Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Part 1 - Eureka Springs Park

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Eureka Springs which is a Hillsborough County park close to my home.  I had not been there in many years and was quite surprised to see the many upgrades that have been made. 

There was a huge area with about 8 of these powder puff bushes in bloom.
This park was donated to the county in 1967 by Albert Greenberg.  Mr. Greenberg had owned the land since 1938 and developed it into the first tropical fish farm in Florida.  In his travels throughout the world looking for new tropical fish to bring back to his farm, he also found and brought back many rare and exotic plants. 
Upon entering the gardens I found a large cultivated garden area with a spring fed stream, a pond, a sunny butterfly area, a shady garden area and a lovely pergola with beautiful orchids and other exotic tropical plants.
Oakleaf Hydrangeas were 6 feet tall and just as wide.  Landscape Begonias were spread everywhere under the oak canopy  as were Dancing Lady gingers.

Tucked into a sunny spot were mounds of Bat-faced Cuphea. Can you see the little bat face?

There were lots of different lilies growing gracefully in the shady gardens. This white one's name  I don't know but the vibrant pink one is Ellen Bosanquet, a crinum. Floridagirl  from Peace In The Valley gave me the ID on these which I have growing in my own garden.

This plant was at least 5 feet tall and covered with these gorgeous pendulous blooms.  It was inside a greenhouse that was attached to the pergola area. 
There were many orchids blooming which, while stunning, I wish I could have learned their names.  Plant labels were not to be found. 

I did recognize this giant birdnest fern though.  It was absolutely gorgeous. 

More orchids and hidden gingers ended this portion of the gardens. 

This was only the beginning of all there was to see.  This cultivated garden was divided into "rooms" which provided variety and interest.  There was a sunny pond with butterflies flitting among the flowering water plants, a rose garden perfect for holding a wedding, the exotic plant pergola and greenhouse and a shade garden featuring bromeliads, ferns and cycads. 

The best though I will share with you in another post:  Part 2 - The Wild Side of Eureka Springs.


  1. Oh, NanaK, what a beautiful place! I will certainly be a copycat and drive over there one day this summer. I looked it up on the map and realized I've probably passed right by it many times before, never even knowing it was there. I'm so gonna have to get me an oakleaf hydrangea! Clearly, they can take this climate! Love that vanda orchid. I have one that very color, though it hasn't bloom since last summer.

  2. Beautiful photos! Another place to visit.

    The pink pendulous bloom is a Medinilla, but I'm not sure which species. We can grow them here, but they need acidic soils, something we're rather short of!

  3. NanaK: Wow, this is a very beautiful garden, and it is close to your home! I especially love those lilies,gingers and that blue Orchid! Too bad I am not allowed to bring any plants from China back to US, otherwise I will be plants shopping right now! From the other pespective, if Mr. Greenberg did not bring those rare plants from other countries, we may not be able to see so many beauties now :-)

  4. Eureka springs is a place I must visit. It sounds and looks like a beautiful spot. I love the Dancing Lady gingers...very pretty yellow flowers. Thanks for bringing this place to my attention. Do they sell plants there?

  5. Floridagirl - I'm with you on the hydrangea. I've been wanting one for the corner of my house in the front yard but was concerned the growing conditions would not be quite right. This place is exactly like my own yard. Shady oaks and moist soil. Now I just have to locate one.

    Penny - Thanks for the Medinilla ID. This was in the greenhouse so even thought I have acidic soil from my oaktrees, I don't think I could overwinter it here.

    Ami - I can't wait to see all your China pictures. I fully understand why people used to bring plants back from their travels as I am similarly tempted, but it's a good thing there are now more stringent rules against such. After all, that's how we got all those water lily problems here in Florida. But, as you say, I'm glad Mr. Greenberg got his plants in the country.

    Susan - I loved those Dancing Ladies too. I had a few that never returned after their first winter. (Or maybe I dug them up while moving plants around.)

  6. I am certainly glad that you wrote about this park. After reading about it I packed up a picnic lunch, picked up my friend and grandson,printed out map quest and away we went. You were so right about everything you wrote. I was not prepared for the mosquito problem but it was only in one section that they were really a problem and next time I will simply come prepared with bug repellent. The beauty was overwhelming and so much of the real Florida is in this park. Thanks again for the great tip.

  7. shirlgirl - So glad you got to go and that I could have a part in making you aware of this park. It did have a nice picnic area I failed to mention. Hope your grandson enjoyed it too.


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