We here at Bok Tower Gardens are no stranger to hurricanes – having gone through several in the 95 years since construction on the gardens began – and we encourage all of you to begin your preparations for hurricane season. Assess your risks, review your plans and important documents, inventory your supplies, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.
Did you know that in September 1928, while the Singing Tower was still under construction, the “1928 Okeechobee Hurricane”* passed over Bok Tower Gardens?
Sep 16th Sunday
Notified by Western Union of hurricane coming so called out the “gang” and lashed everything as fast as possible on tower and covered bells.
Hurricane reached its height at 4 AM. Examined Tower – no real damage. Panels from carvers scaffold on top blew off and much of carvers shelter at 32[“ level] demolished. No damage to bells although all covers were destroyed. Many trees down and all electric wires to tower. Wind from East then south 60-70 miles per hour.
We were lucky then to have only sustained minor damage during what remains as one of the most deadly hurricanes in history, but we know that it’s better to be prepared and we want you to do the same. Here are some resources to help you prepare for hurricane season:
Details and photographs about the hurricane and more aspects of the Tower construction can be found in the Burrell Collection, available online as part of Bok Tower Gardens’ digital collections (Bok Tower Digital collections).
Please be prepared and be safe!
*The modern system of naming tropical storms and hurricanes was established in 1953 for Northern and Pacific storms and was adopted for Atlantic storms in 1979.
Over by the administration office I have a nice view of some agave plants right outside of my window. Around the middle of March i started noticing a a strange protrusion growing from the middle plant. Over the next week it seemed to stretch skyward at an incredible rate. My curiosity was piqued to say the least.
I asked our horticulture experts about it and they said it is called a century plant. To be more specific it’s nomenclature is Agave angustifolia or the Caribbean Agave. While the name suggests these plants live for hundreds of years, these plants in reality only live from 10 to 15 years.
The Caribbean agave plant is a monocarpic plant. This term refers to plants that after completing its blooming and seed production life cycle will die. Though this may seem like a dismal end to this plant it will produce side shoots that take the place of the dead plant. Some species of bamboo, palms and bromeliads also have similar life cycles.
The flowers are usually pollinated by hummingbirds, moths or bats depending on the species and where it is native to.
Time Lapse of plant growth
When visiting Bok Tower Gardens it is very apparent whom the tower is dedicated to, and there are few men more deserving than Edward Bok to have their name on the entrance of this landmark. However, there is another man who has left his name and his mark on this place in the most wonderful of ways. His name is Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. the man in charge of designing the Olmsted Gardens.
The Rufous Hummingbird is a migratory hummingbird who has one of the largest roaming territory of any North American hummingbird species. Stretching as far north as Alaska as far south as the Yucatan and as far east as Florida. Aside from having one of the largest migration patterns per body length this species of hummingbird is known for being one of the most aggressive species. Despite their 3 inch frame they will often attack and chase down other hummingbirds, when feeding from a flower, even larger species up to twice their weight. Reports say they have even been seen chasing back chipmunks if they came to close to their nests.
Bok Tower Gardens has a different meaning to everybody. Perhaps it is a memory of coming here as a child gazing upon the Tower with a wondrous look in your eyes entranced by it’s beauty. You may have come here with grandparents visiting Florida for the first time and realizing the true beauty of this state is in its untouched nature and decided to make this place your future home. Maybe you stood under the tower exchanging vows with the love of your life knowing this was the beginning of the happiest years of your life. This was the case for Kieley and Thurman Bronaugh, who on March 22, 2003 said “I do” here beneath this iconic Tower.
After reading the title you may think, is this a typo or perhaps a joke? It is neither. You can actually rent bees to assist with your garden. This may seem a little unorthodox at first, but the addition of bees to a home garden can greatly increase a harvest yield. Bees are some of the most important pollinators the world has to offer. It is often said that bees are responsible for pollinating a third of the food we eat. With that kind of importance it is no wonder growers are anxious to get bees out to their crops.