One hundred years ago, a plumber with an itch to garden bought 6 acres just north of downtown St Petersburg. He drained a small lake, constructed an elaborate system of clay tiles, and commenced planting a tropical paradise. After a few decades, George Turner's place was so popular with neighbors and people driving by that he started charging a nickel to tour the gardens. Three generations of Turners carried on the tradition until the City of St Petersburg bought it in 1999 to preserve and restore it.
Today giant bougainvilleas sprawl over the walls, palms stretch skyward, trumpet vines meander along trellises, and orchids hang in sheltered nooks. Not to be outdone, the chilean flamingos and resident parrots provide a bit of feathered spice to the tropical mix.
The garden is filled with colorful foliage and flowers all year long. Ample parking (free) is available. The gardens often host "specialty" events such as bromeliad weekends or orchid Sundays. Check out the website for details.