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Vol. 5 | Issue 3 | Fall 2013


A newsletter from Bok Tower Gardens

A Letter from the President

The Gardens celebrates its 85th anniversary this season, and our schedule is filled with exciting events for you and your family. We begin by “Celebrating Traditions” with the 19th annual Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate, opening Nov. 29, followed by a festive holiday concert Dec. 7 with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. On Feb. 1 we celebrate the 85th anniversary of our dedication, followed in March by our 22nd International Carillon Festival. These events are rounded out by many exciting classes, concerts, and other activities. A new book published by Skira Rizzoli, Bok Tower Gardens: America’s Taj Mahal, written by Ken Treister and myself with photos by Dan Forer, has been released in time for Edward Bok’s 150th birthday. Please consider giving 2 | Fall 2013

this book as a holiday gift to family and friends. The Tower and Gardens Gift Shop has author-signed copies available, and proceeds will support our operations. In other news, Pinewood Estate will have new public restrooms opening next month, and we are close to finalizing designs for restoration of the Olmsted gardens, tower, and wildlife pond. Staff and Board members have been hard at work these past eight months with landscape architects from the firm of Nelson Byrd Woltz. Planned are several new garden spaces, including a new entrance and event lawn behind the Visitor Center, as well as wheelchair accessible paths to all reaches of the Gardens. In our next issue, we will share designs and graphics of the entire project to keep you informed and engaged.

department. We welcome Dr. Cynthia Klemmer as our first Director of Education. A graduate of Texas A&M and the University of Delaware’s Longwood Program, Cindy has focused her work and study on horticulture and children’s gardens. Among other duties, she will head up a new outreach program with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). The program will establish school and community gardens around the region, serving as a model for a statewide initiative. Your membership support is so vital in all that we do, and we look forward to celebrating our 85th anniversary with you. Together we will continue to make the world a bit better and more beautiful because we have lived in it.

We are also renewing our commitment to education for visitors and the community by creating a new education David Price, President

T he

An Immigrant’s Inspiration A Profile of Gardens’ Founder Edward W. Bok by Joy Banks, Librarian Born on October 9, 1863, Edward W. Bok immigrated to the United States from the Netherlands with his family just shy of his seventh birthday. While his family had little upon their arrival, they instilled in Edward an appreciation for education and a desire to make a difference. Young Edward entered the workforce at just 12 years old, but continued to find ways to educate himself and help others. At age 26, Bok became the editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal. Under his leadership, the Journal was the first magazine to have over a million subscribers. Over the course of his 30-year career, Bok introduced the American household to great works of art, affordable and attractive house plans from influential designers, and important social causes. In 1921, the Boks purchased property in Mountain Lake Estates to build a winter home. Edward’s long evening walks inspired him to preserve Iron Mountain as a sanctuary for birds and people. Inspired by his Dutch heritage, Bok built a beautiful tower to house one of the world’s finest carillons. He also established the American Foundation as a means to continue his work promoting peace and better living for all people. Edward W. Bok passed away January 9, 1930 in his Mountain Lake home within sight of his beloved Singing Tower. While he was only able to enjoy the full realization of his Sanctuary for one short year, the impact he made continues to inspire others to make the world a bit better or more beautiful. On the occasion of our 75th Anniversary, Derek Bok had this to say about his grandfather:

“He would rejoice, as we rejoice, in seeing a Sanctuary more beautiful than he left it, more active in its good works than he conceived it, yet continuing as a place of quiet contemplation and repose for people eager for a respite from a world even more fevered and hectic than the one he knew.”

David Price President

Brian Ososky Editor

Martin Corbin Graphic Design

Editorial Contributors Joy Banks Jennifer Beam Martin Corbin Geert D’hollander Emily Nettnin Earle Christine Foley Don Jones Elyse Justice Cynthia Klemmer Greg Kramer Kevin Mims Brian Ososky Cheryl Peterson David Price Joan Thomas Wendy Wolford Rose Young

Mission To share Edward Bok’s gift of a beautiful and serene garden with music, architecture and nature so that all who visit will be inspired by his vision: “Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.” Bok Tower Gardens, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is supported by tax-exempt gifts and contributions and is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. CTP/6M/1013

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Gift Memberships

Membership Matters Helping you make the most of your membership.

Do you have questions about your membership to Bok Tower Gardens or want to make reservations? Contact Christine Foley at or 863.734.1233.

Founder’s Room Tours November 16, December 7, March 1, April 11 Members at the Sustainer level and above are invited to an exclusive tour of the Founder’s Room inside the Tower. Reservations required.

A Legacy of Leadership

Meet the leaders who have been the stewards of Edward W. Bok’s legacy throughout our 85-year history. by Joy Banks, Librarian

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Tower Key Society Breakfast Friday, January 31, 2014 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday, February 1, 2014 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Members of Bok Tower Gardens with 20 or more years of membership are invited to our annual recognition event (breakfast and a special program), which includes a private viewing of rarely seen archival items from the Chao Research Center. Members attending this event will be among the first to cross the moat around the Singing Tower during our Founder’s Day Weekend Celebration. This event is by invitation only. Reservations required.

