What is it about a public garden that allures the visitor? Studies say that urban environments can be inherently stressful, however, exposure to nature in a variety of settings has been shown to reduce stress, help relax, and actually inspire. Perhaps a quiet, beautiful place in the midst of any busy surrounding is a tangible easement of the soul.
In South Walton, there is an assortment of special places for those who wish to take the time to stop and “smell the roses.”
Cerulean Park in the community of WaterColor offers scenic water features, a green space for play, and a diverse variety of blooming flowers and native landscaping. The garden is located just west of Seaside in the WaterColor’s town center, one block north of Scenic Highway 30A.
Head gardener Sandie Schuch manages a staff of 3 who maintain the gardens, along with approximately 100 planters throughout the WaterColor community.
“The past several years we plant butterfly weed and other native plants in our common areas and along the lake trails that are food or host plants for monarch, Gulf fritillary, and swallowtail butterflies,” said Schuch.
Their landscape includes passion vine, Dutchmans’s pipe vine, angelonia, asclepias, bulbine, salvia, sunpatiens, and Echinacea to name a few.
Davis Properties in Seagrove caters to bicyclists, butterflies, and bees. Next time you are in the area, stop by their office and take a rest around their gardens. Located at 4130 Scenic Hwy. 30A in Seagrove, the company’s outdoor surroundings are a welcome repose.
Davis’ surroundings include three raised bed planters designed and maintained by local garden experts. Each planter serves a special purpose – a flower, an herb, and a vegetable garden. The main garden area is topped off with purple martin gourd houses and bird feeders. In addition, there’s a water fountain, complete with a doggie water bowl if you happen to be meandering with a thirsty pup.
Gardener Margo Yourick maintains one of the three gardens.
“I have planted kale, collards, strawberries, Swiss chard, garlic chives, along with flowers such as Gerber daisies, cosmos and coreopsis. In the summertime, the garden is replaced with seasonal vegetables,” said Yourick.
Rosemary Beach on the west end of Scenic Hwy. 30A has several common green areas throughout their community. One special garden area is a mix of native and non-native pollinators. Located in the northern portion of the community on Georgetown Avenue and Kingston Road, the garden offers native rosemary, mint, palmettos, and scrub oaks. The native scrub landscape has been preserved and supplemented with vines and wildflowers. A boardwalk protects the natural landscape along with decorative trellises supporting flowering vines. Signage provides information about the plants and native butterflies.
The Native Plant Demonstration Garden at Northwest Florida State College South Walton campus is the perfect place to learn about native plants.
The garden is a joint project of the Walton County Master Gardeners, Northwest Florida State College, and Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance. Located at 109 Greenway Trail, Santa Rosa Beach, adjacent to the college, the garden was developed to familiarize residents, visitors, and students with some of the most common native trees, shrubs and wildflowers that thrive in one ecosystem.
There are markers in the garden identifying various plant species. The garden demonstrates best practices for the use of native plants, water conservation, and other Florida-friendly gardening techniques for the home landscape.
Depending on the season, a variety of wildflowers can be seen in bloom including meadow beauty, dense blazing star, goldenrod, and pitcher plants.
Eden Gardens State Park encourages walking on the grass and spending time strolling the grounds. Located towards the northern end of CR 395, at 181 Eden Garden Road, Point Washington, this beautiful park offer numerous garden areas.
Throughout the year, chances are you will enjoy something in bloom. Camellias in winter, azaleas in spring, roses in summer are just a few the colorful flowers you can expect to enjoy. The park also offers an interpretive trail with educational signage, and a hiking trail that meanders throughout the grounds.
A popular place for weddings and picnics, Eden Gardens State Park offers something for everyone. Pack a lunch, spend some time, and enjoy the wonders of Eden.