Your chance to view the Naples Botanical Garden in all its summer glory is quickly waning. Set to close for its annual two-week maintenance period September 16-27, the garden will reopen on the other side of the fall equinox (September 22). So technically speaking, it will be fall when the doors open.
Before the garden closes—and construction begins on its newest addition, the Eleanor and Nicholas Chabraja Visitor Center—there is plenty to do this week for the casual observer and master gardener alike.
On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, from 8 to 11 a.m., the Naples Botanical Garden welcomes Fido for Dogs in the Garden. The three-hour window allows families to bring their favorite four-legged member along as they stroll through the various gardens, essentially the nicest, most well-groomed and manicured dog park ever. Dogs must be up-to-date on vaccinations and remain on a leash at all times.
- One dog per adult, with a special canine admission fee of $7.95 (free for members).
- For more information about Dogs in the Garden, visit naplesgarden.org.
On Thursday, September 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., novice and advanced gardeners are invited to attend the Master Gardener’s Plant Clinic workshop. Led by expert gardener Mike Malloy, a certified master gardener with the Collier County Master Gardener Program—an IFAS Extension of the University of Florida—the course is designed to help home gardeners with health diagnosis of plants, give landscaping advice, select proper plants for the season and more. If you love butterflies, Malloy is an expert in butterfly garden design, upkeep and plant selection. A must attend for any home gardener looking to prepare a plot for the upcoming growing season.
- For more information, visit naplesgarden.org.
On Saturday and Sunday, September 14 and 15, at 10:30-11:30 a.m., W.O.N.D.E.R. Kids will be exploring the garden with a focus on stormy weather and the importance of mangroves. The acronym for Walk. Observe. Navigate. Draw. Explore. Read., the W.O.N.D.E.R. program focuses on a different monthly theme tied in with visits to the garden and family activities to do at home and around town. With education disguised as an adventure, children navigate a series of at-home activities and in-the-field assignments, then return to the garden to turn in their work and collect merit badges.
First up, children select a book out of the curated list that pertains to the theme. They then write a book review discussing what they learned. For the younger tykes, the task is to draw a picture of their favorite scene from the book. Activities also include writing a short story. For this month’s theme, the author must take on the persona of a critter that lives among the mangroves, then write about their day-to-day life.
It’s not all bookwork; kids are also encouraged to get out into nature and capture a picture of them in action. This month’s assignment: take a picture among the mangroves. To cap the at-home activities, kids must keep a weather journal for a week in September.
All of this encourages children to learn about their local environment and the interconnectivity of nature, hone their reading and writing skills, and learn a little about scientific study and empirical data. The more activities completed, the more badges earned.
- Parents and kids can drop-in the garden on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. to collect their Stormy Weather and Mangrove badges.
- For more information or to get your packet and start the nature adventure today, visit naplesgarden.org.
- Starting in October, the W.O.N.D.E.R. Kids will be exploring the world and lives of butterflies.