Bushnell, FL – Events of Friday, March 20, 2015
Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, FL is another one of those places Paul visited when he was a kid on vacation in Florida with his parents in the 1950s. We also made a stop there back in December, 2008.
Late last year, Groupon had coupons for half price admission to Sunken Gardens. Admission to Sunken Gardens isn’t that expensive to begin with ($8 for regular admission and $6 for seniors); but we wanted to go back to see the gardens in the spring, so we took advantage of the Groupon offer. Last Friday, we drove to Sarasota to use our coupon.
Sunken Gardens was started in 1903 by plumber and avid gardener George Turner, Sr. The gardens got their name from the fact they are built in a 10 to 15 foot deep sink hole. George planted quite a few citrus trees, papayas, and other exotic plants around his home. In the 1920s he opened a nursery and began selling fruits, vegetables, and plants. His nursery customers paid a nickel to tour the gardens. In 1935, George fenced the garden and began a charging 25-cent admission fee. In the 1950s through the 1970s, Sunken Gardens became a popular tourist attraction and was once ranked among Florida’s top 10 attractions. Sunken Gardens was purchased by the city of St. Petersburg in 1999.
The gardens only cover 4 acres, but they have squeezed a lot into the relatively small space. There are over 50,000 plants at Sunken Gardens representing over 500 varieties of tropical and sub-tropical plants. The pathways wind through the garden, and the lush plant growth hides the fact that you may only be a few feet from another path passing by in a different direction. The photo below shows Paul on one of the garden paths with some of the dense foliage in the background.
The bright colors of some of the lush foliage also add to the interest in the garden.