Orlando 2003
 


This trip was a surprise trip as I just found out I was going about a week before I left. The weather here was in the mid 90’s with about 100 percent humidity. Needless to say, this is weather I am not used to and had a bit of a challenge adjusting to it, especially going in and out of buildings that were air-conditioned!

The first picture is of our hotel on the left and crape myrtle trees…there were many of these trees in the area we stayed in. The hotel is right on International Drive and the convention center (where Tom was doing a trade show) was just next door to us. Notice they are getting ready to plant some annuals. Many, many coleus being planted here. The close-up pictures are of the crape myrtle.
 

   
 

Now just across the street is the Peabody Hotel…why do I mention it? Well, everywhere you go, if you look hard enough you will always find something that not only amuses you, but could even be a secret except for those that have been there and know. This was one of those times. Those little ducks that you see here have quite the history. It all started in 1930 with a schoolboy prank by the general manager of the Memphis hotel and a good friend who had sipped a bit too much whiskey and thought it would be a great idea to place a duck in the Peabody fountain. They loved the idea and to this day ducks have been housed in each of the three hotels. They have their own duck palace and each day at 11 a.m. come down the elevator and parade across the red carpet to their fountain, remain there until 5 p.m. then go back upstairs. One male and his little harem of four females are quite the sight to watch. The children and grownups there that day just loved it!
 

 
 
 

The outdoor statues are placed along International Drive and represent the wildlife in the area.
 

   
 

On our free day on Saturday, we made good use of our time. First stop was the Harry P. Leu Botanic Gardens…50 acres of ‘Old Florida’, featuring wonderful collections of camellias, palms, cycads and bamboos plus many other gardens, the Leu House Museum and the Garden House that welcomes various garden groups and also houses the botanical library.

We had the pleasure of meeting Robert Bowman, the executive director of the gardens who took us on a bit of a tour which included one of his favourite areas of the gardens – the grasses. He and Tom are standing in the Home Demonstration Garden area. One of the plants you will notice is the variegated banana – quite unusual and not often seen. The red brick raised beds were filled with a planting medium called ‘Mickey Muck’ that Robert told us came from Disney world.

There is a picture of me sitting in the Herb Garden, looking drained and it’ s only 11 a.m.! Tom is looking up at a tree just dripping in spanish moss. Many trees here have that on them. I loved the urn by the building filled with tropicals and see the use of grasses? Everywhere and very nice to look at.

Robert was telling us that this year they have 350 weddings booked…I can see why, it was truly a magical and tropical place to visit.

For more information on this garden visit www.leugardens.org
 

 
 

Following this visit we headed towards the Winter Park community. We parked the car then walked down to the pier to book our little tour around Lake Osceola. This area is central Florida’s cultural heart. Filled with art galleries, museums, and the scenic Winter Park Boat Tour. This tour has been in operation for 65 years. It covers 12 miles of Winter Park history, flora and fauna, and opulent lakeside mansions.
 

   
 
 
 

Our boat tour ended, then we walked around the area a bit. Found wonderful little alleys to visit, a garden store, a tiffany reproduction store that I just loved and really do want to visit again. I also visited the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art with the real Tiffany Collection. This museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. It includes his jewelry, pottery, paintings (Tiffany was a painter before he got into glass) and art glass as well as his lamps and leaded-glass windows. The highlight is the restored Byzantine-Romanesque chapel interior the Tiffany designed for the 1893 World’s Columbian exposition in Chicago.

A wonderful place to visit - but hurry, because the 40 lamps on view are only there until the end of the year.

International Drive has a great trolley bus service that you can use to get to some great eating and shopping areas – both of which we did while here.
 

 

 


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