Bok Tower Gardens in the heart of Florida is a garden that opens its doors for locals and foreigners to enjoy a journey in which ferns, palm trees, turtles, squirrels and the Tower of Song form a lush landscape that invites you to stop in time.
Bok Tower Gardens to feed the soul
Under a completely blue sky, we started a trip through Bok Tower Gardens, a place that brings together the majesty of nature, the charm of architecture and the gratitude of a man who lived to spread the art, support culture and defend human rights . A man who, when he was only six years old, received advice from his grandmother that moved him throughout his life. “Make the world something better and more beautiful, because you have lived in it”, words that are read at the entrance to the garden that Edward W. Bok founded, who was editor of The Ladies Home Journal, the most prestigious women’s magazine of the time , in Florida, and that today is a National Historic Monument, as well as a refuge to feed the soul.
A place that has witnessed many stories and that leaves a beautiful memory on each path. Upon entering the Bok Tower Gardens, the first thing you see is a path full of stones in which the tourist can walk barefoot and feel the warmth of each one of them. Listen to the song of the birds and enjoy the red, purple, lilac and green colors that emanate from the flowers. Here, far from the accelerated rhythm of daily life, peace and tranquility prevail. Several are the roads and each one is free to choose the one he wants to go, in the end, all lead to the Singing Tower, which is the heart of the garden and a symbol of unity.
We chose to follow the route of the azaleas, the camellias and the magnolias, which are a sample of art in constant change. At each step, a melody penetrated the air and the sound of the carillon took on strength while the ferns, squirrels and butterflies made theirs. The first stop was at Hammock Hollow Children’s, a space for children to connect with nature and interact with animals through fun sand games, native limestone springs and a segmented tunnel that allows you to imagine the life as a Gopher turtle, an iconic species of the state.
During the tour there are wind instruments for tourists to connect with music and create new melodies. The garden fairies, who live in houses built by children, also make their appearances to fill the place with magic, while some parents contemplate the landscape sitting in hammocks or small chairs. This garden was inaugurated seven years ago and is dedicated to the memory of Edward Bok, who was in love with words, art and animals, and who firmly believed that learning about the qualities of nature makes a better world, more sensitive to the needs of others.
At this point of the road, in the distance, in the midst of ferns, oaks and pines, you begin to see the Tower of Song: majestic, imposing and perfect. As a prelude to this work of art, there is a small lake that serves as a photographic stage for tourists. From then on, five minutes from the Tower, you can see the contrast between nature and the work done by man. Beauty and emotion invade the soul and only remains to enjoy that moment in which time stops and in which a dream becomes reality.
The dream of Edward W. Bok, a boy who was born in Den Heler, the Netherlands, and who at the age of six came to the United States, a place where he did not understand the language or culture but, with the passing Over the years, it captivated him and gave him the opportunity to do something he never imagined, but which filled him with deep joy and success: being editor of The Ladies Home Journal, a magazine that marked the lifestyle of several generations. But to get there, he went through difficult tests that formed his character and taught him that life and dreams are built step by step.
He worked cleaning windows in a bakery, then commercial services and then in editorial sales, a world that he researched with passion and there he began to know and worry about telling stories with a strong social impact, those stories that transform societies. When he arrived at The Ladies Home Journal, he undertook a dizzying task to reach many people. Under his direction they reached a million subscribers, astonishing figure for the time. Thirty years worked with discipline and passion in the magazine, until he announced his retirement to dedicate himself completely to build a work that “touched the soul with its beauty and tranquility”.
To achieve this noble cause he gathered the most famous artisans of his generation, also architects, sculptors, metallurgists and landscapers, who worked for eight years to deliver, in 1929, Bok Tower Gardens, work that has already received more than 23 million visitors . These gardens have served as a source of personal, spiritual and cultural enrichment. In addition, they are a door that takes us into the very history of life. This is evident in La Gran Puerta, which gives us access to the Tower, where the story of the Book of Genesis is seen until the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.
The iron gates that lead to the Tower were made by hand and present birds with diverse expressions. The series of sculptures by Tower de Lawrie relates themes of nature, humanity, the Bible and philosophy. It measures 62 meters high and is the home of Bok’s carillon, which has 60 bells, and is always emitting a melody that brightens the soul. Inside the Tower there are, on the first floor, the founder’s room, an electric elevator, two libraries and the workshop of four curators. Visiting Bok Tower Gardens is an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature, nourish the spirit, clear the mind and feel the immensity of life.