The Nature of Florida Tech

The Botanical Garden

"Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise."
- George Washington Carver

"Before 1900, the natural shelter of tall trees, rich soils and water protected abundant plant and animal species. An ancient and vibrant Florida hammock, the basis of the gardens, is among the most productive of Florida landscapes. Known as Cat Head, early settlers marveled at the flocks of Carolina parakeets and fished the Crane Creek tributaries you see today."

Source: "Florida Tech Botanical Garden: The Garden Unfolding" brochure

Those who have been around Florida Tech's campus for a few years have witnessed a remarkable change in the Botanical Gardens in the past year. Acknowledging not only the natural beauty of these 35 acres, but the botanical treasure that it is, Florida Tech President, Anthony Catanese has lead the effort to nurture the garden back to its original beauty. In addition, new plantings are occuring on a regular basis. Public gathering arenas, whether for a twosome or a large group, are strategically placed along paths throughout the garden. The garden offers to all a place of peace and quiet study, an opportunity to sit or to stroll, to listen and to learn.

In recognition of these continuing campus-wide efforts of beautification, the Evans Library invites patrons to learn more about the garden and the wildlife that call it home.

"In the early 1960s, [Florida Insititute of Technology founding president] Jerry Keuper enlisted the support of Dent Smith, a retired Wall Street executive and avid collector of rare palms. Smith [founder of The Palm Society] contributed to establishing the college's collection of rare palms. The Dent Smith trail winds through one of the largest collections of exotic palm trees in the continental United States."

"Florida Institute of Technology" by Gordon Patterson

"A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
- Greek proverb

The Botanical Garden contains more than 2,000 palms. Over 200 species of palm - some very rare - stretch skyward, their sword-like fronds forming a cooling canopy in the hot Florida sun. In addition to palms, the fertile soil of this sub-tropical hammock feeds a multitude of other plants such as the swiss cheese philodendron, the false petunia, crotons, holly tree, white sapote, silk tree, and more.

Patrons visiting the library display are offered a supplemental brochure that lists many of the Library's resources along with additional information on tropical plants and gardens.

In addition, a PowerPoint presentation provides additional display color and allure to the natural beauty just outside our doors.

"I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do."
- Willa Cather ("O Pioneers", 1913)

Some of the Evans Library Resources on Display Include:

Tropical Planting and Gardening for South Florida and the West Indies Nixon Smiley SB454 .S6
Your Guide to Florida Landscape Plants John V. Watkins SB408 .W3 V.2
Florida Landscape Plants: Native and Exotic John V. Watkins SB407 .W38
Exotic Plants Julia Frances Morton SB407 .M88 1971
Exotica, Series 3: Pictoria Cyclopedia of Exotic Plants from Tropical and Near-Tropic Regions Alfred Byrd Graf SB407 .G7 1976
Noncontagious Diseases of Tropical Foliage Plants Robert B. Marlatt SB608 .T8 M37 1980
Rare & Exotic Tropical Fruit: Trees and Plants Carl W. Campbell SB359 .C34 1981
Miscellaneous Tropical and Subtropical Florida Fruits Harold Mowry SB359 .M69 1958
Ornamental Gardening in Florida Charles Torrey Simpson SB477 .U6 S5
The Modern Tropical Garden: It's Design, Plant Materials and Horticulture Loraine E. Kuck and Richard C. Tongg SB454 .K77
Exotic Plants Illustrated: Their Requirements and Background Alfred Byrd Graf SB407 .G69 1956
Palms and Flowers of Florida Francis D. Wyly QK495.P17 HSX
The Geonomoid Palms J.G. Wessels Boer Q57 .A533 DEEL 58 NO. 1
Tropical Trees Found in the Caribbean, South America, Central America, Mexico Dorothy Hargreaves QK486.L3 H3 1965
Tropical Flowers and Plants Stirling Macoboy QK936. S85
A Flora of Tropical Florida: A Manual of the Seed Plants and Ferns of Southern Penisular Florida Robert W. Long and Olga Lakela QK154 .L65
Physiological Ecology of Tropical Plants Ulrich Luttge QK936 .L88 1997
Ecology of Plants in the Tropics Daniel H. Janzen QK474.5 .J36
Great Botanical Gardens of the World Edward Hyams QK71 .H9 1969B
Palm Trees in the United States Miriam L. Bomhard A 1.75:22
Annual Report/Royal Botanical Gardens Special Collections QK73.H21 R69 1972
Circa Instans C.B. Rea QK87 .R4X
Redland Fruit and Spice Park Special Collections QK73.U62 R42 1970
Palms in Australia David L. Jones SB413.P17 J66 1987
Palms Desmond Muirhead SB435 .M83
Native and Exotic Palms of Florida R.D. Dickey SB435.52 .F6 D52 1966 KEUPER

In addition to the flora, the "jungle", as the botanical garden is affectionately called by campus affiliates, is home to a multitude of fauna as well. Birds of prey and birds of song, raccoons, snakes, frogs, turtles, fish, and insects make this Florida hammock their home.

Barred Owl
Photo credit: Janice Laurencelle

Corn Sake
(.Pantherophis guttata guttata)
Photo credit: Tom Spinker

This [still] little critter, measuring about 3 feet in length, has been the topic of frequent conversations throughout the Florida Tech campus. Does he have family?

Photo credit: Dr. David Cook

Some Internet Sites Related to Botanical Gardens:

Raintree Tropical Plant Database http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
EcoPort http://ecoport.org/
Florida Plants Online http://www.floridaplants.com/
Florida Gardener.Com http://www.floridagardener.com
Floridata Marketplace (hundreds of plant profiles) http://www.floridata.com/
Meet the Plants: National Tropical Botanical Garden http://ntbg.org/plants/index.php

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now."
- Chinese proverb

"The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness."
- John Muir

This page is only a small supplement to the wealth of library resources available for patrons to discover. After strolling through the botanical garden and enriching your senses with the natural beauty and sounds it offers, stop by the Library and discover more about this rich and diverse life source.

This site is presented by the Florida Institute of Technology Evans Library Instructional Programs Team.


Photo credits, unless noted: Joanne M. Savage

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