|Giant Live Oak by the Visitor Center|
Yesterday with Kevin being off for his birthday we decided to make a visit to the Harry P. Leu Gardens. Fortunately, for us the forecasted rain held off until after evening when we were home.
The day was gorgeous and our visit was wonderful. The grounds of this estate that are now public gardens were inspiring to me an avid gardener.
Our tour began at the visitor center where we received our maps and Hannah and Lauren got the information and scavenger hunt map for the Dinosaur Exhibit that was on display throughout the gardens. As we headed off toward the garden entrance we passed a gorgeous old oak tree that was enormous and was set off by the lovely lake as a background.
|This Oak must be ancient with the size of it. It is an amazing tree and a beautiful setting.|
The garden quickly took on a tropical feel with loads of palms, bamboo, vines, trees and plants that gave a lush feel and lots for us to look at and ooh and ahh over.
|Bromeliads in place of old palm fronds|
|Curly leafed fern|
|Giant Mountain Fishtail Palm|
|Painted Feather Bromeliad - love the color and shape|
|The plantings were quite dense in this area|
As we wound through the paths we made a quick turn to head over to the old Leu house for one of the tours that they have every half hour. It was interesting to hear the history of the 3 families that owned and developed this property and home over the years. With the business man Harry Leu and his wife as the last owners and the real developers of the gardens. It was they who donated the property with the understanding that this would be open and maintained for public enjoyment.
On leaving the house we went to the vegetable garden and saw some great ideas for planters, planting ideas, trellises and even courtyard materials.
|The Vegetable Garden with it's beautiful kale, cabbage, collards and other vegetables|
|Bean pole and spiral structure for the nasturtium to grow up|
|Raised bed plantings|
|Blocks for planting|
|Arbor for Passion Vine to grow on. Love the path materials|
We then toured the Florida naturals area, the arid garden and then on to the large assortment of Camellias that were in bloom at this time of year. Camellias were a favorite of Mrs. Leu so the collection is quite extensive. Tucked in throughout were the various dinosaurs the girls were on the hunt for.
|Nice gazebo among the Camellias|
|Bananas near the Florida Naturals area|
|Bananas Violet Flower|
|Bananas Violet Flower|
|Lauren and Hannah lounging on the swing seat|
|Croton and Tabouchina|
|Sophora Tomentosa - necklacepod|
|Spanish Shawl Plant|
|Our group on one of the many pretty paths|
After leaving this area we headed in through the bamboo and palms and then past the center area defined with its decorative concrete rails that overlooks the rose garden. This isn't the right time for the roses to be in bloom, so that's something to look forward to on a future visit. Apparently roses were Mr. Leu's favorite flowers.
|Allausaur among the plantings|
|Pretty combo of bamboo and tall shrubs|
|Cuban Petticoat Palm|
|Our group next to some Giant Yellow Striped bamboo|
|Cement rail and courtyard with fountain and rose garden in background|
After leaving this area we headed down towards the lake and the landscaping they had around a couple of small ponds near this area. The plantings here were a mixture of ones we had seen in other areas of the gardens and then led us back towards the area we entered from. All in all it was a great time. I took loads of pictures and made sure to get shots of the name plates they have letting me know what the item I photographed was. In March the garden will host a plant sale from their greenhouses and from vendors invited to participate. I definitely plan to attend this event and am already making my list of items I hope to find for my yard.
|On path heading back towards lake|
|Cypress and knees by the water line|
|Curved sago and pond plants|
|Small Travelers Palm|
|Plate Leaf Palm|
If you haven't already been here to visit this garden set on their 50 acres I highly recommend it. If it's been awhile since you've been go again, they seem to be very busy recreating areas throughout the gardens. All in all it was a great day!!