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What’s Happening Blog

December 13, 2023

Our Orchid Arbor Renovation

The orchids are the most-photographed area of the garden. The ligum vitae tree at the entrance of the courtyard is full of orchids, and following along the courtyard path sits the orchid arbor. It contains mostly Vanda orchids, which like this position in the garden very much. Time and the elements had wreaked havoc on the arbor wood, and it was time for a re-do. Much thought and planning went into its design. It had to serve both as a home for the vandas and also do double-duty as a working area during the plant sales, weddings, and other events at the Garden. In order to make this happen, Pam VanSoest and Nell Smets embarked on making this project happen. To offset costs, they decided to sell 8×8 pavers with a quote, special memory or event to be remembered. Paver orders started coming in, and Nell drew up the architectural plans for construction with Pam’s insight into the orchids’ plant needs. Here are some photographs from the process, ending up with Lynne Bentle-Kemp’s book signing party, where Lynne can be seen autographing her books to benefit the garden.

orchid arbor

orchid arbor

April 28, 2022

Our Green Gazebo Renovation Project

Stationed in the Central Courtyard area, the Green Gazebo is a hard-working structure that needs a little attention to be a focal point of the Garden. We are embarking on a Capital Campaign to make this possible; hopefully, this summer during our slower season. Please consider giving to this worthwhile cause. Click the picture link below to donate, with our thanks.

April 26, 2022

Our Beautiful New Entrance Sign

As part of our project to make the Garden more attractive to our visitors and increase safety and information-sharing, we are planning new signage throughout the Garden. The first installment is the new sign in front of the entrance. Isn’t it lovely?

Photo by Lynne Bentley-Kemp

July 22, 2021

Rebirth of the Citadel Area

Now that the stonemasons have finished around the citadel we are enjoying the rebirth of that area. The orchids and taro plants are loving the attention.

citadel rebirth
Photos by Lynne Bentley-Kemp

July 12, 2021

Finished Arch and Citadel Officially Complete

The arch and citadel renovations have finished and we are so pleased with the results. The arch is a bit higher and now I don’t have to duck when I walk through it. It’s fine for someone 5’6”, but any taller and you will have to duck. The first group of photos was made inside the citadel.

Photos by Lynne Bentley-Kemp

July 5, 2021

Finished Arch and Citadel

Here is the finished arch and the citadel behind it. It used to be part of a tunnel that led into the citadel.

arches complete
citadel complete
Photos by Lynne Bentley-Kemp

June 28, 2021

The Arch is in!

The arch is in and it is getting ready for its reveal. The workmanship is exquisite and true to the time period.

the arch is in
Photo by Lynne Bentley-Kemp

June 21, 2021

Forming and Rebuilding the Brick Arch

Here is a progress report on the brick renovations at the fort. The first pictures are from last week when the arch area was being cleaned up to prepare for the reconstruction. Today the arch was being rebuilt. A wooden form was made after the the sides of the arch had been rebuilt and the bricks were slowly and carefully being placed – you can see how long the arch is going to be by the length of the form. The craftsmanship is impressive.

brick arch is being restored
Photo by Lynne Bentley-Kemp

June 20, 2021

Plants for Sale Every Monday

Stop by and see what’s growing! The Garden Club maintains a professional-level propagation area where we grow ornamental and native shrubs and trees for the garden and for the community. Stop by the Garden at 1100 Atlantic Blvd. Mondays from 9:30am to 11:30am. Experts will be available to assist with any questions. More info: 305-294-3210.

plants for sale every monday

June 18, 2021

Juneteenth Recognition

In recognition of Juneteenth, the Key West Garden Club would like all friends and members to know that we join in commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people with dignity and love. Our proximity to the African Cemetery and the gift of Shona sculpture in our garden will make the West Martello a place of reflection on this national day of celebrating justice, equality, and the resilience of the human spirit.

African Shona Sculpture
Photo property of Lynne Bentley-Kemp

June 15, 2021

New Instagram Account

Key West Garden Club announces its new Instagram account. Follow us on keywestgardenclub – keep up to date with what’s gorgeous at our oceanside paradise!

Photo property of Lynne Bentley-Kemp

May 17, 2021

Scholarship Awarded

The Key West Garden Club (KWGC) awards the Lois Kitching Scholarship to an individual interested in pursuing a career that reflects the interests of the Club’s membership. A grant of $2000 per year for four years is given to a qualified applicant. Our new recipient, Marsella Munoz, will be graduating this year from Key West High School and will be attending Florida State University with a major in biological sciences. Marsella has been very active with coral reef restoration and other environmental issues and is an amazing young woman.

Garden Club Scholarship awardee
Photo property of Lynne Bentley-Kemp

May 10, 2021

Arch Restoration Work Begins

Masonry work has begun on the restoration of the arch that was destroyed when Hurricane Irma toppled our giant ficus. The Citadel restoration is progressing quickly as well as the outer walls.

Arch Restoration work
Photos property of Lynne Bentley-Kemp

March – May, 2021

School Children Visit the Garden 

Part 1 
March 10, 2021 – Key West Martello Tower Adventure part one. Join us as we explore the Key West Martello Tower and Botanical Gardens. In this episode we will explore the tower and learn about orchids! This Is Living in the Florida Keys!

Part 2 
April 22, 2021 – Join us for Part 2 of our tour of the Key West Martello Tower and Botanical Gardens. Come along with us as we explore more of the fort and all the beautiful plants within. Some adventures are educational AND fun!

Part 3 
April 30, 2021 – Here is part 3 of our tour of The West Martello Tower and Botanical Gardens. In this video we will explore more of the grounds and the Butterfly Garden. Rosi and Mary educate us more about the local plants and how they cohabitate with beautiful butterflies. Florida Keys Livin’ with a little education.

Part 4
May 12, 2021 – Here we continue our tour of The West Martello Tower and Botanical Gardens. Watch as we make our way around the huge tree to the Poecilla pond. Then we make our way to Rhea’s favorite part, The Dinosaur Garden where Mary tells us more about the plants and their history. Last we stop for a photo of the beautiful fountain. Join our adventure of Florida Keys Living.

February 8, 2021

Shona Sculpture Installation

There was a lot going on at the garden club today. Craig Berube Gray http://www.crgray.com/ came to install a pedestal at the labyrinth and attach stabilizing bases to the donated Shona sculptures. The volunteers were out in force and Rahn was asked to help with the installation. Jeff Ware was on hand to help with the physics and the mission was accomplished. It takes a village.

Top-left and bottom-left photos property of Victor McTeer
Top-right and bottom-right photos property of Lynne Bentley-Kemp

September 12, 2020

Labyrinth is Finished!

Our Monday Volunteers helped clear the entire area; A member funded the design and bricks. Jeff Ware did the sterling work of laying out the bricks, securing them in place and then covering them in masking tape before the Flexi-paving was installed this week! The Flexi-pave team installed the flexi-paving in one day!! And it looks magnificent! We can’t wait to share it with our visitors!

Labyrinth Labyrinth Labyrinth
All labyrinth photos property of Lynne Bentley-Kemp