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Update on Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

A new Garden to Garden Disaster Response Center is now open and will allow for posts that Offer a Resource or to Post a Need. Gardens with available resources such as Expertise, Supplies, Equipment, Technology, or Labor will be able to share this with gardens in need. 

 

We will continuously provide updates daily on our member gardens that have been impacted.  See below for a list of our member gardens that have reported back to us on the damage they've incurred.

 

Images (top row, left to right): Montgomery Botanical Center, Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Peach County, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Images (bottom row, left to right): Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Bok Tower Gardens

 

Bok Tower Gardens (Lake Wales, FL):

Power is still currently down. In addition, the garden has lost 4 major trees and some big limbs, the greenhouse lost 20-30 panels, there is water intrusion in the tower library and archives, and a 6x8 foot window blew in causing some minor damage to the tile mosaic on the ground floor of the tower. 

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens (Jacksonville, FL):

The lower tier of all three formal garden spaces remained submerged for more than 24 hours, resulting in the uprooting of plants, detached railing along the river, broken lighting, pervasive salinization of the soil, large amounts of debris, and significant impact to much of the physical infrastructure, including drainage, electric, fencing, and the well that services the landscape. 

Key West Botanical Garden Society (Key West, FL): 

The garden sustained major wind damage throughout the 15 acres. The majority of the 81 year old tropical forest canopy is damaged. The loss of specimen, champion, legacy, tribute trees/plants is extensive with an assessment ongoing. Wind damage to entry gates and fencing are the only structural issues reported at this time. All large trees were either blown down or experienced extensive damage. Only about 2 acres of the grounds have limited access due to fallen limb/tree damage with the remainder areas listed dangerous and impassible. Fortunately, the Garden's Native Plant Nursery of 2000 native, threatened & endangered plants sustained little damage. Initial reports indicate the KWBGS will be closed for 6 months or more. Donations are being accepted to assist in the recovery efforts through the website at www.keywest.garden.  

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Sarasota, FL):

Initial reports indicate minimal damage with lots of debris and treefall to cleanup.  

Montgomery Botanical Center (Coral Gables, FL):

Substantial damage and loss to the plant collection, garden staff are working diligently to inventory the collection and see how much was lost.

Mounts Botanical Garden of Palm Beach County (West Palm Beach, FL):           

Reports indicate that 3-5% of their tree cover has been destroyed and 25% has been damaged. The MBG nursery also suffered damage to the roofs of their Mist House and their greenhouse suffered damage to the siding. It's estimated that they have have lost around 300 plants from that area, which is approximately ¼ of their inventory.

Naples Botanical Garden (Naples, FL):

The three phone pole-girth trees that welcome visitors to Kapnick Hall are all down. One of the largest trees in the cultivated area, a red kapok tree, is also down. In addition, a queensland bottle tree that weighs nearly 10,000-pounds was uprooted. Gary Bolvin, Director of Operations, says the main damage is to the legacy trees but that the garden had only suffered minimal damage to their boardwalks and buildings. In that regard, volunteers or staff largely will face the task of reinserting end plugs for its synthetic lumber boardwalks. The email server is currently down, volunteers are needed and should contact volunteers@naplesgarden.org or inquire via their temporary email for more information at NBGemployees@gmail.com

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens:

Naples Zoo has significant damage throughout the entire property. The Zoo will remain closed until further notice. There is extensive exhibit damage throughout the zoo and many animals are unable to go back on exhibit without significant repairs. The botanical gardens throughout the property have also suffered significant damage with the loss of many historical trees (some were nearly 100 years old) and plants. The entire property is covered in debris from trees and plants. The Zoo is still without power at this time. 

National Tropical Botanical Garden, The Kampong Garden (Coconut Grove, FL):

Tragically, the garden and its beloved living collection suffered significant damage. Many of the iconic trees were lost, and the garden staff is working to assess what can be done to save many of the palms, mangoes, and tropical plants. Cleanup and recovery will take months and will require a team of arborists, botanists and horticulturists.

Nehrling Gardens (Gotha, FL):

Many of Nehrling Gardens historic trees and plants in the 1880's National Register historic site and Florida Heritage site were damaged.  The Garden Team is meeting to carry out emergency safety and priority work plans. The garden is closed at the moment as they work to restore their nature trails. President Angela Withers says they lost 3 very large oak trees, one of Nehrling's original magnolias, and that there are dangerous "widow makers" high up in many of the remaining trees. Huge branches fell all over the grounds, crushing new plants that were recently added to the gardens. 

Peckerwood Garden (Hempstead, TX):

Initial reports from Peckerwood Garden are that the garden’s creek overflowed and flooded a quarter of the woodland but that flooding has now receded at the garden. 

Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens (St. Lucie, FL):

Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens weathered the storm remarkably well with minimal damage. There are a few downed trees (pines) and a number of ornamental trees that were partially uprooted by wind, which have now been straightened and secured. 

Mercer Botanic Gardens (Humble, TX):

Director Darren Duling says all buildings are probably a total loss, with people on the ground assessing plants for propagation and/or recovery efforts. All intents are to continue to rebuild with County support. 

Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center (Orange, TX):

The Shangri-La landscape has been flooded extensively. Executive Director Rick Lewandowski's home was affected, reportedly resulting in his relocation.

Sholom Park (Ocala, FL):

The park has no electricity to keep the well and septic system running, 20-25 trees were uprooted or nearly down, the formal garden fencing has damage, hanging limbs are numerous, debris from limbs and plant matter is strewn across the 44 acres. Plant beds were crushed by downed trees and/or limbs and will require replacement. 

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens (Miami, FL):

Power is still not restored. The beloved Tea House lost its wood trellis roof. The Marine Garden’s waterside location caused the storm surges to not only deposit muck and debris but also brought down a number of railings. The Marine Garden just reopened last year after having been closed to the public for nearly 25 years. 

Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens (Miami, FL):

Miami-Dade lost many large trees that have been there for over 35 years. Initial reports indicate it could be over 500 trees lost. The cleanup effort may take over two months. 

 

 

The following gardens have checked in with the Association and were unharmed:

Gardens of the Big Bend at University of Florida (Quincy, FL)

St. George Village Botanical Garden (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands)

Berne Davis Botanical Gardens (Fort Myers, FL)

 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, we are closely monitoring our member gardens in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and North and South Carolina who have recently been impacted by nature's destructive forces. These hurricanes have dealt devastating blows to unique and historic plant collections that are invaluable to the mission of conserving and inspiring the protection of plant biodiversity for future generations. As more damage and assessment reports come in, we continue to wish for the safety and security of all our member gardens inflicted and to aid them in their efforts to rebuild and reopen over the coming weeks.

 

Please direct any questions or inquiries to info@publicgardens.org.