This holiday season, give a gift that will provide your family and friends with a year’s worth of beautiful music and picturesque gardens. Current members can purchase a gift membership for $5 off regular prices (not valid online). Through our Reciprocal Admission Program, memberships include free admission to over 300 gardens nationwide and 40 Florida museums, zoos, aquariums and attractions. Visit us online at for a list of reciprocal partners.

Can you give us five? Watch for a short survey in your renewal notice to help us evaluate and improve your membership benefits. Please give us five minutes and know that we appreciate your support!

Harry M. Nornabell (1877-1965)

First director of the Gardens from 1926-1955. Nornabell, an Englishman, was hired by Edward Bok to oversee the daily operations of the Sanctuary. Under his direction, the Gardens grew in popularity and distinction, developing a world-renowned reputation. Always dedicated to maintaining Bok’s principles for the Gardens, Nornabell saw the organization successfully through the Great Depression and World War II.

Love inBloom Bringing Couples Together for a Reunion Celebration

by Joan Thomas, Director of Development & Membership The Gardens has long been a place for first dates, popping the question, and the place to tie the knot for more than 1,000 couples. On Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 we plan to “share the love” with our first Love in Bloom Reunion Celebration.

We are hosting an afternoon reception and program from 2 to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the Olmsted House for all couples who have been married at the Gardens since the early 1970s. If you got engaged but not married here, then join us at 4 p.m. at the Tower for a special commemorative Crossing the

William Curtis Bok (1897-1962)

Son of Edward W. Bok. After his father’s death in 1930, Curtis became the voice of the Bok legacy and helped establish many policies and practices still in place today that honor the wishes of Edward Bok. A lawyer that served on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Curtis was a founding member of the American Foundation and held the position of secretary for many years until his death.

Photos by Eric Farewell & Justin Demutiis

Moat. The Gardens should be nearing peak bloom around that time, so come early for lunch, listen to our Valentine’s Weekend carillon concerts, and enjoy a great afternoon sharing stories and photos. The events are free, but regular gate admission rates apply.

Pre-registration is required for the reception, beginning Jan. 2. In the meantime, save the date, dig out your wedding photos, go to now to tell us your Bok Tower Gardens wedding or engagement story, upload your favorite photos, and spread the word!

Nellie Lee Holt Bok (1901-1984)

Second wife of William Curtis Bok. Mrs. Bok served in many leadership roles with the American Foundation from 1946 until her death in 1984. Motivated by her husband’s dying wish that she care for the Sanctuary, she dedicated herself to overseeing the direction and operations of the organization. Known for her passion for detail, she led the Gardens through several large renovation projects and was instrumental in the purchase of Pinewood Estate in 1970. Fall 2013 | 5

New Bok Tower Gardens Book Released by Brian Ososky, Director of Marketing & Public Relations

Looking for a unique gift for someone on your list this holiday season? No other setting like Bok Tower Gardens exists anywhere in the world, and no other book explores the story of this extraordinary public monument like the brand new release by Kenneth Treister and David Price, Bok Tower Gardens: America’s Taj Mahal, available now in the Tower & Garden Gift Shop. Proceeds from the sale of the book will help preserve the Gardens for future generations.

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS Kenneth Treister, FAIA is an architect and artist. He has written nine books, including Havana Forever.

David Price, president of the Bok Tower Gardens Foundation, also served as director of horticulture for 20 years.

Dan Forer is an acclaimed architectural photographer with work appearing in Architectural Digest, among others.

Kenneth D. Morrison (1918-2011)

Second director of the Gardens from 1956-1980. Morrison was the editor of Audubon magazine before being hired by Nellie Lee Bok and the American Foundation. A lifelong advocate for the conservation of native habitats, Morrison was instrumental in the acquisition of Tiger Creek Preserve, a dream of Edward Bok’s from 1925, and expanding the preserve lands surrounding the Gardens.

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Derek Bok (foreword) is president emeritus of Harvard University and grandson of the founder of Bok Tower Gardens.

Bob Graham (afterword) is a former governor and senator of Florida and is an emeritus member of the Bok Tower Gardens board of directors.

William G. Nagel (1917-2009)

Executive director (and later president) of the American Foundation from 1969-1983. Mr. Nagel was the director of the Institute of Corrections, operated by the American Foundation, and advocated for prison reform, attempting to “bring the values of Bok Tower Gardens into the most dismal of societies’ institutions.” In 1980, Nagel oversaw the Foundation’s move from Philadelphia to Lake Wales, and he set our course as a Florida-based institution.

