Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida ~ Water & Vistas

Swan swimming under the bridge in the moat at Bok Tower Gardens
These photos are from the visit that my husband and I took to Bok Tower Gardens in 2009. It is located just two hours south of Orlando, Florida amid the beautiful orange groves of Lake Wales, FL. The setting is amazing - especially in February, when fleeing from a snow-bound Pennsylvania!

An excerpt from Bok's about the garden:
In 1921, Edward W. Bok was spending the winter months in the residential mountain lake community located adjacent to one of the highest hills of Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge, 298 feet above sea level. He enjoyed taking evening walks to the top of “Iron Mountain,” among the virgin pines and sandhill scrub, to enjoy Florida’s dramatic sunsets and bird life. The idea came to him to preserve this hilltop and create a bird sanctuary – a place of beauty, serenity and peace.
In Part 1: Paths & Plantings, I shared some of the beautifully designed paths by renowned American landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.. In Part 2, I have included photos of the calming pools and also of the distant views provided from the garden's high vantage point.

Part 2: Water & Vistas
The vista/approach to the garden is beautiful from a mile away; the carillon Tower rising above the orange orchards.

After you have climbed the hill, through winding paths, you are greeted by the reflection in the Tower moat.
The banks are lush with azaleas, palms and other tropicals, all draped in misty Spanish moss.
Following the azalea-spotted paths to the left, through a palm grove.
A view of a palm-covered island is seen from the left side of the moat.
Walking further on, you can see the front bank and peep at the garden swans.
View of the left side of the Tower. It was completed in 1929, using neo-Gothic and art deco styles, with a sort of Florida fusion.
Mr. Swan caught showing off in the moat.
The moat is truly captivating in its garden-refined reflections.
Strolling along behind the tower, you begin to notice some distant views...
A collection of live oaks (Quercus virginiana) create a cathedral effect right up to the edge of Iron Mountain.
The orange fields below stretch as far as you can see in all directions.
One last water view before leaving Bok...
Great Blue Heron landing silently on the wildlife pond, just beyond the lookout. 
It appears that Mr. Bok was successful in his dream of creating a place of peace for birds and people alike.

See Part 1: Paths & Plantings


  1. One of my favorite Botanical Gardens to visit. Great photos!! :-)

  2. Breathtaking photos! ...we've been hoping to go back to down to Florida sometime in the next few years...I would love to see this in person, it looks so peaceful. Thank you for sharing : )

  3. The tower on the property is sited so beautifully, and the swans make such a nice addition. Who would not like this garden?

  4. What a wonderful garden. The reflections of the trees and the swans in the water are magical. Then I saw your last photos. Herons are so elegant in flight.

  5. I love that tower and how it reflects against the water and mature garden. I wonder what it looked like when it was first built....fascinating place...beyond beautiful. Lucky birds.

  6. What a lovely setting! It is so majestic and yet tranquil. Your captures of the birds are stunning! I have awarded you the Versatile Blogger award. I really enjoy reading your posts on landscape design and all the planning you put into your garden. You can grab your badge from my latest post! Have a great weekend!

  7. Ah, take me away! We're planning to be in Florida in February or March next year, so I'll add the gardens to my to-do list. Thanks for sharing the amazing photos and all the great info!

  8. I visited Bok Gardens in 2009, too. Definitely worth the trip. I particularly like the last photo of the blue heron landing.

  9. So pretty! I love the heron photo! I would enjoy a visit just to view the wildlife, but the gardens are wonderful. The view of the orange fields took my breath away. Thanks for sharing your visit!


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