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Splendid views of the colors and shapes at the Florida Botanical Gardens

Photos from across 182 acres in Largo.
Looking up at a hibiscus bush at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
Looking up at a hibiscus bush at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published Jun. 10
Updated Jul. 16

At the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, walking paths wind through a variety of flowering shrubs, shady trees and dark ponds layered in vegetation. It’s quiet here, but for the trickling water of the fountains, the chirp of birds and the busy hum of bees.

Regular visitors can find new ways to take in the sights. Focus on the abundance of color; no orange flower is the same, every shade of pink is represented in different species. The light filters through the trees playfully, like an interesting take on a gnarled trunk peeking out of the deep shade.

Notice the geometry in the succulent gardens, the sharp angles of planter boxes, the lollipop roundness of retro umbrellas that offer shade. It’s a lovely retreat from the world outside the front gates — good for inspiring the amateur gardener, ministering to the nature lover or offering a discreet place to hold someone’s hand or grab a kiss.

The botanical gardens is a mix of contrasts. You can find a pond dotted with water lilies steps away from a succulent garden that evokes images of dry, sandy deserts.
The botanical gardens is a mix of contrasts. You can find a pond dotted with water lilies steps away from a succulent garden that evokes images of dry, sandy deserts.

Related: Activists want to restore Tampa’s Kiley Garden, once a landscape marvel

Looking out over one of a few ponds – all come with alligators.
Looking out over one of a few ponds – all come with alligators.

Read more: A Tampa Bay Times photographer’s guide to taking portraits

Small flowers make up the bulk of a blue Lily of the Nile. Thousands of tiny leaflike algae create a bed of green on the surface of a small pond.
Small flowers make up the bulk of a blue Lily of the Nile. Thousands of tiny leaflike algae create a bed of green on the surface of a small pond. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
A couple of grasshoppers visit among the pink blooms of a firecracker bush.
A couple of grasshoppers visit among the pink blooms of a firecracker bush.

Related: How can you make your garden work for Florida’s environment?

Pierce Miletich and Taylor Golt, both 22, kiss in the wedding garden. The pair were visiting the area from Iowa, where they attend college.
Pierce Miletich and Taylor Golt, both 22, kiss in the wedding garden. The pair were visiting the area from Iowa, where they attend college. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Visitors walk along the path that winds through the various flora and fauna.
Visitors walk along the path that winds through the various flora and fauna.
An anhinga shakes water off its wings while sunbathing.
An anhinga shakes water off its wings while sunbathing.

Visit the Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. flbgfoundation.org.