According to Price, co-author and president of the Gardens, Bok’s story is one of appreciation and giving back to the country that afforded him so much over his lifetime. “Bok wanted to create a place of beauty as a gift to the American people, and the culmination of his life’s work was the dedication of the gardens and tower in 1929,” Price said. “It’s part of American history, a story that deserves to be told.” Bok Tower Gardens: America’s Taj Mahal is the first major illustrated book of its kind about our unique destination. You’ll read about this eminent work of America’s “golden

Meet the authors at an upcoming book signing and lecture on November 15.

age of architecture” and learn how publisher, philanthropist, and conservationist Edward Bok commissioned two esteemed designers, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and architect Milton B. Medary, to create a sanctuary that would preserve the natural beauty of the region. The book also covers the adjoining Pinewood Estate, our lavish winter residence of the 1930s. Millions of visitors from all over the world have traveled to Bok Tower Gardens over the years to experience

Jonathan Shaw Third director of the Gardens from 1980-1998. For the first time, the director also held the position of Foundation president. Under Mr. Shaw’s supervision, the Gardens were designated a National Historic Landmark, the membership program was launched, and the new Visitor Center was completed. Shaw strengthened our culture of conservation and oversaw the creation of the Rare Plant Conservation Program as an institutional member of the Center for Plant Conservation.

Bok’s vision first hand. Now co-authors Treister and Price, in conjunction with former Harvard University president Derek Bok, former Florida governor and senator Bob Graham, and architectural photographer Dan Forer have come together to bring this story to life as part of our 85th anniversary celebration.

Purchase your copy in the Tower & Garden Gift Shop or at Bok Tower Gardens: America’s Taj Mahal Hardcover, 224 pages, 120 color and black and white photographs, 9.5” x 12”

Guy W. Botts (1914-1993)

Chairman of the Bok Tower Gardens Foundation Board, 19841993. Upon Nagel’s movement of the Foundation to Florida in 1980, Mr. Botts, former chairman of Barnett Bank, was invited to be the first Florida member of the Board. He invited other distinguished Floridians to serve on the Board and brought his strong personal interest in horticulture to the organization. The Guy W. Botts Grotto was dedicated in his honor in 1998.

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New Department, New Focus for Education Programs Introducing Cynthia Klemmer, Director of Education We have strengthened our commitment to Cynthia D. Klemmer, Ph.D. education at the Gardens by creating a new department and welcome Cynthia D. Klemmer, Ph.D., as our first director of education. For the past 20 years, Cindy has worked in a variety of capacities using plants, gardening and the environment as tools to inform, engage and strengthen communities. Cindy earned her doctorate in horticulture from Texas A&M and master’s in public horticulture administration from the University

of Delaware. She is an active member of the American Public Gardens Association and serves on the Youth Gardening Advisory Group of the American Horticultural Society. Cindy served as director of education for the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, NC. She also taught at Johnson C. Smith University as an adjunct faculty member and served as volunteer director of education with the Catawba River District in Charlotte, NC, a non-profit that supports environmental education and school gardening programs. At Bok Tower Gardens, Cindy will

Robert Sullivan Fourth director of the Gardens from 1998-2007. Under Sullivan’s direction, the Gardens held the first of two annual events still popular today—the Earth Day Celebration and Sunset & Symphony. Sullivan oversaw major Singing Tower restoration projects and was ever mindful of the changing nature of visitors. His leadership also saw the Gardens through the devastation of the 2004 hurricane season when three named storms tracked over Central Florida.

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facilitate a new partnership with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) to develop school and community gardens throughout central Florida. She will also develop an Interpretive Master Plan for our new garden spaces and work to expand our current educational programs. “I am so impressed with the scope and quality of planning that is taking place at Bok Tower Gardens,” Cindy says. “The combination of site-based and outreach programs envisioned will create wonderful ‘nature connections’ for many more people, especially our youngest visitors.”

William G. Burns Chairman of the Bok Tower Gardens Foundation Board, 2009-2012, vice chairman from 2008-2009. Under Mr. Burns’ leadership, the Gardens undertook a strategic planning process that produced a Long Range Fundamental Plan aimed at keeping the institution relevant and sustainable. From this came a Master Plan and design process currently underway at the Gardens. Mr. Burns is co-chairing a capital campaign for the first phase of the Master Plan.

A Look Back

Family portrait by Michael Potthast

Family Portrait Day November 29 Join award-winning photographer Family Portrait Day Michael Potthast at the Gardens on Friday, November 29 this special day to use our lush Contact us at landscape as the memorable backdrop 863.734.1222 to reserve for a professional portrait session with your portrait session. you and your family. Michael will work with you to capture beautiful, timeless images that you can give as holiday gifts and enjoy for years to come. Your 45-minute session includes one complimentary 8” x 10” portrait print of your choice, and various packages will be available to purchase directly from Potthast Studios. Priced at $149, reservations are required and specific times are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can preview Michael’s portfolio at

David Price Fifth director of the Gardens from 2007-present. Hired in 1987, Mr. Price began his career at the Gardens as the director of horticulture. Focused on the conservation of land and native species, Price helped found the Green Horizon Land Trust, along with former directors Morrison and Shaw, to expand the preservation reach of the Gardens. His deep understanding of the historic foundations of the Gardens continues to guide our efforts as he leads the organization into the next 85 years.

