KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Nature lovers can tour the lush and lovely gardens surrounding five private Key West homes Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 25-26, during tours presented by the Key West Garden Club.
Set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days, the exclusive tours give attendees a rare chance to discover examples of the plant-filled outdoor living areas central to the island's easygoing, nature-oriented lifestyle.
Featured gardens were chosen to spotlight their unusual plants and landscaping. Garden Club docents are to be on hand at each location, sharing detailed information with tour participants about the plants on display and other horticultural insights.
Tickets for the tours are $20 per person and can be purchased in advance at the Key West Garden Club headquarters at West Martello Tower, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at 1100 Atlantic Blvd. On tour days, tickets can be purchased at the featured locations.
The not-for-profit club has maintained and planted the garden in the ruins of the Civil War-era West Martello fort, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, since the 1950s. All plants are donated and cared for by club members and volunteers.
Today, the fort's brick arches are the backdrop for beautiful orchids and bromeliads, rare palm trees, indigenous plants and a peace garden. The site is open free of charge from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except major holidays.
Tour information and garden locations: keywestgardenclub.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
Ruins of the Civil War–era West Martello fort’s brick arches are the backdrop for beautiful orchids, plants and a peace garden. Images: Lynne Bentley-Kemp, Key West Garden Club
Key West Garden Club headquarters at West Martello Tower overlook the Atlantic Ocean, and include a gazebo, popular for weddings.