Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gardens in Sinkholes?

Sunken Gardens is a wonderful creation in a rather strange place located in a very nondescript area of St Petersburg, Florida. This garden was created by a plumber who was an a devoted gardener named George Turner Sr in 1903. For the next 50 years he developed this 4 acre sinkhole into a pretty spectacular spot where he kept a rather extensive collection of tropical plantings. Today the gardens has over 500 different species and as many as 50,000 plants in an environment of waterfalls and ponds. Some of the Koi are bigger than children! There are assorted creatures from a ridiculously large snapping turtle in a tiny pond that should be set loose to Chilean Flamingos and a variety of other plumed beasts. The garden tries to reach for areas that are not its forte such as a Japanese garden and a desert garden. The land these two occupy would be better served with more wondrous tropicals, but these are not without problems. St Petersburg is not a totally tropical location and yearly cold spells force the staff to put out as many as 130 space heaters to keep the really tender tropicals from freezing completely. The garden is now associated with a Children's museum that serves a greater and bigger good. All will enjoy themselves in this great spot. Best of all the sinkhole is a great place to escape the heat at street level just 15 feet above.

One of the many ponds

These were the largest Koi I have ever seen (even if the picture does not do them justice).

One of the many terraces throughout the maze of paths, ponds and waterfalls

Some pretty spectacular blue flowers I have never seen before. I have to find out what these are and unfortunately much of the garden is not labeled.

Terrestrial orchids like our NJ local Bletilla

The magical rare Mussaendra which I hunt in all my tropical travels

Brugmansia in all its glory loves the sinkhole. They have it in every color version that exists white, pink, peach and a variations of all of these.

A shot looking up one of the trumpets

The native vegetation of Florida is quite magnificent specially when compounded with crystal spring waters such as in this shot at the Weeki Wachii Springs State Park in Florida. Here the famous manatees that inspired our mermaid myths swim in their native habitat. When you finish your boat tour of the native spring you are free to swim in its cool 72 degree waters. It was incredibly refreshing and my cousins were screaming of how cold it was. They are used to the gulf water which in now are at 86 degrees and climbing. In another area crowds were amused in an underground theater watching teenagers in mermaid outfits swim around to the tune of piped music. I wanted so much to leave the controlled swim area and enter the underwater stage and really give my cousins a Show!

1 comment:

  1. Nice place.. And that plumber who created that place is really creative.
    plumbing tampa fl