What is so amazing about Cypress Gardens is that it first opened in 1936 as botanical gardens. That's 72 years ago... Dick and Julie Pope carved out this lush garden tourist attraction on the shores of Lake Eloise out of nothing but acres of marsh land.
As Florida's original tourist attraction, it might be best known for its gravity-defying water ski shows. I will admit ---it was the stunts on the water that made the biggest impression on me when I visited these gardens as a child- --- you know, that was just a few years ago. LOL
It had been that many years since either mom or I had been to this tropical oasis in the middle of our great state. We've both talked of wanting to plan this trip for a while. We finally did and it turned out to be a relaxing and fun time just being together with no rushing around and no hurried schedules.
We strolled winding paths with hundreds of trees that provide a canopy over colorful landscape and blooms throughout the gardens. With each turn there is more color and vivid blooming than your eye can possibly take in at once.
The grounds are mapped out nicely with many areas designated to a specific theme. The archway above is entirely live, white, begonia blooms that leads into the Topiary Trail.
Begonia and creeping fig made up the columns of topiaries.
The hooped-skirt Southern Belles happily pose for photos as they answer questions and welcome guests with ample smiles and friendliness.
Just beyond the topiaries, along the pathway were waterfalls with hillsides laden with masses of tropical shrubbery and blankets of impatiens of every color.
Here the classic ancient singles hollyhocks made a statement above the begonias of the same color. Just before the entrance to the botanical gardens a three-tiered architectural structure spills over with bright pink geraniums like a waterless fountain.
Entering over the bridge, my favorite area was probably the botanical gardens. Many of the plants growing here I have in my own garden at Hoe & Shovel. It was very interesting for me to see the way they have them grouped and to see even more varieties on such a large scale.
One of the fascinating sights was how the dragon flies swirled above us and around us in great numbers as we sauntered through this area. They weren't in other parts of the park. It made me think that if someone wasn't familiar with their friendly ways they could be a little timid because of how many there were. I managed to capture the little blue guy shown in the above photo but there were varieties that were almost the size (in wing span) of a very small bird. I haven't been able to find out a name for them but they were beautiful.
A plant always associated with the tropics the Bird of Paradise is unique in form and bloom.
Under the dappled shade the Australian Tree Fern thrives.
All the walkways were lined with container gardens overflowing with combinations of ferns, draceanas of all types, coleus, bromeliads, and flowering annuals in every imaginable color and shape.
Orchids and bromeliads blooming together in a tiered planter living outdoors-- loving the heat of Florida.