March is perhaps the best season to visit Florida’s dozens of beautiful, flowering parks from Jacksonville and Pensacola to Miami and Naples. There is a great diversity of plants in March in Florida which is famous worldwide for its azalea gardens this time of time.
Begonia, bougainvillea, roses, gardenias, hibiscus, oleanders, and camellias all have their March fan base. Other visitors want to see the flowering trees like the jacaranda, royal Poinciana, white champaca, and, of course, cherry trees.
Here are my favorite major gardens for March:
BOK TOWER GARDENS (Lake Wales) is unlike few gardens in the United States. Built up on the Florida peninsula’s tallest hill in 1929 by journalist Edward Bok, Bok Tower Gardens is topped by a masterpiece 205-foot art deco Singing Tower carillion. The 157 acres contain winding paths along small ponds and exquisite views of the tip of Florida’s Central Highlands.
Bok Tower’s gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead Jr who did the Jefferson Memorial, the Biltmore grounds, and Rock Creek Park. Also on the grounds are the 8 acre 1930 Pinewood Estate and the Pine Ridge Trail, once a chain of islands 298 feet above sea level.
MARIE SELBY BOTANICIAL GARDENS (Sarasota) has nine acres of orchids, bromeliads, and tropical plants on an incredible nine acre garden on Sarasota Bay. There is a lovely museum and plant research center as well as seven large greenhouses the home to dozens of unique plants.
Down A Quiet Path In Sarasota Just A Few Feet From US41
ALFRED B. MaCLAY STATE GARDENS (Tallahassee) is a 308-acre estate built in the 1920’s by New York sportsman Alfred Maclay and later donated to the State of Florida. March is azalea blooming time and thousands flock to see the lush foliage and plants around the lakeside park. I love the dogwood trees here in the Tallahassee Hills.
In complete contrast is the MORIKAMI JAPANESE GARDENS (Delray Beach), a 200-acre masterpiece and gift of Japanese farm leader George Morikami. With lovely bonsai gardens, waterfalls, and ponds with arched bridges, it is one of the most romantic sites for outdoor weddings in Southeast Florida.
The end of March is a major tourist time at Morikami for it is the blooming of the cherry trees. I noticed Melanie Trump visited last week for ideas for the new wing of the White House gardens.
The Japanese Gardens Make A Great Wedding Site
If you want to take a driving tour of rugged terrain or at the opposite side of the spectrum, hike up and down hills and take swinging bridges than RAVINE STATE GARDENS (Palatka) is your place. The 1.8 mile loop around the gardens which are near the St. Johns River is unlike any other gardens I have visited in Florida.
Rugged Terrain At Ravine Gardens
March is the time when the 100,000 azaleas at Ravine Gardens are in bloom as well as the flowering trees. This popular spot started in 1933 as a Civilian Conservation Corps project.