Happy Poké-hunting Guide

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Pokemon GO at Bok Tower Gardens

We’re so excited to introduce Bok Tower Gardens to a new generation of enthusiasts. Visitors have always said that everyone comes to the Gardens for a different reason. Some come for peacefulness and tranquility, others come for musical events, and with new garden spaces opening very soon we are ready to attract an even wider audience than ever before.

Welcome, Poké-hunters

Bok Tower Gardens was founded as a bird sanctuary, a haven for wildlife to live without the fear of being hunted. And that mission is not changing anytime soon. However, with the launch of Pokémon GO we are encouraging our guests to fill their Pokédex with plenty of digital bounty. Armed with only your smartphone, do your best to catch every last one of the little virtual Pokémon creatures that are highly attracted to places of arts and culture across the nation. Other gardens and museums are wonderful places to test your skills, so we’ve put together a short guide to help you on your way to an enjoyable safari through the wild of Bok Tower Gardens.

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A Guide to Geocaching

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So you’ve never geocached before… not a problem Bok Tower Gardens staff have prepared this go-to guide to get you going on your first adventure. Geocaching is a real world, outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers (called geocaches) using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online. Follow this guide to get started.

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Turning Stone Into Water

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The River of Stone tradition continues. Constructed in the mid 1990’s, the pathway in front of the Visitor’s Center has become one of the most unique elements at Bok Tower Gardens. With over 100,000 hand-selected pebbles, Kevin’s vision for a spectacular mosaic pathway welcomes visitors at the entrance to the new Children’s Garden, which opens in the late summer of 2016.

Atlanta native, Kevin Carman is a self-taught, multi-medium artist who has been creating and exhibiting nationally since 1994, and his compelling works have received many honors. Carman collects the majority of materials he uses to produce on-site installations, mosaics and various private commissions.

Paul O’Neill of Chiggerbritches Films has created several short documentary films about Bok Tower Gardens, most notably a feature on Margaret Pan a former Singing Tower Carillon Fellow. See the full Pebble Mosaic Artist short documentary below.

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Registration Now Open for Discovery Days Summer Camp

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Discovery Days children

July 11 to July 15, 2016, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
July 18 to July 22, 2016, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
July 25 to July 29, 2016, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
August 1 to August 5, 2016, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm

$110 per session ($100 for members)

Looking for a series of engaging, outdoor programs for your child to attend this summer?

Discovery Days Summer Camp for Kids is a series of stimulating day camps for children ages 6-8 and 9-12 filled with discovery, exploration and imagination to keep young minds actively engaged and learning through the summer months. Informal, week-long sessions for each age group feature activities to help children discover the world of Bok Tower Gardens through art, science, cooking, gardening, and sensory explorations.

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Bring on the Blooms!

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Grab your cameras! Peak bloom season is just around the corner at Bok Tower Gardens, and it's one of the best times of year to visit!

During Peak Bloom, an annual rite of spring, visitors can observe more than 150 varieties of camellias and hundreds of azaleas along with nun’s orchids, irises, coral bean, Mexican flame vine, and other flowering plants as they create an explosion of color throughout the Gardens. Guests are encouraged to return throughout the bloom season to experience Mother Nature’s ever-changing palette of colors— and to take plenty of pictures.

“Our azaleas always steal the show, “says Greg Kramer, Gardens’ director of horticulture. “And the best time to visit is right now into the first few weeks of March while the bloom cycles for camellias and azaleas are overlapping.”

Violas, snapdragons, dianthus, delphiniums, holly hocks and other annuals also escort the arrival of spring with glorious displays of color. Trees in bloom include native plums and deciduous magnolias.

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Video: Bok Tower Gardens Bromeliad Christmas Tree

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A 15-foot-tall Christmas tree was created with nearly 350 bromeliads can be seen outside the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate during the Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens celebration, now through January 3rd.

Click on the video below to hear Bok Tower gardener John Arnett talk about this unique tree. [SOURCE: WUSF Public Media]

WUSF Public Media is a sponsor of Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens.

Giant Victoria Water Lilies are Back!

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featured-liliesIt’s summertime, which means the giant water lilies have returned to the Reflection Pool. Our Victoria Longwood Hybrid Lilies (Victoria x ‘Longwood Hybrid’) are planted every spring, late April to early May, in large submerged containers in the pool. In central Florida, they do not live through the winter and need to be replanted yearly.

Grown from a seed the size of a pea, the lily pads soon grow to six feet across or more, generally reaching full size in June and lasting until November, making them our biggest and most popular annual. When first planted, they are fertilized weekly until well established, as they are heavy feeders. The leaves are able to support about 70 pounds of weight, but are very easily damaged by animals or falling objects.

The giant lilies are night blooming, featuring large flowers that open for just two nights. The first night it is white, the second pink. The flowers close when the sun moves overhead around 9 a.m. The lilies are pollinated by the scarab beetle, and last year several seeds from the year before germinated in the Reflection Pool and grew to full size. The seedling plants were smaller than the F1 hybrid, but did retain the leaf and flower color of the larger plants.

‘Gypsy Jazz’ John Jorgenson at Concert Under the Stars Apr. 25

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Concert Under the Stars 2014_crowd

The annual springtime Concert Under The Stars takes place at the Gardens Saturday, April 25 at 7 p.m., featuring an unforgettable evening of Gypsy Jazz with The John Jorgenson Quintet. Violinist Ashley Liberty and pianist Daniel Strange will open the show.

“This year’s Concert Under The Stars takes guests back to the Parisian jazz haunts of the 1930s and 1940s,” says Brian Ososky, Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “The music has a swinging, upbeat sound that will really connect with concert-goers. John Jorgenson is one of the best in the business, and people are going to be blown away when they hear him on the guitar; it’s unbelievable.”

The group’s style has been called Gypsy Jazz after the dynamic string-driven swing created by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli in 1930′s Paris, but Jorgenson’s compositions draw in elements from Latin, Romanian, Classical, Rock and Greek styles, so “21st-Century World Music” is perhaps a more apt description.

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Come See What’s Growing in 2014-15

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Bok Tower Gardens has released its new Programs & Events Guide for the 2014-15 season. Members, watch for it in the mail.

View the new guide online!


In celebration of a year filled with exciting new garden projects–the largest expansion in our 85-year history–this season’s theme is COME SEE WHAT’S GROWING!

Together, we are writing the next chapter of Bok Tower Gardens. Projects are underway to preserve and enrich your experience in new and engaging ways, to restore and revitalize the Gardens for future generations. Landscapes are being transformed, but Edward Bok’s vision is cared for and protected.

We invite you and your family to explore, to learn, to participate in the process. Discover a wide range of unique activities and events designed to engage the young and young at heart.


Open Spaces, Private Places

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Bok Tower Gardens has a little something for everyone. Visitors surely come to see the Singing Tower and stunning gardens, but there’s so much more to discover.

Often visitors come for quiet reflection. Some come prepared with a picnic lunch. Once a stroll through the Gardens is complete, it’s time to find a place to kick back and listen to the sounds of both the tower and nature.

Designed by renowned landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted, Jr., the Gardens still serve as originally intended. The layout offers the chance to closely envelop yourself in a quiet nook, perfect for deep thought or a private place to enjoy a few chapters of a novel. It really feels like your own personal corner of the Gardens.

For those who like wide scenic vistas and broad views, places like the Great Lawn and the Exedra are where you want to be. During several special events, the Great Lawn is packed with concertgoers enjoying music with a stunning view of the Tower and the surrounding landscape. On a typical day, however, this wide-open space is yours to enjoy.

The Exedra was a gift from the neighbors in Mountain Lake to Edward Bok. For sunset lovers, this is the place to be. At 298 feet, Iron Mountain is one of the highest points in Florida, and the view from the Exedra is one of the finest in the state.

Looking for your favorite spot in the Gardens? Check out the Visitor Guide and Map to find your perfect garden getaway.


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