Timeline Exhibit Highlights 85 Years of Bok Tower Gardens History by Joy Banks, Librarian and Elyse Justice, Pinewood Estate Coordinator February 1, 1929 is a big day in Bok Tower Gardens’ history. President Calvin Coolidge visited the Gardens and delivered a dedication address—his last public address as President—committing the Sanctuary and Singing Tower to the American people. But did you know that during our very first Easter Sunrise service in 1927, local Reverend G.W.R. Cadman was the first to dedicate the Sanctuary grounds? In honor of the 85th anniversary of the “official” dedication, we have assembled a dynamic display about the story of Bok Tower Gardens. Travel back in time to discover more about Edward W. Bok’s life before the Gardens, to learn about the wildlife that calls this place home, to explore how the Gardens have developed and changed over the years, and to see how Mr. Bok’s gift has inspired others “to make the world a bit better or more beautiful.”

This special exhibit will be on display in our Visitor Center Nov. 23, 2013 to Feb. 20, 2014.

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Your Story Is Our Story. 1929

New Online Project Fosters a Community of Bok Tower Memories

In today’s fast-paced world of theme parks and contrived experiences, 85 years is quite a long time for an original, authentic Florida attraction to remain open. But Edward Bok’s dream of turning an arid Central Florida sandhill into a place that would “touch the soul with its beauty and quiet” is still alive and well today, with nearly 25 million guests passing through the gates since 1929.


“I remember going to Bok Tower with my parents, and now we’re here with our kids,” is something we hear regularly, as well as comments like, “Are the squirrels still as friendly as they used to be?” or “I’ve been to some wonderful weddings at the Gardens.” The list goes on.

Joan Thomas, Director of Development & Membership and Brian Ososky, Director of Marketing & Public Relations

Over the years, Bok Tower Gardens has seen its share of changes, but one thing has always remained the same—the extraordinary value placed on the special moments that family and friends share together here.

We began thinking about all the stories we’ve heard, and even more about those we haven’t heard, and decided it was time to do something about it. So in celebration of our 85th anniversary, we’re introducing a brand new online project at It’s a place where members, visitors, friends and families can come together as a community to share their memories with us, and with each other.

Your story is our story. A visit to Bok Tower Gardens means something different to everyone, and we want to hear about your individual experiences and happy moments so that we 10 | Fall 2013

A Few of Your Stories... Marian Morrison

Lake Wales

My dad was driving our family from Miami to Pennsylvania in 1936 along Highway 27 and we stopped at the Singing Tower. Many years later, my husband and I moved to Florida. We were driving by and saw the Tower, and I remembered my childhood visit fondly. We decided to settle in this area, in part because of Bok Tower Gardens, and joined as members.

April and Wood Puryear

North Palm Beach

We remember a spring orchestra concert in the late 1980s accompanied by whippoorwill chirps in the background that kept time with the music. Even the conductor commented!

Billy Adams Haines City

2014 can share them with future generations. It’s another way we can all help preserve Edward Bok’s legacy. The new website is being designed with intuitive features to make it fun and easy to use. It will be timeline-based, so if your memory is of a trip to the Gardens in 1969 for example, you’ll be able to date stamp the year so that it appears with other stories from the same time period. You can categorize or “tag” your story so that it’s searchable by keyword, such as “Singing Tower,” “Window by the Pond,” “Weddings,” or “Squirrels.” Later, you’ll even have the opportunity to share your story with friends and family on Facebook or Twitter. As members, you are the first to hear about this special project and can be among the first to submit your stories and photos today at Then on Feb. 1, 2014, in conjunction with our Founder’s Day Weekend Celebration, we invite you to come back to find and share your published story, read about the experiences and memories of others, and learn of a major announcement affecting the future of the Gardens.

Share your story today at

I first came with my family as a five-year-old in 1937. I attended a Boy Scout Camporee in the mid-1940s. Now our grandchildren always ask to go to Bok Tower Gardens when they come to visit.

Susan Buck

Lake Wales

On my first visit in the 1980s, I was overcome with the beauty and peacefulness of Bok Tower Gardens. It is my most favorite place in the world. During the 15 years of owning and operating our business on Camp Mack, this place was my retreat and oasis. Every visit is special to me and I hope to continue visiting as long as I live.

Dale Fair

Babson Park

In the early 1960s, I was a teacher at Lake Wales High School and was selected as a chaperone for the seniors to visit the Gardens and Tower. I have never seen anything that compares! My wife worked in the office for 18 years, and we were fortunate to visit and enjoy Bok Tower Gardens many, many times. When I retired in 2003, she surprised me with the purchase of an honorary plaque and column at the entrance to the new Visitor Center.

