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some palms at McKee Gardens

Eric in Orlando

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A few palms I saw growing at McKee Gardens in Vero Beach, FL

old Roystonea regia, a survivor of the '80's freezes


Cocos nucifera


Areca catechu


Bismarckia nobilis



Orlando, FL

zone 9b/10a

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Pritchardia sp., maybe P. pacifica ?


Licuala peltata var. sumawongii


Chambeyronia macrocarpa, loaded wih green fruit


Satakentia liukiuensis



Orlando, FL

zone 9b/10a

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great pix,eric.love that a.catechu.wish i could grow any of the arecas here.

the "prince of snarkness."


still "warning-free."


san diego,california,left coast.

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I had the opportunity to visit this wonderful, "Old Florida" garden during a palm expedition in the late 1980's. In my opinion, it looked pretty rough at the time, but some hard core members of the community were determined to bring this wonderful garden back to life. Here is a brief history of the garden, near Vero Beach.

In 1922, the McKee-Sexton Land Company was established in Vero Beach, Florida. This partnership purchased an 80-acre tropical hammock along the Indian River in 1929 and McKee Jungle Gardens was born.

With the help of landscape architect William Lyman Phillips, now known as the pioneer of tropical landscape architecture, the basic infrastructure of streams, ponds and trails was designed. Native vegetation was augmented with ornamental plants and seeds from around the world as Arthur G. McKee and Waldo E. Sexton set about assembling one of the most outstanding collections of water lilies and orchids.

By the 1940's more than 100,000 tourists were visiting McKee Jungle Gardens each year, making it one of Florida's most popular attractions. In the early 1970's, attendance dwindled due to competition from new large-scale attractions and the garden was forced to close its doors in 1976.

The land was sold and all but 18 acres were developed. The remaining acreage, zoned for additional development, sat vacant for twenty years. In 1994, the Indian River Land Trust launched a fund-raising campaign and successfully purchased the property on December 1, 1995 for $1.7 million.

Rick Leitner

Fort Lauderdale, Florida


Zone 10B

Average Annual Low 67 F

Average Annual High 84 F

Average Annual Rainfall 62"


Riverfront exposure, 1 mile from Atlantic Ocean

Part time in the western mountains of North Carolina

Gratefully, the best of both worlds!

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We went in 2006 and it was pretty beat up from the previous 2 years of hurricanes.

There were plenty of royals but not much else.

Actually, they labeled everything as roystonia - even the following...


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Its a really nice jungly garden. It has made a good recovery from the hurricanes. Quite a few old royals that survived the 80's freezes and big banyan-type Ficus. Quite a few clumps of unusual bamboo species has been planted so it will really bea nice bamboo collection when thse form mature clumps.


Orlando, FL

zone 9b/10a

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Thanks for posting Eric. This is another historic garden worth preserving.

Tampa, Interbay Peninsula, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10A

Bokeelia, Pine Island, Florida, USA

subtropical USDA Zone 10B

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Eric, Great shots.I am now trying to recall the recent Post of a nearby neighborhood with some incredible McKee palms in that area.Lot's of mature rare stuff.

What you look for is what is looking

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bubba I beleive it is a housing development (private community),that was once a part of McKee Jungle Gardens,but was part of the acreage that was sold off!

There was a thread recently here is the link


Edited by gsn


Titusville, FL

1/2 mile from the Indian River


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  • 3 months later...

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