I am just back from Florida and wanted to share with you all some of the sights of sunny Florida this time of the year. While we here in Tennessee are in the 20s-40s mid Florida enjoyed temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Wow! It was rather warm. I loved the tropical air and the gardens too. I am not so sure I'd love them so much in the summer but for March it wasn't so bad.
A sight we can see here in Tennessee this time of the year is a camellia. The one shown above was growing amongst many more in a public garden held privately, called Bok Tower Gardens. It's cultivar was listed as 'Akashigata'.
To my understanding, Bok Tower gardens and the adjoining Mediterranean styled mansion (to be posted later) are gardens the public can visit but they are held in a private foundation's hands. That is what I mean by public garden held privately. Therefore, this attraction must be self sufficient because I don't believe it gets any endowments from the government. For further information check the website.
On our way to the mansion, named Pinewood, we passed a Gopher Tortoise crossing sign. And lo and behold there was the tortoise! Our cart driver knew right where he was sunning and stopped so I could snap a photo. According to this website gopher tortoises are one of the oldest living species and it originated in the United States 60 million years ago. It is on Florida's endangered list so of course, in this garden, you must protect it, hence the sign to watch for these tortoises crossing. Tortoises are land dwellers; a big difference from turtles.
You can't visit Florida without seeing large elephant ears.
Or tangerine trees. These trees are part of the garden belonging to the Pinewood Mansion. More on that next week. I was intrigued by their topiary form. Most of the tangerines had been picked a few weeks ago when these trees were trimmed.
A perfect view of the gardens, complete with Spanish moss draped off from the tree.
Finally, a highlight of our visit was the HUGE koi pond. Our cart driver also told us there was a tilapia pond just below this one but we did not get to see it. These koi were gigantic. There was a nearby feeder dispenser that we were able to buy some food to feed the koi. Mr. Fix-it enjoyed hand feeding this big female.
More on Bok Tower Gardens next week. As always, I like to highlight military friendly places to visit. While Bok Towers is not a major attraction as compared to Disney it is still a wonderful place to visit and as a bonus, offers a 50% discount for military! You can't beat that. The atmosphere is laid back, unhurried, and delightful. There was a wonderful restaurant that served organic food and was reasonably priced. The reasonably priced part is oftentimes hard to find in attractions like this. If you ever get the chance to visit the middle of Florida look up Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales....
in the garden....