Our Gardens

Gary's Garden

From my youth I have always had an appreciation of tropical foliage. Travels to Hawaii and the Caribbean furthered my love of palm trees, especially coconut palms. Thirty-two years ago, I moved my family onto the one-acre property now known as Grovekeeper Collective.

In 1990, the property had only the original grovekeeper barn, cottage and five century-old live oaks on a sandy field. I had a blank canvas to plan what would become my family’s private tropical paradise. ¬†Trial and error played a big role in what guests see today. Some plants would thrive, some would need to be dug up and repositioned, and some would just not survive. Today, all the foliage is thriving, thanks to the proper amount of sunlight, fertilization, and Dunedin’s reclaimed water program.

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Gary Badders

Hardscape placement for walkways, the pond, pool, stone planter beds and most importantly, the newer two-story building, was critical to creating outdoor garden rooms that divide the property and offer aesthetic surprises around each bend. Meandering, limestone bordered shell pathways deliver guests to their home away from home.

Newer plantings make up the first one quarter of the four-hundred-foot deep Grovekeeper estate. Enter through the landscaped privacy wall and continue past the original Grovekeeper barn and north lawn. On the right, you will find nine different citrus trees creating a mini-grove. On your way to the shaded parking area you will enjoy mature trees and tropicals, such as the two-hundred-year-old centerpiece live oak that is surrounded by eight-foot-high fern trees. You will drive under Two thirty-foot high schefflera plants which create a living arch of umbrella leaves. Large white birds, areca and adonidia palms (Christmas palm), Florida slash pine, and live oaks provide shade to the younger, more colorful tropical undergrowth.

Continue walking south on the main pathway bordered by the east lawn, past the always blooming coral knock out roses and beach daisies. Arriving at the lotus pond, guests are rewarded for their journey both visually and acoustically with bubbling fountains, giant Hawaiian and Brazilian bromeliads and flowering Cassia fistula (gold chain tree). No matter when you decide to visit, expect something to be in bloom.

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The botanical crescendo is at the rear quarter of the one-acre compound. Enter the pool area via the fieldstone walkway side of the south lawn. The lawn is bordered with flowering hibiscus, ground orchids, mature coconut palms and white and pink spider crinum lilies. Planting islands on and around the field stone pool deck feature a thirty-year-old, twenty-eight foot high sea grape; a double bloom coral hibiscus tree; and coconut, bottle, white bird and lady palms. Take a stroll on the hidden flagstone pathway to the hot tub past the Japanese fountain arch and meditation garden. Pass by a ten-foot-high copper bush, crotons, Ixora ‘Nora Grant’, bamboo, liriope and other tropical plants.

 Wildlife loves our property including owls, rabbits, Koi, turtles and lizards.
Our gardens have provided constant enjoyment and beauty for our family and friends. Lori and I have been happy to share them with you, our guests, for the last five years. We hope that if you visit our little oasis for a short two or three-day stay, or an entire season, you will truly enjoy our labor of love.

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For more images of our garden please visit the Image Gallery