I was tired and needed a recharge. Green space, the smell of the earth, cozy space in the wild. This is what I needed. But I wanted more than a walk through the woods. I needed an infusement of color and wonder. I wanted flowers.
Being as it was still winter and I was in the land of alligators and palm trees, I knew I would be hard pressed to find many flowers in abundance. Luck found me that day though, and my tiny home on wheels happened to make its way right into the Florida Botanical Gardens.
I don’t typically look at maps my first walk through a garden, so when I walked right into the butterfly garden from the multiple path choices I knew luck really was with me.
Enthusiasm and joy filled me immediately. A vivid orange flower, a Bishop of Oxford Dahlia, sprung from the earth to greet me. It seemed to be emanating light from within, shining brightly enough to break through the gloomy afternoon haze.
Entranced and smiling I got lost in the world of my Velvet 85. With the macro abilities of my Lensbaby I was able to capture every little detail of this magical little flower, intent on spreading its joy.
And I spent a good amount of time doing just that.
While the day was grey and heavy rain clouds drifted above, the Florida Botanical Garden did not disappoint. Instead the grounds and its flowers seemed to make it their mission to find any bit of sunlight that escaped and share it abundantly with its guests.
The butterfly garden was small but tidily kept with hidden paths and patches of wonder. Taking my time I wound through the trees and took in the strong earthy scent. Which if you ask me, is the best part of enjoying the outdoors, especially a garden, on a crisp rainy day.
After enjoying the butterfly garden I decided to follow the decorative path and learned more about the nature and fauna found in the Florida Botanical Garden and horticulture in the surrounding area. I was shocked to learn about so many invasive plant species. I was also pleasantly surprised to see the garden was taking such a strong approach to the matter and sharing their knowledge and resources with everyone they can. It was apparent they were taking great strides in keeping a balanced and thriving environment in the Florida area.
After a short informative walk I came to a wonderful little bridge. With new knowledge circling in my head, I stood and took in the lovely view of the McKay Creek Pavilion.
I wondered if I saw it differently than I would have had I not read the descriptive informational boards along the way. Would I have noticed the vines creeping through the brush, or the large amounts of water lilies that blocked the light and thrived with the waters oxygen. If I had not this new insight, would I still have taken this same picture.
Feeling dreamy and introspective I wandered along the waters edge and eventually found myself in “The Wedding Garden”. And while most people there were admiring the gorgeous statues, sculptured landscapes and fountains, I was now seeing details.
This is how I spent the next half hour enthralled and lost in a trance to a small patch of China Pink Flowers.
At first glance, I saw a lovely little field with flat white flowers, embellished with frilly edges and a deep red and sometimes pink center. But the closer I got the more I saw. It wasn’t just about the vivid burst of color, or even the fine valleys carved through each leaf; it was about the strong emotions that bubbled up as I let everything else fall away and took in only the presence of the flower.
These flowers felt like yearning and love. Each of them touching. Lovingly laying their petals against each other. As if finally home and in an -at long last embrace.
The sweetness of the moment made me look up inspired. I was sure the flower I was thinking of had to be near by. I was in The Wedding Garden after all.
I hadn’t seen a rose in months. Winter in the Florida Botanical Gardens well-kept landscape felt like a fairytale. This along with the magical mood that was burgeoning in me, lent an intense reaction upon sighting the rose. A nostalgia stirred. One that had lay deep in my heart came to the surface, filling my chest.
Unable to put my finger on the emotion suddenly born, I again let the world, and myself, fall away behind me and let my Velvet 85 show me the unspoken beauty before me.
The beauty of the blossomed rose, and the intricacies held among her petals, kept me spellbound. As the rose often seems to do.
Leaving the presence of the rose I walked through the gardens now hyper-aware. I was taken in with natures design and saw art abloom all around me.
From the strike contrast of Green and Yellow blades interweaving, to water droplets clinging to the air as they burst from a fountain.
I was transfixed with the captivating gardens and felt the universe had indeed led me to a wondrous place.
On the stone path outside of the Wedding Garden I found myself walking through a Palm Garden, a Tropical Courtyard filled with Bromeliads, and an Azalea Garden.
The Azaleas caught my special attention with their delicate petals dramatically peeking from the shadows. They seemed feminine in their fragile beauty. Yet the harsh light falling showed a darkness that made them seem stronger in a way.
Feminine strength seemed to be a theme of sorts in this area of the garden. With the Crown of Thorns showy pink petals adorned with large thorns along their stems and the always beautiful begonias blooming close by.
Rich, bold colors were to be found all over the McKay Creek Plaza in the Florida Botanical Gardens. The swirls of flowers petals and vividness surrounding me was exactly what I had been craving for the day. Here you can stop and delight in an array of beauty. The key is to stop. Look closely at what actually surrounds you. After all, the more you look, the more you see.
The Pavilion Led Me Home
I had spent a few hours lost in the Florida Botanical Gardens at this point and had finally made it to the pavilion I captured across the water earlier that day. It seemed an old world charm built on the water and though I needed to get back to my babes I couldn’t resist its lure.
With light from a chiffon sky, I stood looking at the waters in the garden as if from a storybook. The sun gave a flat look and long shadows lent an ethereal film finish to natures design.
And the multitude of patterns and textures tangled with the many shades of green made an intriguing design indeed.
As I turned to leave the sun came out to bid me farewell. The gardens filled with a strong light and the rich bold colors gave me a verdant goodbye.
I strongly recommend that everyone visit the Florida Botanical Gardens if in the vicinity. I hope you have enjoyed viewing the Flower Art I found during my own visit.
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