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Garden 375- Juan Ponce de Leon

Posted By Annelis G. Rivera, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Hanging Gardens

11395 SW 79th St, Miami, FL 33173

//artist unknown//
//use of this image in this project falls under US Copyright Doctrines of Fair Use and belongs to the Public Domain//

My hanging bottle gardens, some of which are aquatic and most of which are terrestrial, are dedicated to a famous Floridian, Juan Ponce de Leon. His role in Florida's history is paramount, given he is the one who led the very first European expedition to Florida and named it in honor of the Easter season, since he first spotted it on March 27th: Easter Sunday, a holiday referred to as Pascua Florida in Spain.
Before this discovery however, he played an important role in the history of another place near and dear to my heart. He was the very first Governor of Puerto Rico, the island where my family comes from and where I was born. His contributions to European colonization of these places helped make them what they are today, and for what's it's worth, for his work in the Caribbean and flroida, he was the first conquistador to have the honor of getting knighted.
The process of making this garden project was a long and rewarding one though, considering that I tried to think outside of the box for this endeavor. to pay homage to his extensive voyages and contributions to maritime knowledge and trade (since it was his crew to first encounter the Gulf Stream's strong point below Florida, allowing for trade between the Spanish Indies and Europe to go much smoother years later), I made some aquatic bottle gardens, replanting common, small aquatic plants native to Florida. the other bottle gardens were inlaid with sand to provide drainage, and then planted with seeds of common herbs (like oregano, coriander (coriandrum sativum), and calycanthus nanus to name a few) most of which are native to Florida. They were hung in trees all around in an area of Indian Hammocks Park, and some small parks in the neighborhoods adjacent to it, since planting a garden in the ground was a problem.

On each bottle is a small leading clue to whom the gardens are dedicated to, a few have the date 04/02/1513, which is the date where Juan Ponce de Leon discovered Florida, among other things like links to videos on him. Only one bottle has the exact details, with a label stating the bottle gardens are dedicated to him. I thought it would be fun if people were given a chance to discover for themselves and engage with the art that way.

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FIU College of Architecture + The Arts

Xavier Cortada
Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts
420 Lincoln Road, Suite 430
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Xavier Cortada's participatory art practice is based at Florida International University.


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