BOK TOWER GARDENS
“The Gardens are slowly returning to normal. Thanks to the power of Hurricane Irma, Bok Tower Gardens has a new garden feature. The Horticultural team was able to save one of the downed trees, and visitors are enjoying a wonderful arch to walk under as they stroll through the historic Olmsted design. Repairs on the greenhouse have begun and should be completed by the new year.” (Erica Smith)
MONTGOMERY BOTANICAL CENTER
“MBC suffered significant damage to its scientific collections from Hurricane Irma in early September 2017, losing upwards of 180 trees including 148 palms to date. Damage was even more widespread, with over 430 plants on the property suffering damage from severe winds, uprooting, canopy loss, broken branches, and smothering from fallen trees. Many trees were downed, broken, or uprooted, including beloved Champion Trees, like Canaga odorata and Kigelia pinnata, which had weathered past hurricanes and storms, but did not withstand nature’s wrath this time around. Work is ongoing to save upwards of 218 palms and 210 dicots through lifting, staking, trimming, and clearing of debris. We have successfully raised several palms that were blown down during the hurricane, and staked many more. Thanks to emergency funding from the National Science Foundation, some larger specimens, such as Corypha taliera, a species extinct in the wild, have been lifted back into position by crane. The same grant has also provided us with funds to hire two part-time Research Assistants from a local university, who are helping our palm curators to advance recovery of palms on the property.
“Overall, our cycad collection survived the hurricane well, as most are naturally sheltered from the worst of the winds due to their low stature. Nonetheless, fallen branches and toppled trees damaged some specimens, and the loss of valuable shade trees has temporarily exposed some of the more delicate shade-loving cycad species to full sun. While roads throughout the property are clear, trimming of broken trees and limbs is moving along, and most of the debris has been removed from atop the collections, we still have plenty of work ahead. Our team is up to the task and progress is noted daily as we continue to rescue, nurture, and maintain MBC’s important scientific collections.” (Joanna M. Tucker Lima)