A Colorful Controversy

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Wildly revered for their blooming majesty and striking emerald leaves, the azaleas of Bok Tower Gardens have been a favorite since their initial planting by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. However many visitors may not know of the controversy surrounding the choice of color. During the Gardens’ early planning stages, Edward Bok wrote, “if a man wishes to see me roaring mad, he wants to plant some magenta flowers in any garden of mine.”

Ever the visionary, Olmsted coolly replied, “regarding the color of magenta that you do not wish to have on the place we would say we have tried to avoid it. There is, of course some remote possibility that some magenta flowering azaleas have crept in… Occasionally, people jump at the conclusion in this connection and so really deprive themselves of a good thing by ordering the removal of the plants.”

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The Burning Paradox

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Prescribed burns have been an agricultural tool since the dawn of human civilization. In fact, agricultural scientists, Sydney Johnson and Philip Hale provide “controlled burning has deep historical roots in the South, where the practice was quickly adopted from the Indians by early European settlers. It became used widely, primarily to improve forage conditions for free-ranging cattle and to improve visibility and access.”

Often referred as the “burn paradox”, the practice of a controlled burn is a modern management technique for the protection of endangered habitats, plants and animals. It can appear counterintuitive to use fire as a means of encouraging new growth; however, scientists have long understood the benefits and outcomes of ancient burn strategies.

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New Nesting Boxes Prove To Be Quite Popular

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Signs of new wildlife continue to delight this spring, as kestrels and screech owls have inhabited the new nesting boxes located on the Knoll and in the Wild Garden behind Windows on the Pond.

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Dear members and friends…

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Dear members and friends,

After 6 ½ years at Bok Tower Gardens, I am leaving my position as Membership Manager. This Friday, April 29, will be my last day.

I want you all to know how much I have enjoyed working at the Gardens. The personal relationships that I have formed with many of you have been very special to me. I will always treasure the wonderful memories I have made during my time here!

I am happy to announce that Marilyn Knowlton will be joining the department as Development Assistant. I know you will all enjoy getting to know her! Until her arrival mid-May you can contact Julie Diaz, Development Manager, with any questions regarding your membership at

I will miss seeing you at the Gardens!

cfoley-sigChristine Foley

Please leave your fond farewells in the comments below.

The Art of Carillon

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quote-25px   Are you the midnight musician? How wonderful!   endquote-25px

Thanks to a gift from Paul and Carol Collins, we have been privileged to have two Collins Carillon Fellowships at Bok Tower Gardens this year. These advanced students stay at Pinewood Estate and gain experience playing, composing, arranging and training under our Carillonneur Geert D’hollander. They also perform our live carillon concerts Mondays through Wednesdays in season. As an added perk, they get to enjoy lots of valuable after-hours rehearsal time in the Tower – a rare treat for carillonneurs whose instruments are located where playing hours are restricted.

Margaret Pan Astronomer-Carillonneur-HD.mp4.00_08_58_11.Still002“This must be the only carillon in the world where, if you play at 11 pm, you will later hear, ‘Are you the midnight musician? How wonderful!’ instead of ‘Grrr…please stop, we’re trying to sleep!'” muses Margaret Pan, our Collins Carillon Fellow from October to January.

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Veggies, Fresh From Your Smartphone!

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Get it on Google Play

Do you want to know if it’s the right time of year to plant a vegetable? Want to buy Florida produce but you don’t know whether it’s in season? UF/IFAS has a new app to guide you!
It’s called the Florida Fresh veggie app, and you can now download it for free on any mobile device. The idea to create this new mobile friendly app emanated from one of the most popular Extension documents ever written: “The Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide.”
It’s pretty simple: enter your zip code, and the app tells you what vegetables to plant at that time of year. But the app’s uses go way beyond timely planting of vegetables. You can also discover the seasonal availability of Florida-grown produce. And there’s more. If you touch any of the photos, the app provides detailed information about each fruit and vegetable, including planting tips, best varieties for Florida and nutritional value. Additionally, the app gives you links to Extension documents about the plants, best practices for successful gardening and much more.

Bok Tower Gardens and UF/IFAS Extension are in a long term partnership to promote school and community gardening, native-plant and wildlife gardening, and garden classes through existing IFAS programs such as Florida Friendly Landscaping. Our goal is to create opportunities together to help your gardens and healthy lifestyle thrive!

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