Four Florida Gardens to Haunt Your Dreams

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These 4 Florida Gardens will Haunt Your Dreams

Florida gardens flourish from season to season.  As we enter the cooler months, many states feel the grip of fall, but coastal Florida’s temperatures remain steadily tropical.  Even in October, the chill in the air is slight, and landscapes remain green and dotted with only hints of autumn color.  Some Florida gardens, however,  chill you to the bone no matter how warm the temperature is.

Why?  Well, some Florida gardens are undeniably haunted.  Just in time for Halloween, here are four haunted Florida gardens spanning from the Sarasota area to ghost-prone St. Augustine.

You may want to leave the lights on while you read this blog.

The Ringling – Mable’s Rose Garden

Our garden “ghost tour” starts close to home.  If you live near Sarasota, you may have already guessed that we’re talking about John and Mable Ringling’s winter estate.  It is no surprise, really, when you consider the age of the estate.  The main house (Ca d’Zan) was completed in 1926, and stories of haunts and specters punctuate The Ringling Estate’s history.  Among these stories is that of Mable’s Rose Garden.

Mable’s Rose Garden was originally constructed 1913, which was before the estate itself was completed, according to www.ringling.org.  To this day, the garden hosts roses introduced as early as 1867.  It has been preserved and restored throughout the years, and the age of the place can be felt by a simple walk through it.  But history and a long lineage of roses is not all the garden has to offer.

Among the roses, the childlike statues, and pagodas, the garden also plays host to a lone, shadowy, female figure.  She has been seen walking through through the rose garden before disappearing into thin air!  Many believe this is the spirit of Mable Ringling, who died of pneumonia in 1929.  Of course, this must be when she grows bored with her walks the terrace, which is another place Mable has been seen.  Perhaps Mable simply wants to make sure her Florida garden is still one of the most beautiful.

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Historic Spanish Point – Sunken Gardens & Pergola

If you visit the Sunken Gardens & Pergola at Historic Spanish Point, expect a resplendent display of flowers, bougainvillea wrapped around sun-drenched columns, and tropical foliage.  This beautiful Florida Garden is located in the Sarasota/Osprey area and can be largely attributed to the handiwork of Bertha Palmer.  Palmer, who is cited as one of the most influential developers of modern Sarasota, was known as a socialite, a businesswoman, and an agriculturalist.  She intended the 350-acre property to be her winter estate.  Apparently, it became her destination in the in the afterlife as well.  Though she died in 1918, Bertha can still be seen wandering her gardens.  Given how beautiful they are, who can blame her?

Interestingly, Historic Spanish Point has hauntings throughout the historical site.  Spirits of the area’s earliest inhabitants are said to roam the sprawling area.  There’s also the spirit of Mary, a girl who died of tuberculosis in 1892.  Mary is said to ring the chapel bells.  Of course, we also have Bertha in her gardens.  Despite its ghostly reputation, Historic Spanish Point is one of the most beautiful wedding destinations.  One can’t help but wonder how many uninvited guests show up.

Harry P. Leu Gardens

Imagine a Florida garden that sprawls over 50 acres of land.  Well, that’s exactly how you would describe Harry P. Leu Gardens.  This oasis of tropical plants was gifted to  Orlando in the 1960s.  At the heart of the property, is a restored nineteenth century home that housed many families before it became a museum.  The house at the heart of the gardens is where the hauntings take place.

Just imagine this beautiful Florida garden filled with exotic plants and many varieties of camellias.  You come across the home at the heart of the property and decide to venture up to second story porch.  The view is what you came for, but you get so much more.  Even though you are alone, footsteps echo up and down the balcony.  These footsteps belong to the ghosts of the Harry Leu and his wife Mary Jane.

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Don Pedro Horruytiner House

St. Augustine, FL is a very haunted city.  One of the oldest cities in Florida, it is bound to have more than its fair share of ghosts (or at least ghost stories).   The Don Pedro Horruytiner House is no exception. The first reported ghost story was in 1821 by Brigita Gomez.  Tending to her garden, Brigita took note of two “translucent” women.

Brigita recognized the apparitions as the previous owners.  She recognized them from paintings that hung in the house.  As the story goes, she conversed with the ghosts and gave them yellow roses as they departed.  The next day, she found yellow roses on her doorstep.  This was just the beginning of paranormal activity reported in the garden.  In fact, to this day, the two women along with other former residents have been spotted in the garden.

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, spirits, or the paranormal, these gardens have some spine-tingling reputations.  Maybe it’s because Florida gardens are worth visiting over and over again that we seem to have spirits that linger.  Or maybe it’s true when they say, “Once a gardener, always a gardener!”  In either case, we hope you enjoyed our little Halloween treat.

Happy Halloween from 1 Stop!

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