Friday, January 15, 2016

Sunken Gardens of St.Petersburg

These botanical gardens have been a landmark of St.Petersburg since 1935.  In 1903 it was the property of George Turner,Sr.,a plumber and avid gardener.  He drained a shallow lake, which had filled an ancient sinkhole and dropped 15 feet below street level to provide a rich soil to grow fruits and exotic plants from all over the world.  By 1924 his garden was attracting visitors from around the world and Turner began charging 25 cents for a stroll through them.  In 1999 it was purchased by the city of St.Petersburg.
I was at first struck by the sight of the magnificent Royal Palms, but there are many other different kinds of palms in the gardens which are equally beautiful.  Meandering walkways also took us past many tropical displays with vibrant flowering plants.  There is also a section of the garden with a few orchids currently in bloom, and a cactus garden. 
Not surprising,  since 1935 it has been the favorite site for many weddings.
The gardens have 100 varieties of the croton plant, pictured above.  According to a garden sign this plant once originated in the islands of Indonesia, and is a "genetically unstable tropical plant".  It has a propensity to sport, or branch off from its parent plant.  It is also pollinated by ants (and later by man), so its evolutionary process has brought about endless varieties in cultivation today. 
The gardens are a wonderful place for toddlers to wander.  Our grandson Nathan enjoyed reading the signs to us ( or at least pointing out the letters he does know).  I think that at one time there were more exotic wildlife than there are presently.  All we saw was one alligator snapping turtle, two flamingos, and the ponds have fat koi fish swimming in them.  Nathan certainly enjoyed adding to their obesity!

1 comment:

  1. Very nice! I've posted on