A Visit to the Tower
| I last visited Bok Tower,
now known as Historic Bok Sanctuary, as a small boy. I now wish I
had returned often, for it is a place that every Floridian and seasonal
visitor should cherish and enjoy. After all, it is a gift to the
American people from a grateful man whose success he attributed to them.
I approached the tower, traveling through sweet smelling orange groves to rise to an altitude of 298 feet. This is high for a Floridian in a state with topography ranging from 0-345 feet. What I found there was a place of peace and tranquility, in sun and shade, where I could explore, learn and rest; where I could soak up the beauty and come away feeling better about the world around me.
As a plant lover, I viewed much color, form and texture. All the plants were beautifully labeled, so I could learn more about them. Once you put a name on something, it gives it more meaning. Once people can name the "green" around them, they may be more inclined to learn more about it and to preserve it. One can see exotic plants from many lands, as well as our native plants and animals. Bok Sanctuary is involved in efforts to better understand and preserve Florida's plant and animal "treasures".
The tower is a work of art in shape and form and sound, crafted from stone and glass, that fills the air with the mellow peal of bells. This structure ties mankind and nature together, a beacon that draws you to it. How could I have stayed away so long?
In the future, we hope that visitors will be able to view some of the best annual bedding plants available to Floridians for our Florida gardens in a partnership between Historic Bok Sanctuary and other participating public gardens in Central Florida.
The staff at Bok Sanctuary were very friendly and helpful during my visit and meeting. I would like to thank David Price, Director of Horticulture, and his horticulture staff for taking the time to reintroduce me to the gardens and for working with me on the best-of-class bedding plant project.
Visit the Historic Bok Sanctuary web page: http://www.boktower.org/. There is so much more to see and learn, and it changes season to season at Historic Bok Sanctuary. I know I'll be back, and often.
Visit all the wonderful public gardens in Florida. They can be found at this link: http://www.floridaplants.com/flgardens/regional.htm.
Click on the thumbnails below to see more pictures of my visit.
The first Best-of-Class Display of Annual Bedding Plants
|This section contains a few photographs of the first display of best-of-class annual bedding plants, as well as a few other displays. There were many more that were not photographed. These best-of-class plants are still young; thus, they have not yet put on a full display. There were many more flower beds of annuals not shown here.|
|Director of Horticulture, David Price, in front young best-of-class pansies and viols.||Young best-of-class violas and pansies.||More young best-of-class violas and pansies.||One of the many garden displays found throughout the landscape.||A snow flurry of pink salvia buds and blossoms.||More violas.||Red begonias brighten up the landscape after the azalea color is spent.|
|The tower framed by Florida's state tree, the cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto)||The tallest palm in the picture to the left was dedicated by Mrs. Calvin Coolidge in 1929.||Framed view of tower from reflecting pond.||View of tower near the base.||Tower view from the sundial side.||The tower sundial.||Algerian ivy with red begonias in the background.|
|Tree ferns.||Bamboo with unique stone walkway.||Lantern given by Japanese in 1955.||Fountain planting.||Winter home of C. Austin Buck, vice president of Bethlehem Steel.||Buck house with begonias used in pots and landscape.||Pathway to Buck home framed by Cuban oil jars.|
|Globally endangered Jujube (Ziziphus celata) with bag protecting flower pollination.||Young cluster of eastern lubber grasshoppers on Jujube.||Clivia flowers.||View of the countryside from the highpoint near the tower.||Grotto-like recess of ferns and firecracker plant on a path from the Buck home lined with kumquats.||Potted plants like this flowering succulent add portable contrast color and interest to the landscape.||Another Buck house garden and fountain.|
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