Edison & Ford Winter Estates: Drop In on Two Great Minds

    Scott Barnett

    Thomas Edison's original design for his winter estate was a practical one — not as much a design for a formal botanical garden as it was an evolving family and research garden plan oriented to their changing interests.

    The landscape today is still dominated by the huge ficus trees planted by Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone during their quest to find a viable domestic source of latex rubber to grow in the region. It also includes varieties of palms, citrus, bamboo and orchids. The Heritage Garden represents the original truck garden of fruits and vegetables used by the families for food.

    Today, the Edison-Ford is home to more than 1,700 plants, including champion trees, and continues Edison's tradition of an ever-changing botanical laboratory and garden.