Guest Blogger: A Nature Lover’s Bucket List

A Nature Lover’s Bucket List
by Lisa Burns, Backyard Getaway
Have you ever created a bucket list? A list of things you want to accomplish, places to see, people to meet, foods to taste, before you…well you get the idea. Being a gardening fan, I have a bucket list of gardens and parks that I hope to one-day visit. Places that give natural inspiration to create something beautiful. Some of the gardens are located throughout the country, but many are right here in our own backyard. I have been fortunate enough to visit a few on my list, a couple more than once. Here is a list of gardens in and around southwest Florida that are truly beautiful and awe inspiring. 
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236 • (941) 366-5731 
Nested in 14 acres and amongst 12 buildings in a brick-laid residential section of Sarasota, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is an open-air and under-glass museum of thousands of colorful and exotics plants. Many of these plants have been collected from the wild on more than 200 scientific expeditions to tropical rain forests by Selby Gardens’ research staff. Selby is a hidden treasure that many people are not aware of. *Nestled in the back of the garden is a beautiful Koi pond with a 4’ high waterfall.
John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art
5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, Florida 34243 • (941) 359-5700
The beauty of the Ringling Museum is not confined to the galleries. The grounds and gardens are also treated and cherished as works of art. Stroll the grounds and enjoy the Rose Garden, Mable’s Secret Garden, the Dwarf Garden, Millennium Tree Trail and other delights of the estate by the bay. *The Rose garden is amazing.
 Florida Botanical Gardens 
12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, FL 33774 • (727) 582-2100
The Florida Botanical Gardens inspires and educates visitors by showcasing flora, fauna and natural resources in motivational surroundings that promote environmentally friendly techniques. Bring the family and spend a day. The Gardens are open every day of the year and admission is free.
 Naples Botanical Garden
4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples, FL 34112 • (239) 643-7275 / (877) 433-1874
In 1993, a group of eight Naples residents founded the Garden with nothing more than the dream of creating a world-class botanical garden. Today visit which includes six cultivated gardens, 2.5 miles of walking trails, and 90-acres of restored native preserve.
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
4700 S.W. 58th Drive, Gainesville, FL 32608 (352) 372-4981
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a 62 acre facility founded, developed, funded and operated by the North Florida Botanical Society, a non-profit educational organization. In 1978, the Society signed a lease agreement with Alachua County whereby it gained access to a 33 acre tract of land for the development of a public botanical garden. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is comprised of 24 major collections visually accessible from a 1 ½ mile paved walkway. *In the summer, visit to see a Victoria Water lily.
 Harry P Leu Gardens
1920 North Forest Avenue, Orlando, FL • (407) 246.2620
Explore an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis minutes from downtown Orlando. Each garden is designed specifically to inspire visitors to appreciate and understand plants. The Leu House Museum located in the heart of the gardens reveals turn-of-the century living for the families who once called this home. The gardens and historical home were donated to the City of Orlando in 1961 by Mr. Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane.
Flamingo Gardens
3750 South Flamingo Road, Davie, FL 33330 (954) 473.2955
Established in 1927, Flamingo Gardens is one of the oldest botanical gardens in South Florida. The 60-acre not-for-profit botanical garden contains over 3000 tropical and sub-tropical species of plants and trees and it’s Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary is home to the largest collection of Florida native wildlife in the state.
USF Botanical Gardens
4202 E. Fowler Avenue NES107, Tampa, FL 33620 • (813) 974-2329
The USF Botanical Gardens is part of the Department of Geography, Environment and Planning in the College of Arts and Sciences. It consists of 16 acres of gardens and greenbelt on the USF Tampa campus. The Gardens maintains a living collection of more than 3,000 of plants, animals and natural habitats.
Bok Tower Gardens
1151 Tower Blvd. Lake Wales, FL 33853 • (863) 676.1408 
Looking up at the 205 foot neo-Gothic and art deco Singing Tower carillon is an experience like no other. Designed by famed architect Milton B. Medary and ornately crafted by noted stone sculptor Lee Lawrie, the Tower houses one of the world’s finest carillons. Concerts from the 60 bell carillon fill the Gardens daily. Edward Bok’s Singing Tower was sited at the highest elevation south of the reflection pool, so the water reflects its full image. Tranquil resting places, shady recesses, picturesque vistas and expansive splashes of color create a contemplative setting for your enjoyment.
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, FL 33156 • (305) 667.1651
Behind the seemingly natural beauty of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden lies a carefully orchestrated blend of science and art. Documented botanical specimens provide valuable resources in science and education, while horticultural displays and the classic landscape design by William Lyman Phillips offer visitors an unforgettable aesthetic experience.
Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach, FL 33446 • (561) 495-0233
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens has been a center for Japanese arts and culture in South Florida since its opening in 1977. The Morikami invites guests to discover South Fl, south floridaorida’s heritage and connection with Japan, and explore a series of six diverse gardens inspired by a different historical period & style of Japanese gardening.
Lisa Burns is co-owner of Backyard Getaway, with her husband Dave. Backyard Getaway is a family-owned and operated pond service and retail pond & water garden supply business that grew from a hobby into a passion. Whether you prefer a Koi pond, a water garden with beautiful lilies, a wildlife habitat, a pondless waterfall, a pool waterfall or even a pet friendly pond for your dog, Backyard Getaway will create your perfect getaway in your own backyard. Lisa and Dave offer professional & personalized water garden & pond design, installation & pond maintenance services. For more information, visit their website: lisa@backyardgetaway.netPhone: (941) 752.7663

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2 Responses to Guest Blogger: A Nature Lover’s Bucket List

  1. Heather says:

    Deepest thanks, Lisa, for this guide to all of the phenomenal gardens in our area!

  2. B Langford says:

    Great article Lisa! I feel a one tank garden trip coming on!


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