Self-Guided Botanical Garden Tour of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates
Guided garden tours available Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.
The Edison Ford Garden Tour includes a walk through the historical gardens of the Edison and Ford Estates. This tour changes monthly to highlight plants currently blooming or fruiting. During the guided tour on Wednesdays, there is a behind-the-scenes tour of the Estates Propagating Nursery.
Thomas Edison’s original design for his winter estate, as illustrated in his hand drawn plan, included areas for a research laboratory, family gardens, and even work areas. His design was geometric, dominated by wide allees or avenues and an east west axis path connecting the areas on either side of McGregor Boulevard, which was a cattle road when Edison purchased the property in 1885. 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 Edison, Ford and Firestone during the time of their quest to find a viable source of rubber (latex) to grow in the region. It also includes almost 50 different types of palms, 13 varieties of citrus, 12 varieties of bamboo, and other exotic tropical plants which were useful or edible by the families or commercially viable for research purposes. A line of old mango trees still exists today along McGregor. Edison and Ford called this area “Orchid lane” and attached air plants on the trunks and branches. The Heritage Garden represents the original truck garden of fruits and vegetables used by the families for food.
Today, the Estates houses more than 1700 plants, including champion trees, and continues Edison’s tradition of an ever-changing botanical laboratory and garden.
Estates Garden Shoppe open daily 9AM - 5:30PM.
Edison Ford Garden Tours offered every Wednesday at 10:30AM.
For more Estates Gardens information contact the Estates Horticulturist at 239-334-7419!