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.
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.
A view to the northwest from within Dun Aonghasa in springtime. The interior a karst formation (see my post, ” Galway Bay View from Dún Aonghasa”), the grikes filled with grass and a sprinkling of white and yellow flowers, a cloudscape rising over the walls. Inishmore, Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland.
The exposed limestone of the Aran Islands here transitions to a fertile field of grass, husbanded by generations of islanders. Photograph was taken from the path on Inishmore leading up to Dun Aonghasa.
The Aran Islands are an extension of The Burren of Ireland’s Counties Claire and Galway. The word burren is from the Irish Boireann, meaning “great rock.” The glaciers that covered Ireland, retreating about 10,000 years ago, scraped down to the bedrock, exposing wide areas of limestone and dropping, here and there, large rocks. When people came along the foreign nature of the large rocks was recognized, all the more obvious for lying on the horizontally bedded, exposed limestone. We call the foreign rocks erratics. The underlying scoured rock is a pavement for a resemblance to a cobbled roadway.
The incised line, filled with grass and wildflowers, in the following photograph is called a gryke. The body of stone between the grykes are clints. Sometimes, the grykes are cross hatched and the clints resemble cobblestones or flat paving stones.
The view is northeast toward the 12 Bens of Connemara. Inishmore, Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland
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.
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..
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.
Modern stonework borders the 1/2 mile path to the inner Dún Aonghasa walls, keeping tourists off delicate plants, maintaining the integrity of this ancient site.
The view north, northwest over the walled path to Dun Aonghasa (Dun Aengus) looking across karst landscape, walled fields, farms, the North Atlantic Ocean, coast of Connemara and the 12 Bens (12 Pins) mountains. Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland.