Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mead Botanical Garden, Winter Garden, FL



Mead garden has much to offer with its butterfly garden, diverse habitats, abundance of birds, wildlife, picnic grounds, and overall welcoming setting. The garden is well kept and offers an ecology that supports many different birds, animals, and plants in the 47.6 acre park. It offers various facilities including an amphitheatre, boardwalk, bike trail, 40 picnic tables, recreation center, environmental center, and restroom buildings.



The large pavilion is an eye catcher. It is quite large and full of beautiful exotic plants.


This is one of my favorite pictures that captures an image of the beauty that is within Mead Botanical Garden. It is a small glimpse into a Secret Garden…

Mead Garden’s Medicinal Plants

As part of my Family Herbalist certification, we learned about several plant specimens that hold value in the medicinal plant community. The photos below will take you on a journey through the many plants we see regularly and they possess medicinal properties. One thing to be remembered is that whenever you collect plants, be mindful of environmental health. As you collect, leave enough fruits and seeds for wildlife and natural propagation. Third, be certain that the plant species are safe for consumption and you should not collect herbs within 50 feet of road if you will ingest them. Lastly, ask permission from owners or park before collecting herbs and other plants.


Elderberries in Florida are a common roadside sight. The fresh berries are poisonous so be sure they are dried or cooked before using them! They make great jams or syrups  for coughs, flus, and upper respiratory infections. They are useful in reducing fevers. After collecting, remove stems as you prepare for dehydrating, drying, or cooking.


The berries make a  reddish-brown dye.

beauty berry

Beauty berry is another native to Florida. The leaves can be rubbed on the skin as a pest repellant. The berries can be used for production of dyes, teas, and even fish poison. Plus, the birds find it a tasty treat!


Wax Myrtle is used internally for fevers, colds, catarrah, jauundice, and irritable bowel syndrome. It can be applied externally to sores, itching skin conditions, dandfuff, and more.


I was surprised to learn that pine trees in our area have edible leaves! I chewed on one and it reminded me of Christmas. It has antiseptic properties, has use in respiratory infections, and sore throats.

Weeds can be Medicine?

Yes, many common plants that we refer to as weeds  have medicinal properties. So before you grab a weed wacker, read on and see which weeds you have and their medicinal uses.


Yes, dollar weed is edible! That annoying weed that spreads, well, like a weed! It  takes over by means of of rhizomes. It can be added to salads and is tastier as it grows bigger. It has the medicinal value by balancing blood pressure and blood sugar.


Creeping Charlie or Florida Water Mint, is a nice addition to salads, if not sprayed with pesticides. It is useful for indigestion and kidney diseases.


The leaves of Muscadine grapes are both antiseptic and anti-bacterial. The leafs can be used as a poultice for wounds. The leaves can be boiled or sautéed.


Spiderwort as a tisane (tea) can be used in the treatment of kidney and stomach ailments. A poutice can be applied topically for stings, insect bites, and cancers. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Bon appetite! Some of the other herbs we explored were Tropical chickweed, Spanish needles, Betany, Clover, Wax Murtle, and Gotu Kola. I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Elizabeth’s Traveling Tips: Bring an identification book for wildlife, birds, and plants to make your tour more enjoyable. I brought a notebook to record the different herbs we covered during the day.

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