“Every time we lose a species we break a life chain which has evolved over 3.5 billion years.”

a key role in helping to conserve regional plant species, and Bok Tower Gardens is no exception.

As part of its conservation mission, in 1986 Bok Tower Chief Scientist, International Gardens initiated a Union for Conservation of Nature program to preserve and understand central Florida’s rarest plants by joining the Center for Plant Conservation. We began building an ex situ collection of seeds and living specimens, and serving as a repository for germplasm in the event populations are lost.

Jeffrey McNeely

Preserving Each Masterpiece for Future Generations Celebrating 27 years of Rare Plant Conservation by Cheryl L. Peterson, Conservation Manager Florida is one of the most botanically rich areas in the U.S., but with over 500 plants listed as endangered or threatened, it also has one of the highest percentages of rarity, behind only California and Hawaii. Garden institutions worldwide play

Species once facing imminent extinction are seeing greater hope for survival.

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The Florida Ziziphus (Ziziphus celata), once thought to be extinct, now exists primarily because of our ex situ collection, and seedlings are being used to create new populations.

Today, our Rare Plant Conservation Program (RPCP) is a recognized leader in the field. We perform biological and ecological research, engage in public and academic education, rescue rare plants from developing areas, and introduce new populations onto protected lands. Through collaborative efforts with federal, state and local agencies, non-governmental organizations and private partners, 10 species have been used to create 24 new populations totaling over 14,000 plants at protected sites. Additionally, over six million seeds and 1,700 living specimens from 68 species are currently preserved in our collection. The famous biologist E.O. Wilson said, “Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.” For 27 years and counting, we’ve been working to protect some of Florida’s most precious masterpieces for future generations.

There were only eight plants of Savannas Mint (Dicerandra immaculata var. savannarum) left in the wild, but RPCP staff introduced two new populations of 2,600 plants to ensure its survival for years to come.

The success of population introductions and better propagation protocols are contributing to the possible de-listing of Florida Goldenaster (Chrysopsis floridana) from endangered to threatened.

Calendar Calendar NOVEMBER

2 Discovery Saturdays: Swamp Girl Adventures 9 Girl Scout Daisy Day 15 Moonlight Carillon Concert 16 Discovery Saturdays: Audubon Society 16 Members Only: Founder’s Room Tour 21 Polk County Family Week 23 Intermediate Watercolors with Cathy Futral 23 “A Look Back” Historical Exhibit Opens 29 Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate Opens 29 Members Only: 12 Days of Savings Begins 29 Family Portrait Day


3 Antique Car Showcase 7 Members Only: Founder’s Room Tour

85th Anniversary Events Commemorate Our Past, Present & Future by Jennifer Beam, Director of Visitor Services & Programs We are inviting the entire community to come together and celebrate on Feb. 1, 2014 for our Dedication Day. There will be a ceremony at 11 a.m. with Japanese drummers, presentation of the colors, and guest speakers. Take part in a rare opportunity to cross the moat for an up-close view of the Great Brass Door, enjoy special carillon concerts, and participate in a tree planting in honor of Edward Bok’s enduring interest in nature. All visitors to the Gardens on Feb. 1 receive free admission.

7 Holiday Traditions Workshop: Musical Ornaments

But it’s not just about one day. It’s about an entire season filled with activities for the whole family that promote our year-long campaign to make memories, share stories, and focus on community. Our 85th anniversary calendar of programs and events inspires a love of nature, music, art, and history. We have added new and engaging activities to help visitors make the most of their experience at the Gardens. Edward Bok was a leader in the preservation and appreciation of our natural world, and we are continuing Bok’s dream to inspire others to do the same. Preview our entire calendar online at, then join us for the most spectacular year of events in our 85-year history as we celebrate our past, present and future.

7 Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert 10 Antique Car Showcase 14 Holiday Traditions Workshop: Natural Centerpieces 14 Discovery Saturdays: Photo Quest 15 Moonlight Carillon Concert & Holiday Home Tour 17 Antique Car Showcase 21 Holiday Traditions Workshop: Christmas Boondoggles 25 Christmas Day at Bok Tower Gardens 28 Discovery Saturdays: Happy Hives


9 Edward Bok Memorial Carillon Concerts 11 Discovery Saturdays: Swamp Girl Adventures 13 Moonlight Carillon Concert 18 Winter Dog Day 19 Live at the Gardens! David Pedraza Viola & Piano Duo 20 Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Carillon Concerts 25 Discovery Saturdays: Composting 25 Beginning Watercolors with Cathy Futral 31 Tower Key Society Member Appreciation Breakfast


1 Tower Key Society Member Appreciation Breakfast 1 Founder’s Day Weekend Celebration 8 Discovery Saturdays: Happy Hives 9 Live at the Gardens! Curtis On Tour 12 Moonlight Carillon Concert 14 Valentine’s Dinner at Pinewood Estate 14 Valentine’s Day Carillon Concerts 15 Love In Bloom Reunion Celebration 22 “La Florida: 500 Years In the Place of Flowers” Opens 22 & 23 Bok Tower Souvenir Showcase 23 Harmonious Fare “Jazz in the City”

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Giant Victoria Water Lilies: Real or Science Fiction? by Greg Kramer, Director of Horticulture Photos by David Price Early plant exploration into the tropical regions of the world sparked both scientific and creative interest. One such region of botanical wonder is the Amazon Basin. A specific water plant discovered there worthy of John Wyndham’s science fiction novel, “The Day of the Triffids,” is the Victoria amazonica water lily. It has huge leaves that unravel from a spiny ball, eventually expanding to at least six feet. Bok Tower Gardens has planted two of these lilies in our Reflection Pond.

