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Show #18/4805. Flora And Fauna Of Beach And Intercostal

Introduction
KAREN BEARD IS THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE BONNET HOUSE, thus is in charge of protecting the flora and fauna on the property. Karen talks about the eco system here, then and now. The dunes naturally occur to provide a certain amount of protection for the interior of the property. The beach, then dunes, which make up the primary dune, gently slope up to the coastal hammock and all help protect the property from the ocean, the salt spray and the wind. Of course, elsewhere that has all changed since they graded the road for the highway. At the beach one sees sea oats and things like that but moving towards the hammock one starts to see plants like sea grapes, some larger trees as well as some understory plants.

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Intercoastal
ONCE AT THE TOP ONE CAN SEE THE OTHER SIDE AND THE INTERCOASTAL. This is the only property that is bound by the beach or ocean on one side and the intercoastal on the other side. And there is a small beach on the intercoastal. In fact, the beach on the intercoastal side of this property is the only remaining natural beach on the intercoastal waterway in Ft. Lauderdale. The intercoastal is part of a naturally occurring fresh water system. This was the new river sound. It has been widened and dredged down but the Bartletts in their day entered the property from the intercoastal. It has always existed as a barrier between the Barrier Islands and the mainland. The plants growing here are different from the ocean side. There are many things that only grow on this side of the property. The most important is the Mangrove, which is a protected tree. And there are 3 types of Mangrove.

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Courtyard
WE NOW LOOK AT THE COURTYARD AREA of the house which is in the middle of the property. It feels like it could be in any tropical part of the world. The courtyard was very important to the design on the main house which is a plantation style home. Every room opens onto the courtyard, thus it was the central focal point. Mr. Bartlett designed it that way and it provides even more protection from the beach and other areas of the property. It provided the Bartlett's a very serene space. The courtyard has a lot of green plants, which are a nice contrast to the colors Bartlett painted the house and the beautiful artwork that covers the walls. There are a number of tropical plants that grow here all year round.

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Experimental Grove
HERE THERE IS AN EXPERIMENTAL GROVE which was begun by Hugh Taylor Birch. He brought in many plants from around the world, in an attempt at finding things that would grow in south Florida. The Mangifera indica Mango tree was one he planted. These are very old trees and were planted on the ridge because of its high elevation and because this area had good drainage. It turns out that Mangoes grow well in Florida.

Click here for more info

Orchids
MRS. BARTLETT HAD ANOTHER FAVORITE AND THOSE WERE HER ORCHIDS. We look at some in one of her greenhouses. It is part of a small building that was built in 1938 so she could showcase the Orchids that she had in bloom. The building also was an area to showcase her shells, because she was also a collector of shells. It also has a small bamboo bar where her guests would enjoy their Rangpur Lime cocktail. This greenhouse has a number of varieties of Orchids. The Vanda are large plants that want to grow in open boxes and things of that nature or in trees. They have beautiful colored blooms and there are many varieties and sizes. The Dendrobiums are generally grown in pots and need quite a bit of shade.

Click here for more info


Take Away
TODAY ORCHIDS CAN BE FOR EVERYONE. Although most of us can't grow Mangoes or Avocados or some of the other plants we're looked at, most everyone can grow or enjoy Orchids. Today they're readily available and there are thousands of species and it's believed there are thousands that have yet to be been discovered. Considering the way they're propagated today and the many places they're sold there is no reason we all shouldn't be growing Orchids.

Click here for more info

 

LINKS:

Show #18/4805. Flora And Fauna Of Beach And Intercostal

Complete transcript of the show.

