Transplanting Bali to Naples Florida Made Wijaya and Team of Bali Landscapers Create a Corner of Bali in Florida at Naples Botanical Garden.
The Naples Botanical Garden was founded in Florida, U.S.A. in 1993 by a group of eight Floridians with the dream of establishing a world-class botanical garden. Through donations from generous sponsors the park now splendidly covers a 170-acre site comprised of seven separate flora habitats.
The park’s latest transformation took place on Saturday, November 13, 2010 when, after closing for nearly two years of preparations, the Gardens re-opened with three new cultivated gardens – The Marcia and L. Bates Lea Asian Garden, Karen and Robert Scott Florida Garden and the Water Garden.
A Bit of Bali on the Floridian Peninsula
A point of special pride half way around the world is the Lea Asian Garden at The Naples Botanical Garden which was designed and created by Bali-based legendary garden designer Made Wijaya working with his “flying squad” of Balinese “garden commandos” – I Dew Ketut Sucita Darma, I Nyoman Suwita, I Ketut Sudana and Dewa Made Matram.
Over an intensive period of two months the team of highly-experience Balinese gardeners worked with their American counterparts to create rice paddies, stands of exotic bamboo, water plants and a whole range of flora exotica originating from Asia. The Asian garden section also has a Javanese ruin, Balinese shrines and several Asian pavilions – all crafted in Indonesia and sent for reassembly in Naples, Florida.
The Asian garden host the rich range of cultivated plants found in the region including vital food crops such as rice, taro and soya bean.
Florida visitors to the Asian Garden will see Balinese shrines to the Goddess of Fertility (Dewi Sri), the consort of Dewa Wisnu, the preserver, the Lord of the Mountains and the mountain lakes so vital to irrigation and agriculture. Nearby, a carefully re-created Javanese temple is emblematic of Candi Sukuh, the last temple of Java’s Classical Hindu Era (late 15th century), representing a return to ‘aboriginal’ Javanese motifs and a distinctly non-Indian style in the history of Javanese architecture. There are also decorative garden art and murals produced in the Bali workshop of PT Indosekar – Bali’s oldest landscaping and garden design company.
The fantasy of walking through the gardens of Asia is further reinforced by a traditional Thai Hut, a Balinese Balé and a compang – a raised living and meeting platform familiar to the eastern island of Indonesia.
The next time your in Naples, Florida and wishing you were in Bali relief is close at hand thanks to the Naples Botanical Garden and Made Wijaya’s clever “flying squad” of Balinese gardeners.