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'Gator in the Gardens' art theme explored at Edison Ford Estates (Photos)

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On April 24, 2014, the Edison Ford Estates stated that they have yet another way to explore the arts. It is a new "garden" feature called "Art in the Garden," and it includes outdoor sculptures. This year they also have an additional theme with a new catchy name. The Estates is located in Fort Myers, Fla.

The new theme, starring a reptilian critter, is "Gators in the Garden.” The theme is a fun way to tag the annual "Art in the Garden" outdoor sculpture installation.

Combined efforts by the Lee County Art Educators and Edison Ford result in such projects. Located not too far from Edison Ford is another art-related organization to enjoy called Alliance for the Arts.

The Edison Ford constantly hosts a variety of art exhibits, not only in their gift store, but in and on surrounding areas of the Estates. Another theme pertaining to the arts, hosted by Edison Ford, is called "Art at the Edison Ford."

At times, at least 25 schools have participated from throughout Lee County. The schools' "giant gators" were allowed to roam through the Edison Truck Garden area near the museum.

Funds are awarded to teachers to assemble the recycled and weather-proof materials. Then the art is up to the students to complete.

Teachers, families and school officials view the students' sculptures as well as enjoy refreshments, live baby gators, and a few other surprises. Support has been provided by the George M. Cox Trust and cookies from Costco.

"Art in the Gardens"
"Art in the Gardens" Photo courtesy Edison Ford, used with permission

"Art in the Gardens"

Visitors to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers will enjoy 20 acres of historical buildings, historic gardens, the Edison Botanic Research Lab and the Edison Ford Museum.

The newly restored buildings include the Edison Main House, Guest House, and Caretaker’s House and the Ford House. 

The 1929 historic landscape is throughout the property including the award winning Moonlight Garden. The Edison Ford Museum has hundreds of inventions, artifacts and special exhibits. - Edison Ford

Bromeliad Photo courtesy Edison Ford, used with permission


Bromeliads are a family of tropical plants which includes the pineapple and several colourful houseplants.

They are nearly all from Latin America and the Caribbean islands, except for Spanish moss from the southern United States, and a single kind from Africa. - Wiki

Tree frog Dendrobates sitting in a bromeliad leaf
Tree frog Dendrobates sitting in a bromeliad leaf Photo: Wiki

Tree frog Dendrobates sitting in a bromeliad leaf

Here is a tree frog Dendrobates sitting in a bromeliad leaf.

Dendrobates is a genus of poison dart frogs which are protected by warning colouration. They are highly poisonous.

The Yellow-banded poison dart frog, Dendrobates leucomelas, is one of the most common species, found in the northern part of South America in Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. - Wiki


Bromeliad in bloom
Bromeliad in bloom Photo courtesy Edison Ford, used with permission

Bromeliad in bloom

Bromelia, the plant which gives its name to the family, is the only other bromeliad with edible fruit. Its berries taste a bit like pineapple, but are less tasty, and there are not very many on each plant.

American Alligator
American Alligator Photo: Wiki

American Alligator

Alligators and Caimans make up the second largest family of the crocodilians, Alligatoridae. There are 4 genera and about 7 known species of Alligatorids. Alligatorids range in size depending on species.

The Chinese alligator (Aligator sinensis) is usually about 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) while the American Alligator (A. mississippiensis) is usually 4 m (13 ft). The largest American alligator was 5.79 m (19.0 ft) long. The Black Caiman of the Amazon can reach as much as 6 m (20 ft).

Alligatorids live in the southern United States, Central America, northern South America and near the Yangzee river in China. - Wiki

"Gator in the Gardens"
"Gator in the Gardens" Photo courtesy Edison Ford, used with permission

"Gator in the Gardens"

Today, the gardens contain more than 1,700 plants representing more than 400 species from six continents.  Our most famous tree is the banyan, a four foot tree planted around 1925 that now covers almost an acre of the grounds. 

The Estates collection also includes the sausage tree, tropical fruit trees including mango and citrus, orchids, bromeliads, cycads, and more than 50 species of palms. 

Explore our monthly What’s Blooming At the Estates pages to find out which plants are flowering or fruiting at the time of your visit. - Edison Ford

Pineapple from the Bromeliad family
Pineapple from the Bromeliad family Photo courtesy Edison Ford, used with permission

Pineapple from the Bromeliad family

The Pineapple is native to South America, Central America and the Caribbean. It is an edible fruit and the word means fragrance of perfumes. The meaning comes from an Amerindian languages group and the two main languages of this family are the tupi and the guarani.

The pineapple is also a tropical plant and it must not be kept under 10 degrees. It takes a long time for the pineapple to grow and it mainly depends on the location and the growing conditions it gets. If the temperature is warm, the pineapple will grow faster. On average, it takes about two to three years.

If the fruit travels by boat, the fruit must be picked before ripening, since the trip takes a long time. Sometimes, pineapple has to travel by boat to be accessible to all. It is different for air travel. The pineapple can be picked when it is grown, since travel time is short. - Wiki

A bright-colored Bromeliad
A bright-colored Bromeliad Photo courtesy Edison Ford, used with permission

A bright-colored Bromeliad

Air plants are very curious because they do not need any roots to stay alive. Instead they soak up moisture from the air around them through tiny, silvery scales on their leaves.

They have so many of these scales that the whole plant can look grey. In the wild they grow on tree banches in rainy and misty areas. In the Caribbean there is a kind that grows on telephone wires! - Wiki