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Bok Tower Gardens June 25, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Nature, Travel & Leisure.

Early May, we drove across state to Bok Tower Gardens, a national historic landmark in Lake Wales.

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Established in 1929 by Edward W. Bok as a gift to the American people, the 50-acre garden was designed by noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.

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The acres include ferns, palms, oaks, pine, flowering foliage, fountains, and wide expanses of manicured lawns.

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This flower waved at us from its shady perch . . .

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This plant’s radiant spikes caught our attention . . .

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Here’s some perspective on the size of its spikes . . .

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In the midst of the greenery stands the 205-foot-tall marble and coquina Singing Tower.

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Each day, a carilloner climbs into the tower to present a concert on the 60-bell carillon.

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The bells range in size from 22,000 pounds to 12 pounds.

After the tower’s construction, the bells got lifted into position through an opening now filled with this sundial.

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The grounds include a Visitor Center and Museum with changing art exhibits and a 9-minute introductory video about the Tower and the Gardens ~> an air-conditioned oasis on the HOT day we visited.

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The gardens are quiet, peaceful, and contemplative, especially when the carillon’s peals ring out from the Singing Tower.

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The site also includes Pinewood Estate and Gardens ~ a one-of-a-kind 1930’s Mediterranean style home surrounded by rolling hills and crowds of blooms.

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Wandering a remote path near Pinewood Estate, we found a baby scrub jay out of its nest.

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After giving it water and building a lean-to to shield it from the sun, we returned to the 20-room mansion to alert a director ~ she hoped to find someone knowledgeable enough to save the baby bird.

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Also on site ~ a Gift Shop, a Plant Shop, and the Blue Palmetto Cafe.

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After admiring the sights and sounds while walking 2-3 miles around and around the grounds with the blazing sun beating down, we climbed into our air-conditioned chariot for the ride home.

Aah . . . that’s better!

And now a few quotes for the Three Quote Challenge (thanks, Sylvia!):

* The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. ~ Alfred Austin

* My family lived off the land; summer evening meals featured baked stuffed tomatoes, potato salad, corn on the cob, fresh shelled peas and homemade ice cream with strawberries from our garden. With no air conditioning, the cool porch was the center of our universe after the scorching days. ~ David Mixner

* If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

If you want to play along, consider yourself nominated.  Then swing by Another Day in Paradise to see how many rules I failed to follow.



1. Don - June 25, 2015

Looks like a beautiful place Nancy. Loved the images and the quotes.

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

Thanks, Don. Hope you find yourself enjoying an English Garden from time to time.

2. suzicate - June 25, 2015

What a beautiful tower! Did you get to hear the music of the bells?

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

We did. Heard all of a 30 minute concert while wandering about, plus the bells rang out 4x an hour, every 15 minutes throughout our visit.

3. Val Boyko - June 25, 2015

Quite amazing. The tower is an interesting mixture of styles and very impressive!
The baby jay did good. She was saved by some loving peeps who gave her a little water and shielded her from the sun.

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

When we found it, I thought it was dead. After a little water, it revived and moved around with purpose ~ a Will to Live ~ and it seemed to appreciate the lean to’s shade.

Fingers crossed, it made it.

Val Boyko - June 25, 2015

Nature works. We can help. xo

4. Jill Weatherholt - June 25, 2015

Thanks for the excellent tour, Nancy. What a beautiful place and the tower is amazing.

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

If we lived closer, we would get an Annual Pass. The gardens are so serene. Next time we visit, we’ll pick a cooler day. 😎

5. Ally Bean - June 25, 2015

I was there when I was a kid, but most of what you wrote here escaped my notice. My interests were elsewhere, I suppose. Must add this to list of places to see. Your tour was enticing. Thank you.

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

Thanks, Ally Bean. I may have picked up more history because being in the air conditioned Visitor’s Center felt SO GOOD!!!

If we’d gone on a cooler day, I’m sure we would have spent the entire visit wandering the grounds rather than soaking up the displays indoors.

6. anotherday2paradise - June 25, 2015

What a beautiful place, Nancy. I can imagine how hot and tired your feet must have been after walking so far in the heat. Love the garden quotes, especially the Cicero one. 🙂

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

Glad you enjoyed the garden quotes posted for the challenge. We’re used to walking 2-3 miles at a stretch on the beach, but the heat and humidity were a bit much.

We felt WILTED by the time we got to the car!

anotherday2paradise - June 25, 2015

Wilted is a great word. 😳

7. Pix Under the Oaks - June 25, 2015

Awesome place, Nancy. I like the last quote but would have to add a PORCH! 😀 Good Morning!

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

Good addition, Pix! Screened porches are the perfect adjunct for a garden OR a library. .

8. L. Marie - June 25, 2015

I’m glad you took us all with you, Nancy. I’m glad that little flower waved to you, despite the awful heat. Looks like the flower has friends. How lovely.

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

Thanks, Linda. We would like to go back sometime when the temps are a bit cooler. Even in the heat, the grounds are peace filled and inviting.

9. Anne Lene - June 25, 2015

What a beautiful place. And I liked the last quote! Thankfully I have both a garden and library 😉

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

You’re all set then, Anne. Plus you’ve cleared out some clutter to give you the time and space to enjoy them both.

Anne Lene - June 25, 2015

Absolutely 🙂

10. NancyTex - June 25, 2015

What a lovely place! Thanks for sharing.

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

It’s a great spot for walking ~ there are miles of trails around the hilltop . . . we opted to save them for a cooler day.

NancyTex - June 25, 2015

smart move!

11. Kate Crimmins - June 25, 2015

Beautiful place!

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

The grounds are lovely ~ even on a warm day.

12. Behind the Story - June 25, 2015

Bok Tower Gardens seems to have a little bit of everything for a pleasant outing. Loved the Singing Tower with its carillon concerts. Among their many designs across the country, the Olmsted brothers designed more than a dozen parks in Seattle and the Washington State Capital grounds.

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

Talented siblings for sure. Have you been to any of the parks they designed. This one impressed us..

13. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - June 25, 2015

Wow, so lovely!!

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

Perfect spot for a picnic!

14. diannegray - June 25, 2015

I absolutely love carillons, Nancy. I don’t know about the spikes on that plant though – yikes!

Never a truer word was spoken- “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need”. Love it! 😀

nrhatch - June 25, 2015

I didn’t check to see whether the spike had sharp edges, but it looked dangerous. :mrgreen:

15. Tiny - June 26, 2015

That was a beautiful tour! This place looks very serene, and you did well walking so long in this heat. And helped to rescue a baby bird in the process. Thanks for taking us along…in air-conditioned comfort!

nrhatch - June 26, 2015

Thanks, Tiny. We plan to go back and hike around the gardens and grounds on a day when temps are in the mid-70’s. 😎

16. granny1947 - June 27, 2015

What a lovely place. Bok, in South Africa, is the Afrikaans word for buck….thought you were over here!!!!

nrhatch - June 27, 2015

And BOK made lots of BUCKS in publishing! :mrgreen:

17. Grannymar - June 27, 2015

That looks like my kinda place … on a cooler day!

nrhatch - June 27, 2015

Yes! After your walk, you could have tea in the cafe or knit on a park bench while listening to wind chimes.

Grannymar - June 28, 2015


18. Debra - June 29, 2015

This tower is absolutely incredible! I would love this garden and all that surrounds it. 🙂 I only recently learned that Olmstead was responsible for at least one Southern California park. Nothing like this, however. 🙂

nrhatch - June 29, 2015

The gardens are gorgeous and “hilly” ~> a rarity for Florida. The Tower sits on one of the highest points on the FL peninsula.

19. Inion N. Mathair - June 29, 2015

We’re new to your blog by way of fellow blogger, Brick House Chick. Can’t wait to show my daughter. She’s going to gobble this up. What exquisite pictures. Thank you for sharing them. Headed off to knock around your blog & get to know you better. 😉

nrhatch - June 29, 2015

Welcome, friends of BHC! Mi casa es su casa . . .

20. Eileen - July 7, 2015

Lovely. Where in FLorida?

nrhatch - July 7, 2015

We live on the Gulf Coast, near Anna Maria Island.

21. jannatwrites - September 9, 2015

That looks like a beautiful place to visit. I bet it was not only hot, but a bit humid, too. (Then again, living in Arizona for so long, everywhere seems humid, hahaha)

nrhatch - September 9, 2015

Yes! Hot and Humid is the name of the game for Florida during the summer months. We are beginning to glimpse patches of cooler weather.

Aah . . . that’s better!

22. prior.. - June 7, 2018

came here from ally bean’s comment and so glad you left the link – this is a similar post and wonderful job here – looks gorgeous

nrhatch - June 7, 2018

Welcome, prior! Ally’s post reminded me of our introduction to carillons. Bok Tower Gardens is a pretty place.

prior.. - June 7, 2018


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