While the ink was not yet dry on the contract for my brother's new Florida getaway, I was already researching area gardens to visit. Never mind the fact that I had not yet been officially invited, but I knew that would come, as he's a generous soul. One of the garden's that popped up on the google machine was Bonnet House, which I first heard of from fellow blogger Philip at East Side Patch. Philip's post, and the fact that this green oasis is walled in by all the hotels, clubs and restaurants of modern Fort Lauderdale, put Bonnet on my short list. If you want to know the home's fascinating story just visit their site, but the short version is this: rich northern captain of industry buys huge chunk of Florida oceanfront wilderness, gives it to artist son who builds unusual home for himself and wife #1 who dies young, son despondent until lively wife #2 comes along, Bonnet House thrives, lots of art created, wife #2 passes the century mark and bequeaths house and grounds to Florida preservationist. Now a piece of old Florida has been saved.
The circular drive surrounds the Desert Garden and leads you to the front door.
The front columns are carved from coral.
All of the rooms contain the original furnishings and open onto a covered gallery surrounding a lush courtyard. Unfortunately I was not allowed to take any interior photos.
There are many connecting themes throughout the house, including monkeys. There are even some real ones climbing through the garden's trees.
Orchids are also a theme and many of them are growing in the garden.
Anchoring the corner of the front porch is a large banyan tree which in this case is some species of Ficus. Climbing through its branches is something that looked to me like Philodendron with football sized leaves.
We will end this leg of our trip with was an obligatory "I was here" shot under the banyan tree.
If you would like to see the full set of my photos from Bonnet House, then click here.
Next we will be taking an early morning stroll in full-garden-voyeur mode.