Until recently, I’d been guilty of driving South of Belvedere & Military Trail in West Palm Beach without so much as a glance to the sign that reads “Mounts Botanical Garden“. One day, after having come across their flyer, I told myself I’d make it a point to stop by and consider attending one of their many classes/workshops (photography, creating a butterfly garden, sustainable farming, etc).
Today, Mounts Botanical has truly become one of my favorite getaways in West Palm Beach. I’ve come alone to enjoy the scenery, I’ve come on a date, I’ve come with my mom. Each time, it’s been an entirely different experience.
Most memorable was exploring the grounds with my mom who has an exhaustive amount of knowledge when it comes to plants and herbs, a lot of which I’m guessing she learned from her mom… my grandmother. My grandma was the sort of person who’d go in the backyard, name any plant she comes across and tell you its benefits. When we were sick, the pharmacy was in the backyard first and foremost. This knowledge, no doubt made its way to my mom, Michelle.
As she and I walked around the herb garden, we stopped to smell the various herbs, read off the info cards. She told me of the ways she used them in the past, and which additional benefits the herbs provided which weren’t touted on their data cards. I saw a completely different side of her; inquisitive, intelligent, earthy, vibrant. I’ve always known my mom was the sort of person who’d look to food/diet as a cure to an ailment in lieu of a prescription. For example, in my late teens I became sick with hyperthyroidism and couldn’t keep anything down. After this went on for too long, she picks up one of her books, a bit later goes to the kitchen, juices some parsley and, I must’ve been really sick since I didn’t put up a fight, she had me take a teaspoonful. Since then, the nausea/vomiting associated with hyperthyroidism completely dissipated.
My sister, brother and I would joke that one of us would die before she’d takes us to the hospital. We’d go to her saying “I’m sick”, and her response was pretty much, “drink some tea”. It was a lettuce leaf infused cold tea which she’d ALWAYS kept in a container in the fridge. Of course we’d exaggerate: “Mom, I’m dying”… one would say. Another responds, “Take some tea”. Thankfully, she always knew when we really needed to see a doctor. *snicker*
I’m getting off topic. The point is, exploring the Garden brought back these memories, we laughed, bonded and I left leaving feeling like I’d like to bring her back, this time with pen and paper in hand, so that I can write down everything that she shares.
The Garden is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4:00 p.m. and closed on all observed Palm Beach County holidays. There is a $5 per person suggested donation, except during some special events.
In collaboration with the Palm Beach Chapter of the Rare Fruit Council International, this annual festival attracts hundreds of local horticultural enthusiasts, tropical gardening fans, amateur chefs and fruit aficionados. Fun and informative activities include the popular tropical fruit tastings, cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, and purchases from food trucks, tropical fruit displays and tours of the Garden.