Letter: A Botanical Garden For K-Park

I read with interest Fred Levin’s letter in the April 1 issue of the Town-Crier concerning use of K-Park as a nature park for joggers, bikers and those simply wanting respite from traffic and stress. A neighbor of mine suggested a similar function — a botanical garden. As one who worked for 20 years as a staff scientist and lecturer in greater London at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, I was quick to agree with him, not only because it would fill the same needs as those Mr. Levin suggested, but also function as a superb educational facility and bird sanctuary for the western communities. Use as a botanical garden would coincide with the philosophy of those who lobby to preserve green space in Wellington, and as well as those representing our important business interests from Delray Beach to Loxahatchee and beyond.

I can foresee such a garden providing many of the amenities that the Mounts Botanical Garden offers in its 14 acres, including educational seminars and plant sales, but with much more room to operate and develop horticultural programs without the deafening airport noise that plagues Mounts. It would offer a superb opportunity for local employment and volunteerism, especially among gardeners and seniors in the area. It would help residents learn which trees, shrubs and other perennials are best-suited to this climatic zone and how to grow them to perfection, in the process bolstering Wellington’s status as a “Tree City.”

Like Kew Gardens and other botanical gardens around the world in which I have been involved, it would serve as a beacon for schoolchildren and class field trips, scouting groups, special-needs students, art students, photographers, and residents of assisted-living facilities or nursing homes wishing to know more about the plant kingdom, from mosses to flowering plants.

There is abundant horticultural knowledge in the west, not only among nursery owners and landscapers, but also master gardeners and amateurs. It would be ideal if all that expertise could be channeled into a synergistic undertaking for K-Park and Wellington, contributing an educational calendar of events, a park atmosphere and a self-sustaining resource that would unite the varied interests of our community. I would encourage our residents and the Wellington Village Council to adopt a broad view of how the 70-acre parcel might be utilized, not solely for economic benefit and not solely for Wellington residents, but for absolutely everyone — young and old and in-between — in the western communities.

Dr. Alec Pridgeon, Wellington