Let Nature Challenge You
The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is a 120-acre urban woodland full of trails for you to explore and enjoy.
From the trailhead next to the parking lot, a stabilized walkway encircles a beautiful two-acre lake. This trail gently descends about 25 feet from to the foot of the lake and then returns up a gentle slope on the opposite side to the trailhead. Interpretive signs and over 100 labeled plants enhance the loop.
In addition, over three miles of rustic hiking trails wind quietly through a series of distinct ecological habitats. Along the trails, benches invite you either to pause and enjoy the view or to get in a good stretch during a vigorous walk.
The Arboretum is developed and managed by the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens, Inc., a non-profit entity that leases the land from the City. Except for special events, there is no admission fee. $3 non-member visitor donation requested to help pay operations.
Open to the public 7 days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM.
Entry gates are locked promptly at closing so plan your visit so that you exit the Arboretum prior to closing.
ADA – For accommodation please contact email@example.com
News – October 2016
Join Us for Wine in the Woods
The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens will host its third Arbor”EAT”um event on October 22nd from 3 PM to 6PM. Many of Jacksonville’s beloved restaurants will provide samples of their signature dishes, while craft beers and over 100 different wine selections are offered for tasting. The event will be held lakefront with live musical entertainment by Sidetrack Duo. Arboretum members receive a 10% discount on tickets, which can be purchased on-line through the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens’ web site or by clicking Arbor”EAT”um tickets. We can not wait to see you there!
Discovering Nature Nearby Programs for 2016-2017
University of North Florida Photography professor, Alex Diaz, will lead a program on nature photography Saturday October 15th at 9:30 AM. Come out to the Arboretum’s picnic area for our second Discovering Nature Nearby program brought to you by TD Bank, Rayonier Advanced Materials, and the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens. Each third Saturday of the month through May 2017, with a break in December, expert presenters educate the public on a wide variety of topics. All ages and abilities are welcome free of charge, although contributions to our donation box are greatly appreciated. Bring your camera, bug spray, and a keen eye. We would love to see your work posted on the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens Facebook page!
Thank You JU Sigma Chi!
Photo: Chuck Hubbuch
Members of the Jacksonville University Sigma Chi fraternity joined us on the garden work day that occurs on the second Saturday of each month. This gave us the opportunity to tackle the strenuous task of dividing old clumps of bamboo and replanting them in a better site. The bamboo will be used for educational purposes, harvesting for plant stakes, fencing, and other crafts. Additional volunteers helped with weeding, fence repair, and planting.
A Tale of Two Tubers
The sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas, has been cultivated by people for so long that its wild origin is not clear. Central America seems to be the center of diversity for the plant and is likely to be its source. Christopher Columbus introduced the sweet potato to Europe. However, Polynesians in the South Pacific acquired the sweet potato even earlier. Exactly how they got it is still being debated. Today, sweet potatoes are cultivated around the world.
To our north, sweet potato is planted new each spring. Here in north Florida, it is a perennial that dies back in winter and returns in spring. Besides the plant’s well-known edible tuber, sweet potatoes with unusual leaves are grown as ornamental plants in the garden. Ornamental sweet potatoes may have leaves that are yellow, purple or variegated with white and pink. Some varieties have long, trailing stems while others are more compact. They are especially useful in containers where their pendant stems are displayed well. Also, the tender young shoots and leaves of sweet potatoes are eaten in many parts of the world as greens. According to reports, fresh leaves contain small amounts of toxic compounds and should be eaten infrequently and in small quantities. To be safer, cooking them destroys at least some of the compounds. The flavor of sweet potato leaves is mild and they provide several minerals, lutein and vitamins A, C and B2.
As with the sweet potato, cultivation of cassava, Manihot esculenta, began thousands of years ago. However, its origins are clearer because its wild relatives are still found in Brazil. The different selections of cassava plants are considered to be sweet or bitter. The roots of bitter cultivars contain dangerous levels of cyanide and must be prepared properly for consumption. Typically, this process includes grinding the root into flour and then drying, soaking, fermenting and/or cooking. This flour is the source of tapioca and has been used also to make glue and laundry starch. The bitter plant is popular with farmers because insect pests and other animals do not eat the plants. The skin of the roots of the sweet types contains cyanide but the root is safe after the skin is removed. Sweet cassava roots may be cooked and eaten much like a potato. The leaves of the cassava should not be eaten. Plants with variegated leaves make attractive specimens in gardens. Information on the plant’s cold hardiness varies from one report to another and we do not have much experience with cassava at the Arboretum yet. Plants may die back to the ground in winter but plants in the warmer parts of Jacksonville have survived winters to resprout in spring.
Ornamental sweet potatoes with purple foliage and with yellow-green leaves are used as ground covers at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. A young variegated cassava plant can be seen on the north side of the lake.
Please keep up with those Arboretum picture posts to Instagram #jacksonvillearboretum and facebook
www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleArboretumGardens. It helps the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens non-profit identify Arboretum inhabitants and encourages more visitors to the on-site donation box. Thanks!
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