UPDATE - Daintree Arboretum is now a proud member of the Botanic Gardens Conservation International, the largest network of botanic gardens and plant conservation experts in the world! Connecting people, sharing knowledge, and saving plants! Welcome to the webpage of Daintree Arboretum – My backyard greenhouse, which (I am fairly confident) is Idaho’s largest and most unique collection of rare tropical fruit trees and plants!
Heated by a natural gas furnace in the winter, and cooled by shady breezes during the blistering high desert summers, the greenhouse is a perfect tropical habitat for many plants that are not often cultivated outside of their native range.
I started the arboretum in 2009, and grew mainly ornamental houseplants. But the tropical fruit tree “bug” bit a couple of years later and I began to collect seeds from around the tropical world, to see if could get them to thrive in the environment I had created. Sometimes that has worked splendidly, and sometimes, not so much.
A question I often get from visitors is “how tall will that tree get?” to which I reply 10 ft, 2 inches. Then they ask about the next tree, and the next, and the next. They always receive the same answer. After 2 or so trees (or 20, depending on the cleverness of the guest!), they finally realize that the ceiling height of the arboretum is 10 ft, 2 inches…
Of course, now I wish I had built higher foundation walls, but hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it?
The arboretum is named after the Daintree rainforest, which is located on the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia. It is part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In fact, it is here that two World Heritage sites overlap, as the Daintree mangroves have grown right into the sea, joining with the Great Barrier Reef. The Daintree rainforest has an extensive variety of endangered plants, marsupials and birds. When my husband and I travelled there in 2002, we fell in love with it, and named our greenhouse Daintree as a tribute to this marvelous and fragile ecosystem.
Daintree Arboretum currently hosts over 75 unique species (of which about 65 are edible!), and more than 120 individual specimens. Quite a job keeping it up, but it is a labor of love.
We hope you enjoy this virtual tour as much as we love our real-life Idaho tropical paradise!