Thomas Edison's original design for his winter estate, as illustrated in his hand drawn plan, included areas for a research laboratory and family gardens. His design was geometric, dominated by wide allees or avenues. Edison's plan was a practical one, not as much a design for a formal botanical garden as it was an evolving family and research garden plan oriented to their changing interests.
The landscape today is still dominated by the huge Ficus trees planted by Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone during the time of their quest to find a viable domestic source of rubber (latex) to grow in the region. It also includes varieties of palms, citrus, bamboo and orchids. The Heritage Garden represents the original truck garden of fruits and vegetables used by the families for food.
Today, the Edison Ford is home to more than 1700 plants, including champion trees and continues Edison's tradition of an ever-changing botanical laboratory and garden.
Edison Garden highlights included:
Banyan tree. Believed to have been planted around 1925 and is one of the largest banyan trees in the continental United States.
Heritage plants. Edison and Ford planted many unique species throughout their property including the sausage tree, eucalyptus tree, kapok tree, tropical snowball, king’s mantle, and the huge banyan tree. Many of the original plant varieties can be seen in the gardens today.
Royal Palm Allees. Edison planted stately palms in single file, creating a distinctive effect. Royal palms still grace the walkways. On the Ford property fourteen palms form a beautiful natural aisle where many couples choose to get married.
Edison Moonlight Garden. This garden was originally designed in 1929 by renowned landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman. The Edison & Ford Winter Estates received the 2006 Award of Merit from the American Society of Landscape Architects Florida Chapter for the restoration.
Cycads. The Edison property holds a unique collection of these prehistoric plants.
Bamboo. When Edison purchased his Fort Myers property, bamboo, which he was using in his light bulb, was growing wild on the grounds. Today, the gardens contain more than a dozen varieties of this unique grass.
Heritage Garden. The Edisons and Fords shared a passion for growing their own food and used many gardening techniques in their vegetable and herb beds. The Edison Ford Horticultural staff continues the tradition and the Edison Ford raised beds and herb mounds change with the seasons.
Tropical fruit trees. Mango, citrus, sapote, tamarind, papaya, lychee, longan and starfruit are just some of the unique fruit trees growing throughout the grounds.
More detailed information on our gardens and their history can be found by clicking the link. Interested in "what’s blooming"
Visit the Edison Botanical Gardens today!