by Hinal Kharva – Currently, I am in The United States, and as a part of my collaborative research with Dr Daniel Hahn (University of Florida). I will soon be going for the field collection of apple and hawthorn fruits, which are infested by Rhagoletis flies, in the northern side of the States. On 26th August, I had just arrived at Gainesville, was jet-lagged and super tired. I was really missing India, as this was the first trip out of my country.
However, I was really fortunate to have Eleanor as my housemate, who is also a wonderful host. She works on insect behaviour too, and we both like nature walks. Eleanor took me to a famous and amazing botanical garden of Gainesville, Kanapha botanical garden.
I am not a botanist but this was a great opportunity to learn and be amazed by the world of different plants. (See pictures for more details about the variety of plants). The giant Victoria floating lilies, black bamboos, small little zebra, and snowflake plants are major attractions of the garden.
It was not just about the plants; the garden is a home to many insects, from butterflies to different species of flies, dragonflies, damson flies, cicadas, and beautiful caterpillars. I got to see bumble bees for the first time in my life. I was hoping to see hummingbirds and alligators, but I couldn’t sport a single one – no luck!
I was so overwhelmed with the beauty and diversity the garden harbors. If you are visiting Gainesville, I would strongly recommend visiting this garden. Being a naturalist, I am going to explore such places during my stay here. So, stay tuned, I will keep bringing interesting observations and wonderful nature throughout this trip to Florida.