Friday, February 25, 2022
Every year at this time, the Key West Garden Club hosts a garden tour ”A Stroll Through the Meadows” featured seven gardens in the Old Town area. Each provided a lush escape from the surrounding activities. There were presentations about growing edibles, caring for orchids, and landscape design.
We envy our southern neighbors who live in a climate that supports such tropical gardens. There are so many orchids, and that’s true throughout the keys. Hibiscus and plumeria are abundant as well.
Residents up and down Olivia Street are working to make their gardens butterfly friendly. We did see several monarch butterflies as well as monarch caterpillars.
After touring the gardens, we visited the Key West Aquarium and the Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden. The aquarium is not very large, but does a good job of showcasing the marine life here.
The sculpture garden has busts of many of the people who played roles in Key West history, with the largest sculpture being “The Wreckers,” by James Mastin of Miami. This sculpture features “wreckers” salvaging cargo and saving lives from a shipwreck on the reef. At one time, Key West residents were among the richest in the country, with their fortunes coming from salvage. Many ships ran aground on the reef that runs along the coastline. The first person to reach the wreck was named the ”wreck master,” and he would organize other salvagers to do the work. The salvaged cargo was auctioned off on shore, and a judge determined how the proceeds were distributed. The wreck master usually receive 25 percent. ”Wrecking” was a very lucrative business for the residents of Key West until ship captains learned how to avoid the reef.