Located in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida is a leafy oasis and one of the longest running roadside attractions in the Country. In 1903 a plumber named George Turner, Sr. bought this four acre parcel that included an ancient sinkhole and a lake. He drained the lake to use the nutrient rich soil beneath to pursue his love of gardening and ornamental horticulture.
By 1924 his amazing gardens were attracting visitors at 25 cents a head and has continued to this day and visited by tourists from around the World.
Now owned by the City of St. Pete it’s a local destination for school children and tourists to visit as well as the perfect setting for many weddings. It brings a bit of the tropical forest with plants, birds and other animals to this sub-tropical paradise.
I was fortunate to visit The Gardens with our local Photography Club where I assure you there is no shortage of photo opportunities.
It’s a place you might like to add to your “must-See” list when you visit the Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater Beach area. It’s located at 1825 4th Street North in St. Petersburg, Florida. More photos on our Suncoast Visitor’s Guide at https://www.facebook.com/TampaBaySnowbirdGuide/. -Jack Armstrong
One man, his passion, and 100 years of Florida history
In 1903 a plumber by the name of George Turner, Sr. purchased the six acres that would become a world famous botanical attraction. Using an elaborate maze of clay tiles, he drained an ancient lake on the property, leaving a rich muck soil that was ideal for his favorite hobby – gardening. Neighbors so enjoyed strolling through Mr. Turner’s garden, that by the early 1920’s, he was charging a nickel for tours. Three generations of the Turner family continued the vision that created this unique tropical garden, with its flowing ponds. For many years, this was a top tourist attraction in Florida.
On a recent warm & sunny day, Niki and I visited SUNKEN GARDENS, which is St. Petersburg’s oldest living museum; this 100 year old garden is home to some of the oldest tropical plants in the region. We spent several hours following through meandering paths, lush with exotic plants from around the world. We found cascading waterfalls, beautiful demonstration gardens, more than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers, two flamingos, and numerous turtles and Koi. A quiet and tranquil place smack-dab in the middle of a busy city.