Friday, February 1, 2013

Field Trip Friday: Sunken Gardens



Some weeks, just getting to Friday feels like an accomplishment. Therefore, I’ve instituted Field Trip Friday—as a reward to myself for working hard, and as a way to expand my awareness and appreciation for where I live. (Do you find that you take your local attractions for granted? I do.)

Last Friday, my partner in adventure Laure and I escaped to another local garden, Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg. (You can read Laure's post about our trip here.)

In 1903, George Turner, Sr., a plumber and avid gardener, bought the site of the garden. Draining a shallow lake dropped the property 15 feet and provided the rich soil to grow exotic plants from all over the world (and provided inspiration for the garden’s name). According to the Sunken Gardens brochure, his garden became so popular with friends and neighbors that he began charging them 25 cents for a tour. In 1935, the garden opened as Turner’s Sunken Gardens and was owned and operated by three generations of the Turner family. In 1998, it was designated a local historic landmark, and in 1999, the City of St. Petersburg purchased it.


The gardens contain more than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers, as well as a few exotic birds, including flamingoes. Small ponds and waterfalls, an orchid arbor, a Japanese garden, an amphitheater and a meditation garden where yoga classes take place are just a few more of the features packed into this little oasis in the middle of the city. A few photos (click photo for a larger view):

What is this? There was no identifying marker.
Close-up of the fruit (?)


Laure and I walked slowly through, looking at and photographing what took our fancies. After our first pass, we briefly walked through again, sketching. I just did a few pencil sketches, which I still have to add color to.


We finished our field trip with lunch at Fourth Street Shrimp Store Market and Restaurant and a stroll through Haslam’s book store.  (I bought only one book, showing heroic self-control, don’t you think?)

I think Field Trip Friday will happen more often in 2013. What better way to enjoy simple pleasures and everyday adventures than by exploring and appreciating what I have locally, getting out of my normal rut routine, and just plain having fun?

What local attraction(s) have you been wanting to visit?

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16 comments:

Laure Ferlita said...

Great post! I just posted on trip as well—great minds think alike!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have been taking winter walks with friends. It is great to get out but I usually sketch when I return home because it is so cold out right now. Love seeing where you gals were. Will be interested in seeing your sketches when you get color on them.

Cris, Oregon Artist said...

What a lovely place to visit and sketch. Came from Laure's blog. Look forward to seeing your work painted.

Liane said...

Your unknown plant looks like it may be a pandams palm. We have them in costal areas in Australia. These gardens look a wonderful place to escape to, even better that you have a like minded soul to escape with. I also came from Laures blog.

Claire M said...

Sounds like you had a great time together. Thumbs up on your Friday field trip idea!! Great to see you sketching again too!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Thanks, Laure--I just linked to your post in mine. Now I have to go add some color to my sketches!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Lisa--We were lucky to have a beautiful day to sketch in. I don't think sketching in cold weather would be much fun! I'm planning to add color to my sketches this weekend, so hopefully I can post an update next week.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Cris--Thanks so much for visiting. I plan to add color this weekend, and post an update next week.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Welcome, Liane. Glad you stopped by. It was a really nice outing--just what we needed. Thanks for the suggestion of what the tree might be...I'll go look it up.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Claire--Thanks for the words of encouragement. We had a great time, and hope to do more things like that. Now to go add some color to the sketches...

Cheryl Gebhart said...

I've already seen Laure's post, so I knew you went together. How fun! I so wish I could have joined you two!! And field trip Friday sounds like a great idea!

Clare said...

Nice photos, Kathy. Can't wait to see your sketches. I would have loved to be on your Friday Field Trip. I love that idea.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Cheryl--We would have loved to have had you with us. Why don't we all institute Field Trip Friday and report back on our adventures? :)

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Clare--Thanks. I worked on the sketches last night but I was so tired I only got two of them (mostly) done. Will keep working on them, though.

Like I told Cheryl, why don't we all do Field Trip Friday and report back? :)

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

What a beautiful place, and yes, I take so many of our local attractions for granted. After 12 years, I haven't been to the historical museum in Bend yet, or the Sunriver Observatory. Or local waterfalls. This summer I will.

I love your idea of field trip Friday.

Kathy M.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Kathy--Field Trip Friday is proving to be very popular! Sounds like you have a few nice attractions to visit come summer. You'll have to write about them on your blog.