We went to Bok Tower Gardens to see the Christmas decorations at the mansion. It was a lot of fun and we were finally able to see the inside of the mansion. We got a Groupon for this trip so was quite inexpensive. This pic are the gardens in front of the mansion.
Bok Tower Gardens is centrally located between Tampa and Orlando among rolling hills of citrus!
Nearly 50 acres of Olmsted gardens surround Pinewood Estate, a 1930s Mediterranean-style mansion, and the 205-foot art deco and neo-Gothic Singing Tower housing one of the world’s finest carillons with 60 bells that ring every half hour and during daily concerts.
The National Historic Landmark was dedicated in 1929 as a gift from Dutch immigrant Edward Bok, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and world peace advocate.
Poinsettia hanging ball
In 1921,Edward W. Bok was spending the winter months in the residential mountain lake community located adjacent to one of the highest hills of Florida’s Lake Wales Ridge, 298 feet above sea level. He enjoyed taking evening walks to the top of “Iron Mountain,” among the virgin pines and sandhill scrub, to enjoy Florida’s dramatic sunsets and bird life. The idea came to him to preserve this hilltop and create a bird sanctuary – a place of beauty, serenity and peace.
Having made arrangements to buy land on the hilltop, Bok commissioned Olmsted to change this arid sandhill into “a spot of beauty second to none in the country.” The first year was spent digging trenches and laying water pipes for irrigation, after which rich black soil was brought by the thousands of loads.
With the requisite conditions for a subtropical garden in place, planting of bushes and trees was begun that would provide food for visiting birds. Today, these plantings provide shade to visitors as well as refuge for squirrels and more than 100 bird species.
In all the natural beauty of the Gardens, Bok believed something was missing. Remembering the glorious sound of carillons in his native Netherlands, he decided to build a beautiful Singing Tower as the focal point of the Gardens which would be crowned by a large carillon.