Less than perfect
This photo was taken at one of my favorite locations, Eureka Springs Park, a few miles east of Tampa (FL).
The 31-acre garden was cultivated by an amateur horticulturalist beginning in the 1930s until he donated the grounds to the county in the late 1960s. His bequest had only two stipulations: (1) that the property remain a botanical garden and (2) that it should be free to the public. I’m guessing the $2 parking fee skirts the edges of the donor’s wishes, but it is a small price to pay for the opportunity to experience an area that, in my opinion, is becoming more and more natural.
In the founder’s time, the property’s natural springs supported both indigenous and imported plantings. Recent “improvements” diverted the spring water to the extent that the garden is now entirely dependent on rainwater to nourish its plants. In arid years, plants struggle to survive; when it rains, they get along a little better. The garden’s environment has changed enough that most of its original water-dependent plants have died off and have since been replaced by nature’s heartier bounty.
Another complication is that the county’s caretaker staff is modest, usually only one person on site on any given day. They do what they can and, in conversation, are enthusiastic about their work—but the sad fact is, there’s way more to attend to than they can deal with.
Despite its limitations, the park is a treasure in our community. During my many visits there, I’ve seen other amateur photographers honing their skills, a number of photo shoots (think graduation, engagement, wedding, fashion, etc.), dog walkers, nature lovers, etc. Modern life does intrude—it is sometimes difficult to ignore the distraction of cars whizzing by on a nearby thoroughfare and/or the sounds of private airplane and helicopter traffic at the nearly adjacent executive airport. Still, it remains a reprieve from the modern world.
Posted for Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday. Image was processed with two layers of Kim’s Appreciate texture set to Soft Light at 50% opacity. The second layer warms and lightens the overall composition. Fonts: Beautiful Caps Es, Beautiful ES, and Century Gothic.