We all love to vacation at the beach. The house we visit today has gardens from the ocean to the intercoastal. The lessons in between are invaluable. A1A is a busy thoroughfare that goes right through Ft. Lauderdale. On one side there are miles and miles of beach, the other side is lined with condos, high-rises and restaurants. That is, until one comes up to 700 feet of wilderness. What is behind all those trees? Linda Schaller, Director of Education and Volunteer Programs for the Bonnet House clues us in. It all started in 1893 when a man named Hugh Taylor Birch decided he wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago. He came as far south as he could on Flagler's railroad, which at that point came about midway through the state of Florida. He then rented a boat and came to what is now called Ft. Lauderdale. He found that the further south he came the happier he was because fewer and fewer people were living here. He purchased 3 miles of oceanfront property in 1893 for under a dollar an acre. At one time this was a barrier island. Birch's daughter married an artist, named Fredrick Clay Bartlett who had grown up in Chicago. As as wedding gift they were given 35 acres to build a rustic winter beach house, which is today fondly called Bonnet House. Bartlett and his wife only stayed here several months out of the year. This today is the last of the preserved beachfront property. It has been in private hands since 1893, thus features many native plants that aren't seen elsewhere. They don't grow well in condos.

KAREN BEARD IS THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE BONNET HOUSE, thus is in charge of protecting the flora and fauna on the property. Karen talks about the eco system here, then and now. The dunes naturally occur to provide a certain amount of protection for the interior of the property. The beach, then dunes, which make up the primary dune, gently slope up to the coastal hammock and all help protect the property from the ocean, the salt spray and the wind. Of course, elsewhere that has all changed since they graded the road for the highway. At the beach one sees sea oats and things like that but moving towards the hammock one starts to see plants like sea grapes, some larger trees as well as some understory plants. Barely 100 feet from the previous point which was close to the beach it feels like one has been transported miles away. This is the area between the primary dune and the secondary dune. In this area there is a naturally occurring fresh water slough. The slough has no inlet and no outlet. These sloughs were once connected and comprised 9 miles of lake system but have essentially been filled in because of development. The sloughs are an important element on the property. They contain naturally occurring ground water and provide a source of fresh water for the wildlife that lives here. It is know that in early times ships would anchor offshore and send people in to collect this fresh water. This water is tested today and amazingly it is pure, fresh water because it is filtered down through the limestone of the dunes. It's an important feature on the property and helps protect the wildlife.

There are plants growing in the sloughs or lagoons. Nuphar capensis Spadderdock a common lily grows in fresh water here in Florida and is actually the genesis of the name Bonnet House. When these fresh water sloughs connected with other fresh water bodies there were alligators in them. The story goes that an alligator came up under one of the Lilies that was in bloom and it looked like a bonnet, hence it has been called Bonnet House. There are Roystonea elataa, Royal palm growing along the bank. This is where one starts to see the landscape architecture at work. The Bartletts wanted to enhance the fresh water sloughs, thus had the Royal Palms planted along the slough.
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Intercoastal Many people have an impression of Florida as being tabletop flat. That's actually not the case. It has slight elevation and the elevation is very significant to the area. Joe and Karen are actually walking up the secondary dune which is where the main house was built. They built it there because it is 14 feet above sea level. In addition to providing a safe place for their home it also gave them the opportunity to plant other trees and plants that would not grow in the coastal hammock. The secondary dune provides another layer of protection against the wind, salt and spray. ONCE AT THE TOP ONE CAN SEE THE OTHER SIDE AND THE INTERCOASTAL. This is the only property that is bound by the beach or ocean on one side and the intercoastal on the other side. And there is a small beach on the intercoastal. In fact, the beach on the intercoastal side of this property is the only remaining natural beach on the intercoastal waterway in Ft. Lauderdale. The intercoastal is part of a naturally occurring fresh water system. This was the new river sound. It has been widened and dredged down but the Bartletts in their day entered the property from the intercoastal. It has always existed as a barrier between the Barrier Islands and the mainland. The plants growing here are different from the ocean side. There are many things that only grow on this side of the property. The most important is the Mangrove, which is a protected tree. And there are 3 types of Mangrove. One is the Rhizophora mangle 'Red Mangrove' which sends down long aerial fingers or roots into the edge of the landmass. Behind them are the Laguncularia racemosa 'White Mangrove' which has a whiter leaf. The Avicennia germinans 'Black Mangrove' has a fuzzy back on its leaf. All 3 provide protection not only for the island that's here but also attract more landmass because the sediment and vegetation fills in underneath. They're also the nursery for all the sport fish in the area. Thus all the sport fish one catches in the area, started their lives in the Mangroves. Mangroves are also valuable in a storm. If one gets caught in a storm and the seas get rough, tie up in the Mangroves. They're solid, they're not going anywhere.
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Courtyard We have looked from the ocean to the intercoastal, WE NOW LOOK AT THE COURTYARD AREA of the house which is in the middle of the property. It feels like it could be in any tropical part of the world. The courtyard was very important to the design on the main house which is a plantation style home. Every room opens onto the courtyard, thus it was the central focal point. Mr. Bartlett designed it that way and it provides even more protection from the beach and other areas of the property. It provided the Bartlett's a very serene space. The courtyard has a lot of green plants, which are a nice contrast to the colors Bartlett painted the house and the beautiful artwork that covers the walls. There are a number of tropical plants that grow here all year round. In many other areas of the country these would be considered an annual or houseplant. The Gardenia augusta is a favorite plant around the country. It's incredibly fragrant and most likely why it was placed in the center of the courtyard because the fragrance circulates around the outdoor room. Today they are available in varieties that grow easily in containers. They're prolific bloomers. Another plant is the Pachystachys lutea 'Shrimp plant.' These flowers are yellow but there is also a red variety. The flowers look like shrimp, they grow year round here and provide a nice contrast with the green leaves. The artwork on the walls provides a tremendous contrast to the plants. They also have some stunning hardscape elements mixed in. There is an aviary and a wonderful fountain which not is only beautiful but sounds great. It is truly a paradise within these walls. The Bartlett's dined in the courtyard frequently, this is where they normally had their breakfast and lunch. There were Damasol Cranes that would wander the courtyard and they would feed them tidbits from their meal. The Jatropha integerrima Peregrina tree was planted as an attractor for butterflies and hummingbirds. It was very pleasant to have a meal, watch the wildlife and enjoy the plants.

