Tropical Florida Gardens - What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

Tropical Florida Gardens

What's in Bloom at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates?

NEW Garden & Estates Tour at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Posted by Edison Ford Winter Estates On April 11th


Chris Pendleton, President & CEO
Lisa Sbuttoni, PR/Marketing Director
Photos:  Banana plants used as barriers at the Edison pool complex, photo by Manfred Behr; lettuce grows in the organic gardens at the Edison Ford.

NEW Garden & Estates Tour at the
Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Fort Myers, FL (April 9, 2012)The Edison & Ford Winter Estates is offering a new Garden and Estates Tour to answer the interest of visitors and community members who are interested in practical home gardening and in learning from the expertise from the horticulturalists at Edison Ford as well as the historic garden tips from the original families, the Edisons and Fords, who used the site very effectively a hundred years ago.

The new Garden & Estates Tour will be available rain or shine, every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. and include the new organic garden areas, the propagating nursery, Garden Shoppe and of course 20 acres of historic gardens and homes on the river.  The gardens were recognized with the top  award from the National Garden Clubs Inc. for restoration as well as gardening expertise.  The horticulturalists at Edison Ford are also UF Master Gardeners and teachers.  The tour will include historic information and advice on planting and care, seed selection, home ‘victory’ gardens and sustainability and environmental concerns.

In the past few years, there has been a 20% increase in home gardening with a return to using vegetables, herbs and other edible plants in ornamental landscapes as well as installing family and community gardens to provide consumers with home grown food ready for the table.  “We notice more and more that our visitors want to know how to grow the same edible foods they see here at home.  They are interested in heritage seeds, organic substitutes for fertilizer and insect control, and practical growing tips that are ageless,” says Todd Roy, master gardener and Garden Shoppe manager. The Garden Shoppe is stocked with many proven varieties of plants that grow easily.

Both Edison and Ford also cultivated an edible landscape at their estates in Fort Myers including citrus, tropical fruits, vegetables and even a truck garden area.  Today, many of their larger trees still remain and are still bearing crops while others have been reintroduced throughout the site.  Visitors will be introduced to the bananas used as landscape barriers and used as a great food  source, dozens of varieties of mangoes both historical and new varieties, as well as a great variety of citrus that characterize the estates.

In addition to the historical gardens, the tour will also include useful areas like herb mounds, container and raised bed gardensRain barrels, drip systems, worm castings, crab shell soil amendments, and unique mulch techniques will be seen throughout the site and many date back to practices of the two inventors and their families.

The garden and estates walking tour is about two hours in length and participants can also extend their tour with the audio wand tour of the property (available in English, German, French and Spanish).  Registration is not required.  Cost of the Garden and Estates Tour is $40 (groups may preregister for special times and fees) and Edison Ford Members are freeThe ticket includes the audio wand.   

The Edison Ford is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. The Edison Ford 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 at

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