Field Trip: Sunken Gardens


Sunken Gardens

In 1903, George Turner, Sr., had an idea.

The plumber and garden enthusiast had recently purchased a plot of land with a shallow lake in St. Petersburg, FL. He decided to drain the lake and turn it into his very own sunken garden.  By 1935, he started to charge admission, making his Sunken Gardens one of the oldest roadside attractions in the country.

So, let’s jump in the car and take a Sunday drive.

Sunken Gardens

Once entering the garden, a cement path guides visitors around and through lush, jungle-like landscaping. Ultimately, the path winds downward to what was once the bottom of Turner’s shallow lake.

Sunken Gardens

Water continues to play an important role in the life of the garden.  Not only does it give a place for water plants to bloom, like the water lily at the top of this post, but it’s also a home for wildlife, like this turtle and flock of flamingoes (pictured below).

Sunken Gardens

Sunken Gardens

When visiting a garden, it’s always a treat to spot something that you have growing in your own garden.  That’s the thrill I felt when I spotted this Australian Tree Fern.  I have a much, much smaller one growing in my yard — and now I cannot wait for it to reach a fuller size.

Sunken Gardens

Look upward to see bromeliads growing along the branch of a Live Oak.

Sunken Gardens

Much of the gardens are shades of green, which provides a beautiful backdrop for the bursts of color hidden throughout .  For the plants I know, I’ve identified the flowers in the captions.  For the plants I don’t know, I’m open to suggestions.

This Pink Powder Puff reminds me of an exploding firework.

This Pink Powder Puff reminds me of an exploding firework.

Ginger.

Ginger.

Sunken Gardens

Bromeliad. It sort of looks like a torch.

Bromeliad. It sort of looks like a torch.

Sunken Gardens

The fiddlehead curl of an opening tendril.

Orchid.

Orchid.

Staghorn Fern.

Staghorn Fern.

Sunken Gardens

I loved the curls of this mass of vines. They look as if they could have been drawn over the path.

I loved the curls of this mass of vines. They look as if they could have been drawn over the path.

Sunken Gardens, one of the hidden treasures of St. Pete, offers both tours and educational programs.  It’s currently owned and operated by the City of St. Petersburg, with volunteers helping to maintain it.

Buckle up . . . We have one more stop!

6 thoughts on “Field Trip: Sunken Gardens

    • Hi Donna. The real ones are beautiful, but I have a soft spot for the plastic ones — speaking of which, I have a pair of old metal ones that belonged to my great uncle. Very vintage!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s