Bartlett also framed the opening with red glowers which is a great contrast to what he's done with the colors of the house - the yellow awning, the pink trim, blue accents, the reds look great against all of them. He has also limbed up the Jatropha trees adding to the framing. They are architecturally stunning, plus they attract butterflies. Everything is a great looking, the area is most inviting.

Acalypha hispida Chenille Plant is primarily a houseplant. There is a larger bush that has larger Chanelles but this is planted in a pot and provides a great contrast with the green Loriapy planted underneath. Both do well in this protected courtyard area. It's simple and in one container. The Chenille could be planted in the container by itself but the Loriapy provides a great contrast. They have similar containers with the same plants located on each quarter as one moves through the courtyard in a circular pattern. Positioned in this manner they seem to mark the entry and exit points. It's very simple, but does a nice job of breaking up and punctuating the area. Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum Croton grows well in south Florida year round. It provides a lot of nice color without a flower. There are many varieties of Crotons and they have all sorts of colorings. Crotons provide a real focal point and draw the eye, because of its color. There are many varieties of this plant today and it is readily available around the country. It does need very warm temperatures in order to survive so if you're not in a warm area it's a great houseplant. Keep it protected, if not in the south.

Zamia furfuracea Cardboard Cycad are interesting plants and great at framing the entryway or walkway. It's not a groundcover, it's not a tall tree but it's a nice height around a walkway. They feel like thin pieces of cardboard. They're an ancient plant, a member of the Cycad family and are perfect in areas where one has less rainfall. Thus it's a great xeriscape plant. It has a nice shape and frames things well.

Clerodendrum quadriloculare Starburst Shrub is a great looking plant. The upper side of the leaf is green, the underside is purple. It's a beautiful plant even when it's not in bloom. it blooms in the wintertime and is very easy to grow in this area. It needs full sun in order to bloom but it makes a nice color statement and a nice contrast to the rest of the landscape. It has nice height to it and can be underplanted. It's a member of the Caladium family.
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Experimental Grove Joe and Karen move outside the courtyard and down the secondary dune towards the intercoastal. HERE THERE IS AN EXPERIMENTAL GROVE which was begun by Hugh Taylor Birch. He brought in many plants from around the world, in an attempt at finding things that would grow in south Florida. The Mangifera indica Mango tree was one he planted. These are very old trees and were planted on the ridge because of its high elevation and because this area had good drainage. It turns out that Mangoes grow well in Florida. The Mango industry can probably thank Hugh Taylor Birch for getting Mangos started in south Florida.

