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O! The Garden Club!

November 19, 2011

A long time ago, Key West was a low limestone dome amidst ocean, populated by birds, mangroves and the occasional pine tree.  When sailors began to settle the island in the early 1800’s, they marvelled at its tropical climate, a climate nuged into perpetual warmth by virtue of the Gulf Stream.  These world wanderers brought with them seeds and saplings from exotic locales, thus giving Key West truly diverse flora.

The tradition of tropical vegetation thrives at the Key West Garden Club.  This is not your average, garden variety Garden Club – no, this is a Mecca of the art of tropical gardening, attracting national talent to tend and propogate rare and unusual plant species.

This is the weekend of the Annual Plant Sale, and it is a local highlight.

The Key West Garden Club is housed within the West Martello Tower, and the Plant Sale is absurdly well-attended.

The location is shatteringly beautiful.  The Tower is one of three civil-war era forts built on Key West – Ft Zacharay Taylor being the largest, followed by East Martello and finally West Martello.  The forts were rendered obsolote before completion due to the invention of the Parrot Gun – a cannon with a rifled barrel which would pulverize brick ramparts.

As a matter of fact, soldiers stationed at Ft Zach used West Martello for target practice.  Its remains were left fallow for many years until it was given to the Garden Club, which promptly turned it into an Eden of sorts – complete with decaying brick facades.

It’s not hard to imagine being amidst a jungle, exploring forgotten ruins whilst poking around West Martello.

The best part of the Tower?  The view to the south, of course!

One of the nicest stretches of beach is here at the foot of the Tower – and it’s isolated to the point where many female sunbathers seek to eliminate tan lines.

A young plant aficionado became very animated during my visit.

The object of his interest?

Reptilian sunbathers – West Martello Tower residents.

Believe it or not, Key West is the driest city in Florida.  During our dry season (which coincides with the mainland’s winter) we get an average of about two inches of rain a month.  Deep blue skies, moderate breezes – it’s dry enough to support cacti.

Looks like a scene straight out of Prescott, Arizona, doesn’t it?

The Pheebs worked the show selling donated items at the Yard Sale; I hung around just long enough to snag a book or three – and click off a few photos.   Friends and neighbors were well represented, and the Pheebs was recognized by Chuck and Wayne from her Guam adventures.

  A magnificent day to just “be” in Key West.






3 Comments leave one →
  1. Len Bloom permalink
    November 19, 2011 9:35 pm

    Your new blog is looking like a winner already. Although I kind of feel like I’m cheating on Michael’s blog. I’m sure I can make time for both. Thanks for sharing!

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      November 19, 2011 10:25 pm

      Thanks, Len!

      Michael works in Key West, but lives up the Keys. It is different living in Old Town. I will try to capture the essence of Old Town life as best I can. I can truthfully say I’ve no desire to live anywhere else.


  1. Old Town Key West – O! The Garden Club! « Guam and Beyond

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