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FLOR 500 Gardens
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500 Gardens (Public Gardens):

FLOR500 invites 500 schools and libraries from across the state's 67 counties plant 500 wildflower gardens and dedicate them to one of 500 important Floridians (selected by a team of historians) featured on this website. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to develop skills in art, history, and nature as they participate in celebrating 500 years of Florida.

Review the FLOR500 list of featured honorees in the their region and select a historic figure they want to honor when they plant their public wildflower garden.

For Title: Enter the NUMBER and NAME of Honoree from list,
For First Image: Enter MAIN Garden photo,
Add Credit Line for Photos if needed


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Garden 441 Ralph Twitchell "Father of the Sarasota School of Architecture"

Posted By Ashley Lundy, Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Ralph Twitchell in 1890 in Mansfield, Ohio, Ralph Twitchell was interested in architecture from an early age. Ralph studied at McGill University in Montreal, and then at Columbia University where he took courses in landscape architecture and the beaux arts form of architecture. Following his enlistment in the army Twitchell came to Sarasota as an architectural supervisor where he worked with architect Dwight Baum who was working on building Ca’d’Zan, the John Ringling home. Twitchell participated in the design and construction planning for the El Vernona Hotel, later known as the John Ringling Hotel. In 1926, Ralph designed four Mediterranean homes in the Whitfield area of Sarasota, north of the airport. But of all his experience with architecture Ralph Twitchell is well known for designing The Sarasota School of Architecture.  The Sarasota School of Architecture to Twichell was a style of architecture that was in harmony with the environment. Ralph Twitchell never thought that the Spanish, or Mediterranean style of architecture, really suited the Florida climate. His style of architecture, which he called Florida Modern, featured a clean, open contemporary floor plan. His homes were "goldfish bowls" – light-filled -- with terrazzo floors, wide overhangs, and open to the beautiful Florida weather. Some people would say Ralph Twitchell played an important role in integrating the beauty of Florida nature with architecture. I decided to dedicate this garden within the public view of my home. Before Twitchell began his work on the Sarasota school of Architecture he started off building and designing the exterior of homes such as the John Ringling home as stated above.



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Garden 443 Rose Wilson

Posted By David Marte, Thursday, April 24, 2014
Entrance to Tamarac Lakes Senior Living Community
5200 Block Commercial Ave SW Corner, Tamarac, FL 33321

      This garden of Blanket Flowers is dedicated to Rose Wilson, a very forward-looking and advanced woman for her time. A community leader, Wilson, along with her husband Cornelius Van Santvoord, were the founders of Sarasota's first newspaper, The Sarasota Times. After the death of her husband in 1910, she continued to run the newspaper as its only editor until 1923. She was a strong advocate for women's rights, particularly the right to vote so that women could be able to intelligently influence the evolution of their nation and their home, even going so far as to be the first woman to be registered to vote in Sarasota and registering under her full name Rose Phillips Wilson rather than under Mrs. C.V.S. Wilson. She was also a strong advocate for compulsory education, believing widespread education to be a right and a necessity for the betterment of the community.

       The garden was planted at the entrance to this elderly community in order to help bring some color and plant-life to the barren pathway leading into and around the homes. Considering how green much of the community is once you enter and how many of the residents enjoy gardening as a past-time, it seemed proper to decorate the entrance to their community just to make it a little more aesthetically appealing. Hopefully the garden flourishes and encourages the members of the community to take pride in their area of living, just as Wilson did in Sarasota, and plant more native plants for the betterment of the community.

Portrait photo courtesy of Sarasota County History Center.

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Garden 484 Ralph Hubbard Norton, Businessman and Art Collector

Posted By Dyana Cuan-Garcia, Thursday, April 24, 2014
Garden @ Amelia Earhart Park
401 E 65th St, Hialeah, FL 33013

The reason why I decided to plant my seeds in Amelia Earhart park is because Ralph Hubbard Norton was an artist and he would collect an extensive amount of art work for more than twenty years.  Norton founded what is now the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach and has been serving the community creatively since 1941. Amelia Earhart is like an art museum in a sense where they’re constantly displaying different “exhibitions” for different occasions. For instance, they host an Easter Eggstravaganza for families to enjoy the day with their children on Easter Sunday. That Eggstravaganza was as thought provoking and creative as an actual piece in an art gallery.  Amelia Earhart also hosts other events that are exhibit like such as Christmas events, annual fireworks for New Years and Independence Day, along with birthdays on the daily for whoever decides to host a birthday there.

