The last time I was in Charleston missed the turn into my cousin’s development, but that meant I drove right past this gem of a place. I knew I’d want to visit when I came back this time. It was founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, and consequently endured and survived our county’s history as the country was born, and as it struggled with the American Revolution as well as the Civil War. It’s said to be the oldest public garden in the county, opening in 1870, and continuing today.
I’ve hardly put a dent in the pictures I took today. It was a good day.
Purple flowers weren’t always my favorite, but purple and black were Charley’s high school colors, Mt. St. Joe in ‘Bawlmer’, and then when we got a football team after a long stretch without one, tough for a town like Baltimore who supports its teams, purple and black turned out to be the Raven’s colors, too. So when we moved to Florida Charley wanted only purple flowers in the yard, and I guess it rubbed off on me because that’s what catches my eye these days. I’ve been seeing photos of flowers lately, and I guess that’s what gave me the idea of going to the Nature Coast Botanical Garden today, and my first view didn’t give me a clue that there had been so much pruning going on in the garden. But once I was inside I saw all the trimmed up plants and knew that it will be a lot more colorful in the coming weeks. But it was beautiful, and there was a surprise in store.
I will return before too long because there is a nice butterfly garden here also, and in a few weeks the flowers won’t be the only colorful photo ops here…
It wasn’t easy trying to get to the site of the festivities in Tarpon Springs the other day, what with so many streets blockaded and such. Eventually I realized that I was close enough to where I was supposed to meet my son to just park (legally) on one of the side streets and walk to the meeting point. That worked well. The trick came when I had to walk back to my car with only a vague notion of where it was parked. I walked the side streets and parking lots to get there, and to my amazement I came across the lovely mural of Mother Meres tucked away on one of those side streets. Of course I took a picture and Googled her story once I got home.
It seems that Mother Meres was born Amelia Petzold Meres in Germany in 1845, and came to the US as a child of 5. In 1882 she moved to Tarpon Springs with her husband and she ran the Fern Hotel there. According to a story published in the Tarpon Springs Tribune this mural was dedicated in her honor in 2010, 84 years after her death in 1923. It credits her accomplishments as planting cyads, which eventually gave the Tarpon Springs Cycadia Cemetery it’s name. She threw the first Christmas Party in the area, and helped to plant trees to beautify the town. If I had done my homework I would have found the Kapok Tree Inn and taken a picture because she is credited with providing the seeds for the tree that gave it it’s name.
After her death in 1923 her gardens became a gathering place for the town, but they were mostly turned into parking lots in the 1950s. So this mural was created to thank her for lasting gifts her love of plants and nature have left for the town all these years later.
This statue sits in front of the library so I thought that it’s story was probably self-explanatory. But what a lovely statue it is, I wish I’d taken time for a few more pictures but we were rushing to the waterfront for the main event of the day. It seems there is more to Tarpon Springs than just the sponge docks…
I had my doubts about what there would be to see at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens in November. And yes I took lots of pictures of flowers, but they weren’t anything I couldn’t have taken any time, even in my local Publix. I may have been spoiled after having been to Heritage Village in Sandwich, MA during a summer visit. Nothing I’ve ever seen has compared to that for sheer numbers of flowers. So I deleted those pictures once I got to the ones we had taken on the trails in the garden. Now walking those trails was quite a different experience from any botanical garden I’d ever been to before.
Again we were climbing up and down, and I for one was ready to sit on a bench and enjoy the view of this red bridge we spotted. Maybe we could wait for people to walk across it, but when they did we were disappointed, some faced away from us, and no one stopped for a kiss right at the top of the bridge. Of course we could have hollered out our suggestions, but we controlled ourselves.
As we continued to sit on that bench a group of young people came into view. Betty had spotted them before because of their dazzling white shoes. They were dressed alike also, and we said that we should get them to walk over the bridge with those shoes. But they did better than that, they began to dance.
I thought that someone was filming them and I so wanted to suggest that they cross that bridge and perform for the camera, by that I mean our camera, but I didn’t. They never seemed to notice that red bridge just to the right of where they were dancing. And one last person crossed the bridge, dressed in red as Betty pointed out, so we took a last picture and went on our way.