Manilkara zapota Sapadillo is a native to the West Indies and is another of the trees Birch planted in his experimental grove. It looks like a Pear or Kiwi, is about the same size, but the fruit tastes like a pear with brown sugar. It is a very important crop in the islands and grows well here.

Persea americana Avocado tree is another example. These have had some storm damage but are making a nice recovery. They're normally 30 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Avocados grown in south Florida are much larger than the ones with brown skin grown in California. These will grow up to 2 or 3 times as large. And they have firmer flesh thus many prefer the Florida Avocado.

Citrus X limonia Osbeck Rangpur Lime is another experimental tree planted here. It's from India. The fruit looks like a Tangerine or Orange and Mrs. Bartlett loved this fruit. She would make her signature cocktail, a Rangpur Lime cocktail with these limes. It's become popular today, the flavor is being used in a lot of distilled spirits.
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Orchids MRS. BARTLETT HAD ANOTHER FAVORITE AND THOSE WERE HER ORCHIDS. We look at some in one of her greenhouses. It is part of a small building that was built in 1938 so she could showcase the Orchids that she had in bloom. The building also was an area to showcase her shells, because she was also a collector of shells. It also has a small bamboo bar where her guests would enjoy their Rangpur Lime cocktail. This greenhouse has a number of varieties of Orchids. The Vanda are large plants that want to grow in open boxes and things of that nature or in trees. They have beautiful colored blooms and there are many varieties and sizes. The Dendrobiums are generally grown in pots and need quite a bit of shade. Oncidiums, one is called Sugar Baby, has a wonderful fragrance and comes in a number of colors. Another, Oncidium is a very old Orchid. One is probably close to 100 years old. Cattleya is the common corsage Orchid and beautiful. In her day Mrs. Bartlett would have gone to an Orchid specialist, someone who specialized in selling Orchids, to purchase these types of Orchids. She would buy small plants, put them in her greenhouses and wait for them to come into bloom. Today at Bonnet House they have almost 1,200 Orchids located in 3 other greenhouses. It was her passion to grow orchids and they carry that tradition on today.
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Take Away TODAY ORCHIDS CAN BE FOR EVERYONE. Although most of us can't grow Mangoes or Avocados or some of the other plants we're looked at, most everyone can grow or enjoy Orchids. Today they're readily available and there are thousands of species and it's believed there are thousands that have yet to be been discovered. Considering the way they're propagated today and the many places they're sold there is no reason we all shouldn't be growing Orchids. Karen had a fear of growing Orchids, thinking they were difficult to grow. She received several Orchids as gifts, when they stopped blooming she didn't want to throw them away so put them on the side of her house and forgot about them for months. One day she went outside to that part of her yard and they were blooming. She thought that if anything can survive neglect and is anxious to live they can't be that hard to grow. That's how she became interested in Orchids. The Phalaenopsis is a very easy Orchid to grow. It's readily available all around the country. They can be grown indoors or outdoors. It has a great bloom, many are quite large and the blooms last 6 to 8 weeks minimally. They can be trimmed and they'll actually bloom again. Thus the little plant can be in bloom much of the year. They thrive in semi shade and can be grown indoors as long as they get some light. Water them once a week, they're easy. It's harder to grow African Violets than an Orchid. Even if the Orchids were to bloom only for 6 to 8 weeks compared to cut flowers where one might spend say, $20 and they last 2 or 3 weeks at the most, it's still a bargain. Here one spends less than that and gets a minimum of 6 weeks of bloom. And, if taken care of Orchids will most likely bloom longer and they will come back. Orchids really are for everybody.

Joe thanks Karen. We've throughly enjoyed Bonnet House. The ecological lessons, the gardening lessons, are one of a kind. The house is beautiful and everyone on the team wants to live here. We visit some wonderful locations and gardens but this is truly special. Thanks Karen, we hope many in our audience will have the opportunity to visit.
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