Take a stroll through South Walton’s public garden spaces By Lori Ceier
What is it about a public garden that allures the visitor? It has been proven that urban environments can be inherently stressful, while exposure to nature in a variety of settings can relax and actually inspire. A quiet, beautiful place in the midst of busy surrounding can be a tangible easement for 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 WaterColor’s town center, one block north of Scenic Highway 30A.
Head gardener Sandie Schuch manages a staff of three who maintain the gardens, along with approximately 100 planters throughout the WaterColor community. “The past several years, we planted 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. Stop by The Davis Properties office and take a rest in their gardens, located at 4130 Scenic Hwy. 30A in Seagrove. The company’s outdoor surroundings are a welcome repose.
Davis Properties’ 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 for thirsty pups.
Gardener Margo Yourick maintains one garden section. “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
offers numerous garden areas.
Area gardens are a delight, with something blooming year round.
Camellias in winter, azaleas in spring, and roses in summer are just a few of the colorful flowers one 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, the Eden Gardens State Park offers something for everyone. Pack a lunch, spend some time, and enjoy the wonders Eden.