Botanic gardens with emphasis on fruits...

fabaceae_nativeNovember 7, 2012

I recently revisited Rio Grande Botanic Gardens, part of Albuquerque Biopark. This place is really special, being set in a section of the largest cottonwood bosque in the world, and featuring beautiful wetlands and native plants.

It is also rather unique in having a large (maybe 15 acres?) Heritage Farm at it's back. Along with 1920's period farm buildings, there are gorgeous vegetable gardens, a vineyard, and orchards.

I just love botanic gardens anyway, just to see the diversity of plants. But I do wish more of them aimed for more than an ORNAMENTAL purpose though. This one surely does, and it's wonderful to walk the orchard and see almond, apricot, peach, pear, plum, apple, jujube, pomegranate, and persimmon trees. It really gives you an idea of what is possible, and what a beautiful old time farm along the Rio Grande might have looked like.

Oh, and by the way, the fruits and vegetables are served in the nearby Aquarium restaurant and to the animals at the Zoo that is also part of the Biopark. Has anyone else seen anything this extensive at a botanic garden?

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I went to Powell botanic gardens in KC. Awesome sites. Very nice orchard and plants.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:50AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Not sure we have anything like that around here. I know Madison, WI has Olbrich Gardens which has a huge variety of plants, but not so much orchard type stuff. Maybe the UW arboretum has more fruit trees? not sure. I have been to the Fruit and Spice Park in Homestead, FL which has a HUGE variety of tropical fruits...amazing seeing that stuff growing in the US.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:19PM
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Redlands Fruit and Spice Park, SW of Miami, has occasionally seen my unabashed stained "been in the jelly jar" face for many a decade now, though not recently, alas.

North Carolina has an "old southern apple" park somewhere too, but I have not made it there yet.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:55AM
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I can answer for Madison, WI. The Olbrich Gardens really focuses on ornamental plants, except for a lovely herb garden (with two paw paw trees). They have a Children's Garden outside the main area, with fruit trees trained over the main aisle and row of veggies and flowers on either side. It's not huge, perhaps 20'x30'.

The UW Arboretum has zero purposely edible plants, as far as I can tell. They have a few nice juneberry trees, but they're left to grow really tall (25') so of course the berries are only accessible to birds.

Allen Centennial Gardens is in the middle of the UW campus, and it is well worth visiting. The director enjoys integrating edible and ornamental plants, and has had some amazing combinations the past few years. The fruit section has been neglected (I'm volunteering there to prune the poor plants), but it includes blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries, cornelian cherries, tart cherries, and a beautiful old Belgian fence of apple and pear trees. They have a lovely vegetable garden, and demonstrated lasagna gardening there this year.

I visited the Chicago Botanic Gardens this summer as well, and they have a large area of fruit and vegetables. Rows and rows of espaliered apples, pears, and cherries. Not very interesting varieties (a ton of Red Delicious), but I suppose they were donated. But very nice vegetable gardens and I was glad I made the effort to visit!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 6:56PM
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