I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It
An afternoon walk through the Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach elicits a constant comment of, "I’ve never seen anything like this before." Featuring more than 2,000 tropical and subtropical plants from six continents the gardens hold many mysteries for two ladies from the Rocky Mountains.
Driving down Military Trail, it’s easy to miss the entrance to the garden. The 14-acre botanical oasis is nearly hidden among strip malls, parking lots and the local driver’s license office. Once inside the gate that busy world is left behind as the sweet smell of oleander catches our attention.
The garden has a feature I haven’t come across before, the Oncell System allows you to phone a designated number from your cell phone for a brief introduction to the garden. As you proceed, if you see an area of interest with a numbered post, you may redial the phone number and then the post number for information on that garden section. A new take on self-guided/guided tours.
Palms sway overhead as we wander through rose, herb, palm and tropical foliage gardens. We search for small labels identifying angel trumpet, ponytail palm, and rainbow eucalyptus. Some plants are unusual variations of the familiar; a huge prickly pear variety demonstrates what happens when a cactus grows in a humid climate with lots of rain. Orchids trail from the crook of a tree and complex delicate blossoms adorn the tips of ugly twisted, thorny stems. We assign descriptive names to unique unidentified foliage – wilted cabbage, Jurassic Park platter, and torpedo palm.
We were the last two to leave the garden at closing, I’m sure we’ll be back in a different season and will once again utter, "I’ve never seen anything like it."
When You Go: Mounts Botanical Garden is located at 559 North Military Trail (between Belvedere Rd. and Southern Blvd.), West Pam Beach, 561-233-1757. Admission is free, a $5 per person donation is suggested. The Gardens are open Monday through Saturday 8am – 4pm and on Sunday noon – 4pm. Closed on holidays recognized by Palm Beach County.