The Journey Begins
Thanks for joining me!
In the Fall of 2016 I joined the staff at Avery Island as the Botanist in Charge for the McIlhenny Company. As my first endeavor, I decided to inventory the woody plants that occur in Jungle Gardens. Beginning in Fall 2016, then again in Spring and Summer 2017, intern Dylan Derouen and I explored Jungle Gardens over and over as we surveyed the woody plants.
Jungle Gardens encompasses about 175 acres that contain both native and cultivated plants. Plantings in the gardens by E. A. McIlhenny began prior to 1920 and continued until his death in 1949. For many of those years, and probably until the late 1950s, it was an active nursery, growing hollies, camellias and other exotic plants that were sold and shipped the world over. The Garden was officially opened to the public in 1935. Today it remains well known world-wide for its extensive plantings of bamboos, camellias and hollies.
In the early days of the gardens, countless exotic plant species were planted. Over time many of these plants were either lost or forgotten. Some were enveloped by the encroaching forest around them, where they remained well hidden until revealed by this inventory.
This blog chronicles my exploration of Jungle Gardens and Avery Island and tells the story of each plant that has been discovered and identified. The search continues!