They are actually a hybrid of two species, Victoria amazonica and Victoria cruziana. The cross is called the Victoria Longwood Hybrid, so named for being first produced at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. This lily displays “hybrid vigor,” meaning there is an increase in growth and size over that of the parents. Leaves of a single Victoria Longwood Hybrid can grow up to nine feet across, and the plant can cover 30 feet of water surface!

Since its discovery 200 years ago, the Victoria Water Lily continues to evoke thought and wonder. It’s not uncommon for visitors to ask, “Are those plants real?” This is a great question, as they seem to be something straight out of a science fiction novel.

Celebrate Traditions this Christmas at the Gardens by Jennifer Beam, Director of Visitor Services & Programs

Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens is always a favorite time for guests of all ages, and this year is no exception. Upon entering the Gardens, you’ll November 29 - January 5 be greeted by our annual poinsettia display in the For a complete list of fountain courtyard and 12-foot Christmas tree activities visit us online at full of nature-inspired decorations in the Visitor Center. Seasonal carillon music can be heard ringing out as you journey through the Gardens on your way to the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate, where a wonderland of decorations adorns the historic home.

Christmas at Bok Tower Gardens

Now in its 19th year, the Holiday Home Tour features different decorations each Christmas, and this year’s “Celebrating Traditions” theme guided the design process. Room designers have selected décor ranging from old, authentic ornaments 14 | Fall 2013

A Walk Among Wildflowers

Enjoy native wildflower blooms along our Pine Ridge Nature Trail. by Greg Kramer, Director of Horticulture

See them for yourself! The Victoria amazonica water lilies will be on display through mid-November. The plants die when water temperatures begin to cool. Each year these plants are grown from seed.

to historic themes about the home’s original owners, to various holiday traditions celebrated by their own families. Every room will spark new, creative ideas you can use in your home’s holiday design. You can also enjoy the sounds of the season with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Singing Tower carillon as they perform together Dec. 7 during a special holiday edition of Sunset & Symphony, one of Central Florida’s favorite outdoor concerts. Families and friends are encouraged to prepare themed picnics and experience a magical December evening as the sun sets atop Iron Mountain.

A recent prescribed burn and generous summer rains have been ideal for the native wildflower bloom this fall. When visiting the Gardens, be sure to take a walk along our ¾-mile Pine Ridge Nature Trail to see firsthand the array of wildflower colors and textures immersed in a diverse and rare longleaf pine habitat. Listed below are some of the species that can be enjoyed through mid-November.

Blazing Star Liatris tenuifolia

This showy wildflower contrasts with the golden grasses and silver lupine of the Longleaf Sandhill habitat along the Pine Ridge Trail.

Sandhill Wireweed Polygonella robusta

Numerous small pink and white flowers cover this shrub in summer and fall which make it very attractive to pollinators.

Ratany Krameria lancoelata

Small red and purple star-shaped flowers can be seen blooming along the trailing plant, which can be found intertwining with neighboring plants. Photo courtesy

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Where in the World is Geert D’hollander?


Church of St. Peter Turnhout, Belgium

Upon completing his first season last May, Geert flew to Belgium for a combination concert with carillon and piano at the Church of St. Peter in Turnhout’s market square (even after the airline lost his luggage). This tower boasts 50 bells cast in the late 18th century by Andreas Van den Gheyn. From there, it was a recital at the City Hall of Temse, Belgium, built between 1903 and 1905.

From October to May, Geert D’hollander brings the Singing Tower to life as our world-renowned carillonneur. But are you aware of how he spends his “off time” during the summer months? These are some highlights of his recent world travels before returning to the Gardens in October. Take a good look at these pictures… Geert is quite the Bok Tower Gardens ambassador!

Rumbold’s Cathedral 2 St. Mechelen, Belgium After serving on the jury for the final exams of the Royal Carillon School (the same from which he graduated at age 17), Geert was off to St. Rumbold’s Cathedral in Mechelen. This impressive gothic tower was built between 1452 and 1520 by the Keldermans family. The completed tower was supposed to have been topped by a 253-foot spire, but only 23 feet were attained due to concerns over the total weight of the structure. Notice the similarities between the St. Rumbold’s Tower and our own Singing Tower? This Belgium monument was Bok’s inspiration to build his masterpiece in Lake Wales. It is nearly 320 feet tall, and its 514 stairs are climbed by thousands of tourists each year. The original carillon has a set of 49 bells, all still in working order, with a second complete set of bells 39 steps above the first.

