KEY WEST, Florida Keys — A rare opportunity to explore four of Key West’s beautiful private gardens awaits horticulture buffs Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23, during once-a-year tours presented by the Key West Garden Club.
Between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. both days, tour participants are invited to venture beyond the walls and picket fences surrounding select island homes. There they can discover yards lovingly landscaped with indigenous and exotic plants and trees, hidden havens with butterfly and wildlife gardens, outdoor living areas designed for relaxation and unique small spaces alive with well-placed plants and artwork.
Among the featured gardens are a colonial-style gem at the oceanfront Truman Annex home of a former U.S. Navy commander; two Staples Avenue corner plots recently redesigned to include butterfly gardens, orchid collections and water features; and a distinctive space with a raised bed, fruit trees and orchids adorning poolside trees.
Garden Club docents are to be on hand at each location, sharing information with tour participants about the on-site plants and other elements.
Tickets for the tours are $20 per person and can be purchased in advance at keywestgardenclub.com or the Key West Garden Club headquarters at West Martello Tower, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at 1100 Atlantic Blvd. On tour days, tickets can be purchased at the featured locations.
The not-for-profit club has maintained and planted the garden in the ruins of the Civil War–era West Martello fort, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, since the 1950s. All plants are donated and cared for by club members and volunteers.
Today, the fort is the backdrop for spectacular orchids and bromeliads, mature fruit trees, indigenous plants, a colorful butterfly garden, a white perfume garden and a dramatic new pool and fountain, among other attractions.
The garden site is open free of charge from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Tour information and featured garden locations: keywestgardenclub.com or 305-294-3210
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY