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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

touring historic lake wales, florida

mom and i spent a day together last week in lake wales. our first stop was chalet suzanne for a 7 course, leisurely, talk-all-we-want lunch. thanks, mom. it had been many years since we had visited this part of florida.

"A favorite of celebrities, Chalet Suzanne has a proud heritage and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On the property are five dining rooms, 30 guest rooms, a landing strip for airplanes, a gift shop, Spa, the Ceramic Salon, a Cannery for soups and sauces, citrus groves and a small experimental vineyard."

this was the view taken through the window from the dining room... with an anhinga in one snag and a little blue heron in the other.

flowers, fountains, statues, and an abundance of butterflies surround the structures on the acreage.

white peacock

zebra longwing

after our ample meal (my fav - carrot cake for dessert) it was on to bok sanctuary and gardens a few miles away. in 1922, Edward Bok decided to create a sanctuary for birds and people in Florida because he was so awed by the beauty of Iron Mountain. (until this tour i never knew we had mountains in florida. hmmm.. more like a hill ... but even a hill in florida is something to be pondered.) mr. bok acquired a large tract of sandy soil covered with pines and palmettos and hired a landscape architect to transform the area into a sanctuary that would "touch the soul with its beauty and quiet."

Mr. Bok decided to add a 205' carillon tower to be a visual and aural centerpiece for the garden. It is a majestic marble and coquina belltower housing 60 bronze bells ranging in weight from 16 pounds to nearly 12 tons. it is one of 4 carillons in florida. the carillon delights visitors with 30 minute concerts every day.

mr. bok claims to have been inspired by the words of his grandmother, "make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it."

the view from "iron mountain"

it was a beautifully quiet day in the gardens with perfect temps. we stayed to watch the sunset which didn't disappoint in its painting the sky a glorious pink and orange.

i'll share the flowers and wildlife of bok gardens in another post.


  1. I love Bok Gardens - such a peaceful place. The sunset photo is fabulous, Meems. I must get to Chalet Suzanne sometime. It looks like a really cool place, and I've heard the food is scrumptious.

  2. What was the cost like at CS? I'm thinking the MIL would like Bok for a day trip.

    All the photos were lovely, but my favorite hands down was the "view from the mountain."

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. susan: good description-- it is a most peaceful place. we didn't have enough time to really check out CS but what we did see was quite unique and quaint. the food was not what i would call scrumptious (and i had heard the same thing) but very decent.

    mlm: she would love Bok Gardens! great idea.


Have a blessed day,

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