If I am fortunate, a trip to Florida usually includes a visit to Bok Tower. Located in Central Florida, about three hours south of the kids home in Jacksonville,the town of Lake Wales is where my Mom called home her growing up years. When I was growing up in Miami it was always a stop on our summer vacations spent in Daytona Beach, and sitting on a bench in the warmth of summer is where she taught me much about nature, quiet, solitude and peace. I didn't always "get it" during those summers. Sometimes I am sure I was the cranky one that couldn't wait to get over to the beach, or visit some of the other local landmarks like Spook Hill. But as the years have gone by my visits to Bok Tower are now sometimes seen through my Mothers eyes. The long expanse that can be seen from this, the highest vista of Florida. The miles of orange groves and tall towering oaks filled with Spanish moss that lead up to the towers entrance. The surprise blossoms that meet you at every turn of the walking paths that lead up to the grand pond, and then the tower. I sit now on one of those same stone benches and try and visualize what it must have been like for my Mom to get out of school in the 40's and head up the long hill to the tower where her father was working the grounds as one of the horticultural caretakers. The gardens have not changed much since that time, proof of the planning that went into them. Spending time reviewing the original garden designs on display in the museum I am amazed at the selections of plants that have survived numerous hurricanes and droughts and still have managed to put on a show of splendor every year.
As I walk this path of the garden, I know my Mom walks with me.