I have visited Gene Joyner's Unbelievable
Acres and it is truly, well, unbelievable. After taking
only a few steps into his garden I was transported to a tranquil, peaceful
world. I saw more fruits than I can remember (some fantastically variegated),
tasted some of his marvels and even saw an owl as I departed with the setting
sun. I've wanted to write about this visit for some time, but words fail
me, I need to return and study and learn more. A single visit is not enough.
The following 'tribute' to Gene expresses some of the feeling and thanks
due to this man and his garden, for he is always there with fruit, plants,
answers to our questions. Thanks again.
Gene Joyner's Unbelievable Acres, the Home of the
Ice cream Festival.
A highlight of the year for the Rare Fruit Council's
Palm Beach Chapter is wandering through Gene Joyner's extraordinary tropical
garden while eating soursop, black sapote or dovyalis ice cream, or licking
a karanda popsicle. Gene has opened his house - for ice cream preparation
- and his garden to the Rare Fruit Council since 1973.
The Palm Beach Chapter and Unbelievable Acres have
come a long way together since then, and in 1993 we celebrate our 20th
anniversary with the publication of this recipe book, dedicated to our
Ice Cream Festival host and friend.
In the summer of 1970, Gene Joyner began work on his
botanic garden. He took a cow pasture on the west side of West Palm Beach,
Florida and over the years turned it into a jewel of a tropical jungle.
He filled it with hundreds of tropical fruit trees, ornamentals and many
truly rare plants usually not seen in private gardens. Unbelievable Acres
is now known, and copied, not only in this country but around the world.
The tropical fruit grower will be interested in the
windbreaks along the west, north and south sides of the two-and-a-half-acre
garden. Primarily Australian pines, they tower 80 foot in the air, providing
excellent protection from winter winds and several recent hurricanes.
The sugar sand soil, typical of Palm Beach County,
Florida, has been heavily augmented by top soil and mulch, a famous feature
of the garden, and inspirer of thousands of mulching gardeners in this area.
Gene has spread countless truck loads of mulch by hand and replenishes
it weekly. The mulch is now several feet deep, with not a blade of grass
or weed to be seen. All of his plants flourish under their mulch cover.
The visitor to Unbelievable Acres wanders over tidy
mulched trails through tropical vegetation, looking at over 3,000 cultivars
of fruits, and ornamental plants. Many of the trees are full grown, providing
a welcome canopy of shade for three or four understories of plants, and
providing protection for a number of very tropical plants which would otherwise
freeze in the winter months. Some of the rare, tender tropical fruit trees
such as breadfruit, jakfruit and cacao grow here.
Gene is also a noted plant collector and has one of
the largest collections of variegated tropical plants, fruit and citrus
of any private individual in Florida.
Unbelievable Acres is open for private tours by appointment!
If your travels in South East Florida, USA take you nearby make it one of
your stops. (561) 655-7116 for information.
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© 2000 BGCII Page posted March 2004