New Gift Cards! AAN NNNI V




1 1 92929 - 204 9 - 201


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ard C t f i G Gift Card

by Brian Ososky, Director of Marketing & Public Relations Fortunately, those flashy little plastic gift cards aren’t just for the big box retail stores anymore. Bok Tower Gardens is introducing a brand new gift card program for anyone wishing to share Edward Bok’s vision with friends and family during this 85th anniversary season and beyond. Gift cards have become so popular because they provide a more personal gift than cash without requiring the

Gummarus Tower 3 St. Lier, Belgium Then it was back to Belgium for some “quiet time” before another concert with carillon and piano July 3 at the St. Gummarus Tower in Lier, where Geert previously served as musical consultant for one of the most expensive carillon restoration projects in history.


Nijkerk & Brielle The Netherlands

On July 4, Geert was in The Netherlands performing in Nijkerk, then on July 8 in Brielle. The Brielle tower was built very close to the sea, and its flat roof was used to build fires and warn ships approaching the harbor. Ten days later, it was a journey to “Long John,” the Tower of the Middelburg Abbey. The original tower was built during the 15th and 16th centuries, but was completely destroyed by bombs during WWII. Only the heaviest bell survived, but a new carillon was cast by the Van Bergen Company in 1955.

giver to select specific items. Plus they are easy to give, easy to carry, and easy to use. As members, you can be among the first to purchase these special 85th anniversary-edition gift cards, depicting a new aerial photograph of the Singing Tower. A limited run of only 500 have been produced, after which time subsequent cards will feature entirely new artwork. Give the gift of Bok Tower Gardens today by stopping by the Tower & Garden Gift Shop, or by ordering your gift cards online at

Antwerp 6 Cathedral

5 Palace of Catalonia

Antwerp, Belgium

Barcelona, Spain

Geert’s adventures continued in Barcelona, first for performances at the Palace of Catalonia, the only instrument in Europe with a full-time carillonneur position. Then it was over to see La Sagrada Familia, one of the most unique cathedrals in the world. Designed by Antoni Gaudi and inspired by nature, it has been under construction since 1880 and still won’t be completed for another 30 to 80 years!

At the end of July, Geert was back in Belgium at the carillon he called home for 25 years—the Antwerp Cathedral. This gothic tower was built between 1352 and 1533, is nearly twice the height of the Singing Tower at 403 feet, and has more than 500 steps to climb to play the instrument. (Geert often says the reason he took the job at Bok Tower Gardens is because of the Tower’s elevator.)

Our new gift cards can be used for: • Admission to the Gardens and Pinewood Estate • Tickets to Concerts and Special Events • Annual Memberships • Food & Drink in the Blue Palmetto Café • Tower & Garden Gift Shop items, and • Author-signed copies of our brand new book, Bok Tower Gardens: America’s Taj Mahal

Fall 2013 | 17



Nominated by her peers, Jennifer was selected for this award because of her multi-faceted experience and exemplary leadership in the museum field. For 15 years, she has created positive change at three top Florida cultural institutions – Maitland Historical Society, Young At Art Museum, and since 2006 at Bok Tower Gardens.

CHAIR Michael Aloian, President

Charlotte State Bank Trust Department – Tampa

VICE CHAIR Cindy Alexander, Community Volunteer Lake Wales

TREASURER Tomas J. Bok, Ph.D., President

Cambridge Analytics LLC – Somerville, Mass.

SECRETARY Frank M. Hunt II, Chairman of the Board Hunt Bros. Cooperative – Lake Wales


The Bryan Group – Jacksonville

William G. Burns, Retired Lake Wales

Paul Collins, Retired PJC Partners, London

Frank Driscoll, President/CEO

Driscoll Group – Winston-Salem, N.C.

Derek Dunn-Rankin, President

Sun Coast Media Group, Inc. – Charlotte Harbor

Chip Elfner, President

Mountain Lake Corporation – Lake Wales

Robin Gibson, Senior Partner Gibson Law Firm – Lake Wales

Heather Jordan-Holmes, CEO/President

Gardens’ Jennifer Beam Receives FAM Award Jennifer Beam, Director of Visitor Services & Programs at Bok Tower Gardens, was presented with the 2013 Florida Association of Museums (FAM) “Outstanding MidCareer Professional” award during the organization’s annual conference last month in Fort Lauderdale.

Jennifer has helped guide the Gardens in the implementation of 45 new programs and events over the last seven years, which has improved attendance by 55% and more than doubled earned revenue in these areas. Additionally, she implemented a new self-guided tour at Pinewood Estate and created a new rental business plan for the Gardens, both also resulting in revenue increases. With a goal of delivering exceptional visitor experiences, she diligently inspires, guides, and mentors her staff. Congratulations Jennifer!

