|Caladiums, Amaryllis and
Crinums. These are very familiar and popular plants to Florida gardeners. But
if it was not for the pioneering work of Dr. Henry Nehrling,
these plants very well would not enjoy the popularity that they do today in Florida's
landscapes and gardens.
Henry Nehrling was born in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, May 9, 1853. He received
his formal education at the Teachers' Seminary at Addison, Illinois where in 1873 he
earned a degree in teaching -- his specialty being ornithology.
After graduating from Teachers' Seminary, he spent several years teaching in several
states, including Illinois, Missouri and Texas. In 1879, at the age of 26, he began experimenting with
subtropical and tropical plants while teaching in Houston, Texas. In his own words,
"...my enthusiasm for this field of horticulture grew from year to year", so
much so that in 1884, at the age of 31, he "[fulfilled] a long cherished dream when
[he] purchased some land at Gotha, Florida, in the rolling pine region in [west] Orange
County [near Windermere]".
|From 1884, onward, Dr. Nehrling was so enamoured with the
state of Florida that he decided that it would be "his future permanent home. With this idea in mind he built a greenhouse in Milwaukee and collected seeds and other
plant material from various correspondents in the tropics."
It was not until 1886
that he was able to visit and inspect his property in Florida for the first time.
Because, as he said, "...my means did not allow me to indulge my
inclinations." He was not able to devote more than a few months of the year at
Gotha. Little by little though, he was able to clear his
land, build a house on it and plant an orange grove. In 1890, he was able to begin
clearing land for his collection of tropical plants still being sheltered in his Milwaukee
Sources: My Garden in Florida ; The Palmetto, August,
1982, Volume 2, Number 2; Photos Courtesy of Richard Nehrling
Second Article of the Series
Unter Florida's Palmen.
Frank Siller 1887
Fern im Süden liegt ein
Land, wohin die Wandernvögel ziehen,
Wenn sie nach der
Sonnenwende vor des Nordens Stürmen fliehen;
Dorthin leitet ihr Instinkt
ne; folgend siener andern Spur,
Finden sie ihr Winterheim in
einer idiöneren Natur.
Schwäne, Schwalben und
Drosseln betätigen sich an zu diesen tropisch warmen Wäldern,
Zur Bank des Flusses, in der wilde Reben Höhe oben in Girlanden sich wickeln
Um Palmettos, Eichen und Walnüsse
Und Mähdrescher mit der bunten Blüte im Laub ihrer Kronen.
Wanderlust fuhr einmal Ponce de Leon, das fette, dort:
Er wollte die Insel von Bimini suchen,
Zum Bad sein kranker Kasten im Jungbrunnen,
Welche tief versteckt in den Wäldern dieses immergrünen Landes legen
Entsprechend indischen Legenden.
Ponce de Leon, trotz für eine lange Zeit gesucht haben,
Fand nie den Brunnen,
Aber die kranken Leute, die ihm gefolgt haben, haben gefolgt
Beim Finden wärmte er in der Sonne Klima, in den milden Brisen
Gewürzt mit dem Balsam der Kiefern und des Dufts der orange Blüten.
by Frank Siller
Far away in the South lies a
land to which the migratory birds fly
When they flee from the storms of the north after the autumnal solstice.
Their instinct leads them there; following no other tracks,
They find their winter home in the midst of a more beautiful natural
Swans, swallows and thrushes press on to these tropically warm forests,
To the bank of the river where wild vines wind themselves high up into
Around palmettos, oaks and walnuts
And combine with the colorful blooms in foliage of their crowns.
Wanderlust once drove Ponce de Leon, the Bold, there:
He wanted to seek the island of Bimini,
To bath his sick chest in the fountain of youth,
Which lay hidden deep in the forests of this evergreen land
According to Indian legends.
Ponce de Leon, despite having searched for a long time,
Never found the fountain,
But the sick people who have followed him have succeeded
In finding it in the sun warmed climate, in the mild breezes
Seasoned with the balm of the pines and the fragrance of the orange