Botanical Tours on Tuesdays & Fridays at 10 AM at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates


Chris Pendleton, President & CEO
Lisa Sbuttoni, PR/Marketing Director

photo attachments:  Britta Soderqvist, Plant Curator  leads botanical tours at the Estates on Tuesdays and Fridays; Soderqvist and Calabash fruit tree, one of the many fruit trees located on the grounds at the historic Edison Estate.

Botanical Tours on Tuesdays & Fridays at 10 AM at the
Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Fort Myers, FL (September 15, 2010) - Beginning October 1, 2010, the botanical tour at The Edison and Ford Winter Estates will be on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 AM.  This tour includes a walk through the historical gardens of the Edison and Ford Estates with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Estates Propagating Nursery.  The tour is never the same twice as it changes frequently to highlight plants currently blooming or fruiting.  With the change in flowers and fruits comes a variety of aromas for tour goers to experience, from Chanel No. 5 to buttered popcorn to bubblegum.  Participants  will learn about the historical and cultural significance of the plants, including the world famous banyan tree, the 90-foot kapok tree, and the sausage trees.

During the botanical tour, visitors will learn why Thomas Edison purchased his Fort Myers property in 1885 and how he and his family developed the landscape over the years.  Edison’s original design for his winter estate included areas for a research laboratory, family gardens, and work areas.  Each of these areas is visited on the tour and the relevant history is detailed.  Several trees that were planted during Edison’s time still stand and garden features, as well as Mina’s Moonlight Garden, which have been carefully restored to reflect the look, feel and scent of the historic landscape, are visited. The Estates gardens contain more than 1,700 plants representing more than 400 species from six continents.  The collection includes tropical fruit trees including mango, citrus, papaya and sapote, orchids, bamboo, bromeliads, cycads, and more than 50 species of palms.

“Whether you are an avid gardener, just starting your own garden,  or have an interest in botanicals, the Estates tour is a must-see for southwest Florida gardeners,” says Britta Soderqvist, the Estates Plant Curator.  “On the tour, you will get an up-close look at thriving fruits, flowering plants and palms that can be easily grown in our area, as well as the opportunity to ask questions about Florida gardening.”

The Estates Garden Shoppe is open daily from 9 AM – 5:30 and offers a variety of  heritage plants, herbs and other tropicals for purchase.

The cost of the botanical tour is $24 for adults, $10 for children 6-12.  Visitors may upgrade their ticket for $6 to include a self-guided audio wand tour of the historic buildings and museum. Group botanical tours are available at a discounted price and may be scheduled throughout the week based on availability.  To schedule a group botanical tour call the Estates at 239-334-7419. 

The Estates is open daily from 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. The Estates is the winner of the 2009 National Stewardship Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures” at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a Florida Historic Landmark and a National Register Historic Site. For additional information call 239-334-7419 or visit the web site.

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The Estates has received a grant  from the Florida Legislature through the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission.