs from our January 2019 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

Tower is on permanent load from Frabel Art Foundation. In the late 1970s, glass sculptor Hans Godo Frabel created a small series of abstract sculptures of spheres connected to rods, forming unique clear shapes that render a beautiful play with light. This piece, entitled Tower, is a larger version of Frabel’s 1979 Tower of Babel.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Neovenator, teeth like steak knives

References: text is from the park placard with minor edits.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Memorial Mushroom

A selection of photographs from our February 2022 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

In Memory of Elsebeth (1889-1996) and Waldo Sexton (1885-1967) from their family (2018). This is a replica of one created in the original McKee Jungle Gardens, circa 1953. The original Giant Mushroom still stands in what is now Vista Gardens, approximately 1/3 mjile northeast of this spot.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Neovenator, teeth like steak knives

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

When is a folly not a mistake?

A selection of photographs from our February 2022 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

This wrought iron and stone structure takes it inspiration from the faux ruins that sprung up in European gardens in the 18th century. These fabricated remnants of castles, temples and gates were constructed to look as though a historic or classical structure once had stood on that spot. They were named follies because they had not purpose other than ornamentation. McKee’s Folly evokes its own noteworthy history, as it welcomes visitors and vines.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Neovenator, teeth like steak knives

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Grand Stickwork

A selection of photographs from our February 2022 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

Grand Central is an artistic project adjacent to the Royal Palm avenue. Look at the photograph of the signage for more information about this project

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Neovenator, teeth like steak knives

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Botanic Royality

A selection of photographs from our February 2022 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

Royal Palm grove (Roystonea elata) in honor of Dianne and Jacob Brown and Mary and Stephen Keating. This grove of Roy Palms was planted in 2002 to commemorate one of the best loved features of the old McKee Jungle Garden. Royal Palms are native to Florida, Cuba and Honduras. They are among the tallest palms in the world.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Amargasaurus, a “small” sauropod.

References: text is from the park placard with minor edits.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Mystery hole in the ground

A selection of photographs from our February 2022 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

The holes are land crab burrow entrances. The burrows are often several feet deep. These crabs are often blue in color and they eat leaves, fruits and berries. They are very shy, but if you stand still they may make an appearance..

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Baellynasaura, “Big Eyes

References: text is from the park placard with minor edits.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Fishy Business

A selection of photographs from our February 2022 visit to McKee Botanical Gardens, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida

Beginning in 2018, McKee Botanical Garden had an opportunity to work with the US Geological survey to inform our visitors about what a healthy native fish population is. Countless human hours went into a fish population program within McKee’s 800,000-gallon waterway system, including the pond you are now looking at. Our efforts were successful and the established populations of non-native, invasive cichlids were eradicated. While we did lose some fish during the project, McKee’s waterways are now thriving with diverse Florida native fish.

Click me for a dinosaur at McKee Gardens, Neovenator, teeth like steak knives

References: text is from the park placard with minor edits.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Feeding Frenzy

Nine videos taken the same morning, February 5, 2022

A multi-day hatch of small fry around the time of a new moon triggered this Black Skimmers (scientific name: Rynchops niger) feeding behavior surf off Cocoa Beach, Brevard County on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

Copyright 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved