Snowbirds Faythe and Howard Landis introduced us to Sunken Gardens, St. Petersburg in April 2022. You may recall that Howard is my second cousin, whom I’ve blogged about before when we visited him and Faythe last summer. You can view our escapades in Missouri here.


On this excursion, we visited one of the nation’s oldest roadside attractions, Sunken Gardens. Named an historic landmark in 1998, the botanical gardens were formed by draining a sinkhole which became a tourist attraction in 1935. At its deepest point, the gardens are 15 feet below street level and feature several tiers of botanical wonders, with pedestrian friendly walkways, gently winding from one level to another.

You can find the story behind the marvelous gardens and the avid gardener and plumber who built it here.

Shafts of light filtered through bougainvillea


Banana Tree


And then the shimmering Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree, which blew our socks off! It looked man-made, not natural, a pleasant surprise.



The Sunken Gardens features wildlife too, flaming-pink flamingos in one of the ponds, where I slyly captured a side view of my ever-curious cousin, Howard.



We found another natural wonder inside a jewelry store – imagine! This time in Tarpon Springs, Florida, famous for sponge harvesting, Greek cuisine–and vegetable ivory jewelry.

Vegetable ivory is the seed of the Ciclantacea Palm, which grows in the Amazon rainforest in South America. The locals harvest the nuts without any damage to the environment. These palm seeds have a natural off-white color with marbled grain tone and texture similar to that of ivory from an elephant.

When mature, the nuts from the palm tree are dried, ready to be carved into shapes After carving, the shape is sanded and buffed to a shine, giving it the appearance of ivory though it is not animal or mineral. The result is beautiful sculptures, jewelry, and souvenirs.




Some more shopping . . . 



Fabulous Find: An Amish Country Store in Largo, Florida, which imports sweet bologna from Groff’s Meats and Gene Wenger’s ham loaf, both shops still situated in my hometown, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.



Have you ever visited The Sunken Gardens or explored Tarpon Springs?

What other wonders have you discovered in your travels? Or at home?