Friday, 29 January 2010

The "estate" that Sarasota forgot - another secret garden!

I've been coming to Sarasota for at least five years, but I've never seen anything written about Historic Spanish Point. I found it by accident; spent a couple of hours there this afternoon with my girlfriend from the UK; and was amazed that more is not made of this wonderful and eclectic property - another "must-see" if you're in the area!

Former home of Bertha Matilde Honore Palmer - widow of a Chicago magnate - you can just imagine the parties that went on here during the family's 70-year "reign" at this estate! It's certainly as interesting as the Edison and Ford Winter Estates that I reviewed earlier this week, and Bertha was definitely a gardener with "attitude", so you have unusual features like her sunken garden, with its exotic pergola (top and below), Duchene Lawn (bottom) and glorious Fern Walk (above).

But it's a little hard to understand the ethos of the property today - virtually unpublicised - but very visitable, with a glorious outlook over the water, some really interesting features including a jungle walk, and bordered by fantastic mangroves on the west (overlooking Little Sarasota Bay) and pine flatwoods to the east. The spanish moss is spectacular; there's a butterfly garden (sadly devastated by the recent cold spell); a prehistoric Indian burial mound; and much, much more.

But for some reason this property just doesn't feature in all the tourist "blurb" for Sarasota! It's only a half-hour drive from downtown, and it certainly gets my vote, so hope that when you come this way, you'll remember to visit.

10 comments:

  1. You present so many hidden treasures, and this is another that I would like to see.

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  2. Those columns are magnificent...what a gorgeous spot!

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  3. It's just great to see some sunshine quite frankly :-). Enjoy the warmth.

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  4. Dear Charlotte, I am most intrigued by this garden although I fear that I shall never get to the USA. BMHP, a 'gardener with attitude', sounds like a woman after my own heart.

    It is interesting how, as you suggest, this garden receives little in the way of publicity. Is this not the case too in the UK with The National Trust where some properties appear to benefit from constant advertising, whereas others 'blush unseen'? Somehow the latter are for me, and I suspect for you, the most beguiling.

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  5. You lucky you. What a great adventure...sigh

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  6. So many gardens...so little time! It's a lovely garden, though not my style. But that's the joy of studying other gardens--what works for one may not for another, but we're inspired none the less.

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  7. The fern walk is fabulous. My aunt, who was a great gardner, lived in south Alabama, and I remember her talking about visiting Spanish Point in Sarasota. What a gorgeous place!

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  8. Your garden travels are amazing. The beauty of nature, beautifully arranged by humans. But, as a gardener the arranging is often the fun.

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  9. I live in a corner of the world where places like this just don't exist ... I'm going to enjoy your posts immensely because it gives me an opportunity to visit beautiful gardens such as this one.

    Thanks very much for adding my blog as a fav .. I hope you enjoy the posts from downunder.

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  10. The gardens at Spanish Point get a lot of local play. My family have been coming to this area of the world since the 1940s and Spanish Point has always been one of our favorite places. Bertha Palmer's family still live in the area and are very active in the running of Spanish Point. Bertha's great granddaughter and her husband are leading the push to conserve some of the remaining green space in South Florida

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