McKee Botanical Gardens

Neoregelias crowning an old stump.

Last year I visited McKee botanical gardens in Vero Beach and now that I have a blog, I figured I'd share some photos, even if I had to scan them the old fashioned way from prints.
Personally, I preferred it to Fairchild in Miami, if only for the smaller scale and more abundant shade.  Even though Fairchild is a bit more expansive, at Mckee I was able to spend more time exploring since I wasn't baking in the South Florida sun!  There's a huge variety of plants, great landscape design, and even a gift shop worth checking out.  I even picked up some seeds there!

Aechmea Blanchetiana, orange form

Aechmea Blanchetiana, green form

A bed of Neoregelias

Billbergia Pyramidalis

A huge Pitcairnia species, unlabeled.  Pitcairnia are among the most primitive bromeliads.

My favorite Palm, Arenga Engleri or Dwarf Sugar Palm!  This guy's hardy in zone 9a and can be found at the FSCJ south campus in Jacksonville too.

A licuala palm, and wait... is that a dinosaur in the background?

Be sure to check McKee botanical gardens out for yourself!


  1. What a great place to visit!And I love that Dwarf Sugar Palm!

  2. Antigonum, a legend on his own mind,
    will not travel to watch this vegetation. You KNOW why.

    However, shade, is mandatory in ANY garden. For the plants/vegetation and for the observer. A garden without this,
    is like water and salt, meaningless.

    Nice report!

  3. Did you get to see the under the sea succulent garden there? We saw it a few years ago and it was adorable! I agree with you, I like the smaller gardens better...Fairchild is so huge!!!

  4. Fabulous! So many varieties of bromeliads. I must make a note to visit someday. Thanks for sharing your photos and thoughts on the garden.

  5. What beautiful arrangements of those broms. The Aechmeas are so colorful. I will have to put this garden on my list to see. Thanks for sharing your time there.

  6. Very lovely to see all the bromeliads here.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Fantastic photos. I'm close to these gardens and still haven't visited. Probably this summer. They have quite a variety of broms. Thank you for naming them...I never know the names!

  8. Oh, I need to get over to Vero. It's not a bad drive from here, actually. Love those broms! The orange variety is awesome! And I want one of those hardy sugar palms. Why do our CFla nurseries only carry the cold-tender palms? I guess because they do seem to withstand the cold in city gardens where it's warmer. I still cringe when I drive around and see undamaged arecas and pygmies and foxtails all over the place! Ugh. Mine only have new green leaves at the crown.

  9. The licuala palm is gorgeous! And it does look like a dinosaur! What is that creature, anyway? This looks like a great garden to visit. I often prefer visiting gardens with a more intimate scale. Thanks for sharing your photos!

  10. Antigonum,
    There are plenty of other plants besides the architectural ones like palms, but the obviously tropical plants do sell the tickets I suppose.

    Somehow I missed that under the sea garden! I wish I saw it since that's what I'm setting out to do!

    Susan James and NanaK,
    There was a large variety! I especially liked their uses for them, clambering up trees and over trunks.

    Memorizing the name of a plant and its features is the next best thing to owning one!

    I wish there were more hardy palm varieties too. I just went to the palm arboretum at FSCJ in Jacksonville today and the foxtail finally bit the dust. Believe it or not, the triangle palm has put out new leaves and the bismarcks were only damaged at the tips! I'll do a post on that later.

    I'm glad you noticed the dinosaur! Its actually one of several sculptures of dinos they have to entertain the kids (and me too!). Someday I hope to try the spiny licuala, which is supposedly the hardiest in the genus.

    Everyone else,
    Thanks for commenting! Next time you're in the area make a trip!

  11. aloha steve, loved the tour and the amazing palms, i'm a fan of the licoala grandis one of my favorite palms, they are so graceful...thanks for sharing


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