The Omnia Group, Inc. – Tampa

L. Evans Hubbard, Chairman of the Board A. Friends’ Foundation Trust – Orlando

Dick Wood, Retired

Wawa, Inc. – Wawa, Penn.

EMERITUS MEMBERS Louise B. Adams Lake Wales

J. Shepard Bryan Jr., Attorney

Holland & Knight LLP – Atlantic Beach

Nancy J. Davis, President & CEO

McArthur Management Company – Miami

John Germany, Attorney

Holland & Knight LLP – Tampa

Robert Graham, Senator U. S. Senate – Miami

M. Lewis Hall Jr., Partner/Attorney Hall & Hedrick – Coral Gables

Joan Wellhouse Newton, Chairman Emeritus Regency Centers Corporation – Jacksonville

18 | Fall 2013

THANK YOU’S Thank you to our summer event sponsors: Live at the Gardens: Allen & Company, WEDU, Terrie Lobb Catering, Camp Rosalie, Tapping the Vine, The Apothecary Shop, and Florida’s Natural Growers. Dog Day of Summer: Veterinary Healthcare Associates. Special thanks to the following donors of Florida native plants and the property owners who allowed Bok Tower Gardens to survey for and collect native plants: Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, FL; Chris Bertoch, Pines of Wekiva Homeowners Association, Apopka, FL; Katherine Edenhofer, Ocklawaha, FL; Ric Stange, Ft. Pierce, FL; St. Lucie County, Dept. of Environmental Resources, Ft. Pierce, FL; Charles T. Collins, Ocala, FL; Finish Line Homes, Inc., Wellington, FL; and Indian River County, Parks Division, Vero Beach, FL.

Bok Tower Gardens Wins Frederic B. Stresau Award for 25-Year Master Plan by Brian Ososky, Director of Marketing & Public Relations Bok Tower Gardens is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Frederic B. Stresau Award, presented by the Florida chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FLASLA). The award is named in honor of Frederic Stresau, a pioneer in early Florida landscape architecture, and is bestowed annually by a jury upon a recipient which best exhibits innovation and design excellence. Bok Tower Gardens entered its 25-year master plan in the Planning and Analysis category. “Only works that are truly exceptional and advance the landscape architecture profession and enhance our collective body of knowledge are considered,” said Kenn Bates, ASLA, FLASLA Design Awards Committee Chairman. This year, the FLASLA received 63 award submittals from Florida-registered professionals and students for various projects. According to the jury, “The Bok Tower Gardens master plan is a sensitive, beautifully imaginative, and masterful piece of work respectful of an iconic Florida landmark.” They commended the designers—Studio Outside/Tres

Partner Profile:

Allen & Company Allen & Company, founded in 1932, is a full-service financial services firm and the oldest investment firm headquartered in Florida. They are founded on the principle of helping clients plan for success by providing

Fromme and David Sacks Landscape Architecture— for a very carefully prepared document, with a deep understanding of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.’s vision.

Mike Miller, FLASLA Chapter President; Tary Arterbrun, Studio Outside; David Price, Bok Tower Gardens; Joan Thomas, Bok Tower Gardens; David Sacks, Registered Landscape Architect

“We are thrilled to have the Bok Tower Gardens Master Plan recognized by the state’s landscape architects as the best design plan for 2013,” said David Price, president of the Gardens. “Tres Fromme and David Sacks produced a thoughtful and thorough plan that will guide us for the next 25 years.” The Florida Chapter of the ASLA Design Awards Program recognizes and celebrates outstanding design works by students and professionals. The program encourages the advancement, expansion, and recognition of landscape architecture efforts throughout Florida, across the nation, and around the world. It honors and celebrates projects that blend environmental and artistic principles emphasizing beauty, function, and the environment.

services based on quality, integrity, trust, and longevity. Allen & Company is relationship driven, not transaction driven. Allen & Company’s Winter Haven advisors, Diane Burr and Lorin Bice, have been supporters of the Gardens for the last several years through their sponsorship of our Live at the Gardens summer concerts, and this past summer

were the Live at the Gardens Summer Concert Series presenting sponsor. We are grateful to have Allen & Company as a partner, and we appreciate all they do for Bok Tower Gardens and our community. Fall 2013 | 19

1151 Tower Boulevard Lake Wales 33853



New Book Available in the Gift Shop! Buy your copy of the newly released Bok Tower Gardens: America’s Taj Mahal, co-authored by Kenneth Treister and Gardens’ president David Price. It is the first major illustrated book about Bok Tower Gardens. Signed copies by the authors are available.

Book Signing Event November 15 at 5 p.m.

RSVP to attend at


These items are part of our collection in the Chao Research Center Archives which is housed inside the Singing Tower.

The Garden Path  
The Garden Path  

Vol 5 | Issue 3 | Fall 2013