Amelia Earhart Park also is like an art gallery in the sense where they have many activities to do throughout the park such as a petting zoo, kayaking, mountain biking, and volleyball, among many others. Attendees constantly go to the park as a form of a creative outlet. For instance, some people shoot photos; write novels, or journals, paint, or draw, etc. In essence, the park is like the Norton Museum where both locations are a cultural attraction for visitors and locals.

All in all, planting the seeds in Amelia Earhart in honor of Ralph Hubbard Norton was a great decision. Many people will appreciate the fact that his garden is planted there. The correlation between the park and his gallery are indubitably appropriate for this Flor 500 project. It will make many people happy once they walk past the growing garden.

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Owen Burns

Posted By Lourdes Fernandez, Thursday, April 24, 2014

The important Floridian that I was assigned to, and I am dedicating this garden to is the late Owen Burns. Who was a well-known entrepreneur, banker, builder and developer during the 1900s era in Sarasota, Florida. He was originally from Chicago. He came to Sarasota for vacation, and he decided to make it his permanent home. His legacy still lives today making it a milestone for Florida’s history. He transformed the city of Sarasota by making the first improvements on paving roads, constructing seawalls, divided counties and continued to develop the city until his death. His hard work and dedication to the city of Sarasota is the foundation of the great city it is today. In the year 2001, the city of Sarasota commemorated Burns hard work and efforts to improving the city of Sarasota. The city of Sarasota has dedicated a memorial plaque in honor of his remembrance.

I was motivated to part-take in the Flor500 project created by Xavier Cortada because this project helped me give back to an important Floridian. I decided to plant my Florida Native Wildflower in Coral Gables, Florida. The area that I selected is a public historical area, which is always very populated, filled with Floridian landscapes architects. I selected this area in hopes of informing visitors of the dedication and contributions Owen Burns put forth in efforts to better his city and state by making this area a memorial remembrance to the late honorable Owen Burns. I was able to inform my helpers of the contribution Burns made for our state.  I addressed them to report all the findings to family and friends and share the historical site with them.

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Garden 206 William Bok

Posted By Liane Sippin, Thursday, April 24, 2014

Garden 206
1801 NW s River Drive, Miami, FL 33125

Edward William Bok (1863-1930)

Garden 206 is dedicated to William Bok a Dutch immigrant who believed in the American dream. Bok acted as a mediator between the Victorian world and a modern society; he had a hunger for self-education. Mr. Bok was unselfish man who believed in promoting peace, culture and nature preservation. He was as contributor to America as a philanthropists, educator and socially minded leader who continues to better the world even today, through Bok Towers. While living in central Florida Bok created Bok Tower Gardens. 

He was a well-respected environmental activist, impressed by the tranquility of the area; he wanted to create a place that would touch other souls with beauty and quiet. He purchased this land to be transformed into gardens with a Singing Tower. He presented this gift to the American people Feb. 1, 1929 as a token for the opportunities he had been given. The Gardens offer opportunities for artistic, cultural, and spiritual enrichment. It was not built as a church, or a school, it was built in dedication to the repose of the human spirit. Bok’s story represents the history of immigration, the influence of journalism on society, as well as social and environmental advocate.

Bok Tower Gardens has offered 23 million visitors since 1929 a remarkable experience. Through its historic landscape gardens and unique Singing Tower

 Since Mr. Bok wanted to leave a lasting impression on Florida my hope is that this garden dedication will re-establish what a great Floridian he was and I hope to be.














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FIU College of Architecture + The Arts

Xavier Cortada
Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts
420 Lincoln Road, Suite 430
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Xavier Cortada's participatory art practice is based at Florida International University.


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