The Sunken Gardens were created by draining a shallow lake that filled an ancient sinkhole. The four acre botanical garden is 15′ below the street hence the name, “Sunken Gardens”. It was established in 1935 making it the oldest roadside attraction in the United States.
Today this exotic phenomenon lies in the middle of the hustle and bustle of St Petersburg, Florida. It is home to many tropical and subtropical foliage. In 1998 the Sunken Gardens was designated as a local historic landmark and in 1999 was purchased by the city. St Petersburg spent several years restoring the 100 year old attraction and is now open to the public.
Anthony here with You, Me and The Dock! My companion and I will be your guides throughout this adventure. We will provide you with some fabulous photos and informative dialog. There will also be a brief video at the end of the article that will give you a glimpse inside this tropical wonderland. We did take heed to all the caution signs. So, sit back and enjoy the tour.
We will try to point out as many exotic plants, multiple variety of trees, and flower bearing bushes as possible. There are several water features and other interesting attractions as well. When you enter the park, you have to first look up and marvel at all the tall canopying trees that provide shade to the foliage below. Throughout this tour we will pan from the ground up.
The Staghorn Fern grows from what looks like a ball of giant mushroom heads that are balled together. It seems to attach itself to a tree trunk and grows from there.
The Angel Trumpet Tree is an amazing sight. It’s horn like looking flowers seem like they could breakout in chime at anytime.
This delicate pink flower hangs effortlessly. My first contact with this magnificent tree was in South America – Panama.
Since we are on the topic about pink things, we stumbled onto a group of Chilean Flamingos! These fabulous birds are known for their pink joints and webbed feet. A Flamingo gets its color, in part due to a certain red algae they eat. It’s not uncommon to see these birds in dense packs.
If you get ‘moved’ by the subtle surroundings, the Sunken Gardens provides several quiet places to just sit and take in the ambiance.
The walkways offer tranquility with all the surrounding foliage. It’s peaceful feeling erases a stress plaguing day.
The America Beautyberry is a gorgeous bush that produces a deep purple cluster of berries. The berries are edible when fully ripened and have a medicine like flavor. They are native to the Southeast and Central United States.
The Yellow Shrimp Plant is given its name because of its layers of petals which resemble the scales of a shrimp. “I wonder if they taste good with cocktail sauce?” However, I am not sure if they are edible…
Want is a botanical garden without beautiful orchards! They are one of the most sought after house plants. They can be very hard to grow and maintain especially when out of the natural habitat – tropical/subtropical climates. They always seem to lighten up a room.
As we walk along the well groomed paths, The Sunken Gardens have a few other points of interest. One is these are the soothing water features.
There are small water falls and ponds mixed within the lush landscape.
This particular pond and trickling waterfall is actually 15 feet below street level. It is part of the remaining sink hole in which the gardens were planted on.
There is a Koi pond filled with lots of Japanese Ornamental Carp. They are very colorful and beautiful to watch.
There are so many more plants, trees, other flowering foliage, and several water features to see and enjoy. It would be impossible to show you all the them. However, we provided a brief video for more viewing of the gorgeous attraction.
Author: Anthony Scopel
Photography: Anthony & Maureen Scopel
Video: Anthony and Maureen Scopel
Article Creator & Formatting: Anthony Scopel
Video Production: Anthony Scopel & Matt Kemper
Associate Editor: Maureen Scopel
Technical Mastering & Web Support: Matt Kemper
Publisher: You, Me and The Dock
I want to give my wife and traveling partner a big thank you for going the extra mile to video this fantastic adventure. Love you babe!