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Bok Tower Gardens named one of the most beautiful gardens in America

A tall tower rising from lush green gardens
Photo via Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens was just named one of the most beautiful gardens in America by Good Plant Care. The home of the singing tower continues to captivate visitors from across the world, and it’s easily worth the drive from Tampa.

This serene Lake Wales-based beauty is 12 on Good Plant Care’s list and was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., the son of the man responsible for New York’s Central Park, and founded by Edward W. Bok. The most defining aspect of these gardens is the 205-foot-tall Singing Tower, which houses a 60-bell carillon. Visitors can wander the nature trails, dotted with rare and endangered species, to the sound of the bells.

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For those who are curious, a carillon is an instrument of at least 23 tuned bells in chromatic series. Cast from bronze, which is composed mainly of copper and tin, and then specially tuned. The bells are “hung dead” meaning that the bells do not swing, only the clappers move. The instrument is fully mechanical (there are no electronics). The carillon art began in the low countries of Belgium and the Netherlands in the 17th century. Today, these countries still have the highest concentrations of carillons.

Bok Tower Gardens has beautiful nature trails

The Gardens cover over 250 acres of rolling hills and spectacular natural landscapes. Its lovely Blue Palmetto Cafe is a resplendent sanctuary after a morning of wandering around the scenic grounds.

Bok Tower’s 1.5-mile Preserve Trail engages and inspires learners of all ages about one of Florida’s most endangered ecosystems and our ongoing restoration efforts. Some of this land is an original Longleaf Pine forest, while some is former citrus grove being restored to Longleaf Pine. It has been paved with pebble rock from phosphate mines, rich in fossils from Central Florida’s “Bone Valley,” which lends an additional regional interest. Along the trail is a parking area and picnic shelter at number 9.

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The Pine Ridge Nature Trail at Bok Tower Gardens is a longleaf pine/turkey oak habitat. The 3/4-mile walking trail takes you through this unique habitat that once covered millions of acres of the Southeastern United States. The longleaf pine forest is now in danger of disappearing. Fortunately, Bok Tower has been able to preserve a portion of this habitat for visitors to experience and learn from.

You can learn more about the area and planning your next excursion by visiting the garden’s website.

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