The Secret Garden is the back yard for several homes – a space tended and nurtured by Nancy Forrester and company. It is a beautiful, lush rainforest like existence. I felt like I was in the jungle during my visit. You can meander down numerous paths, or you can sit quietly in a corner and meditate. The cool, moist rainforest is an inviting change from the heat of the day.
Not only is the secret garden home to a wide variety of canopy trees, such as palm, fruit and spice trees, the mid and under story exotics include beautiful bamboo, ferns, aroids, cycads and so much more including a large collection of orchids. Many of the plants in this garden are rare or endangered species.
But that’s not all. This rainforest is also home to a Parrot rescue program. A large number of beautiful parrots live in the garden, each with their own story – abandoned or homeless for various reasons. Nancy has taken them in and benefactors can adopt a bird to help support his or her ongoing care.
Nancy works to protect, nurture and share this garden treasure surrounded by city sidewalks and closely-set Victorian homes with large porches and storm shutters. She refers to the garden as "living art." Nancy’s work also includes coordinating staff to maintain the gardens, providing food and care of the birds, and educating the public and encouraging their support to help “preserve the last undeveloped wooded acre in the heart of the Key West historic district.”
If you visit Key West, I encourage you to visit Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden open 7 days a week. Stroll along numerous paths viewing the wonderful tropical flora and fauna and pause and reflect on the garden in one of the peaceful sitting areas. This garden is food for the soul – a world within a world where you can erase the clutter in your mind and just breathe...
If you’re not planning a trip to Key West, you can visit the garden online and view a series of videos about the garden and Nancy’s work - the MANA Project.