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Garden History and Design

Mary Anne Liljedahl

BOK Tower Gardens

The John’s Island Garden Club took a field trip to BOK Tower Gardens in Lake Whales, Florida. SLGC members Mary Susan Lyon and Sandy Holmes are both members and I was lucky enough to be invited. 


The gardens were established in 1929 by Edward W. Bok as a gift to the to the American people.  The 50-acre garden was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., to be a contemplative and informal woodland setting. It is a National Historic Landmark.

Acres of ferns, palms, oaks and pines provide a backdrop of flowering foliage for the spectacular seasonal azaleas, camellias and magnolias. 

Most unusual and spectacular is the 205 foot marble and coquina Singing Tower that hosts daily carillon concerts.