Cypress Gardens Swamp Garden
The Swamp Gardens began after Benjamin Kittredge purchased the land in the early 1900's. When he noticed the beauty of a red maple reflected in the black water he got the inspiration for the gardens. In 1927, he began planting thousands of azaleas, camellias, tea olives, dogwoods, magnolias, and numerous bulbs. A crew of approximately 200 men with wheelbarrows constructed paths across the swamp to join the opposite dikes. Children scoured the woods in search of native atamasco lily bulbs for which Mr. Kittredge paid a penny each.
As the years passed, exotic trees and shrubs, as well as native species were planted. Mrs. Kittredge imported thousands of winter blooming daphne, her favorite flowering shrub, and planted the Camellia Garden with timely varieties such as "Bessie MacArthur" and "Rising Sun".
Benjamin Kittredge first opened his gates to the public in 1932. Today, the swamp is home to countless species. There are Bald Eagles, wood ducks, hawks, osprey, herons, and egrets. Frogs and turtles can be seen as well. Fox, deer, raccoon, and bobcat tracks remind us of the lively nocturnal life here. But of course the most popular animal to see here is the alligator. On our visit we saw a variety of them in many sizes, from a small baby about a foot long, all the way to one about 12 feet long with a VERY large mouth! You can view all these from the paths and nature trails, or you can go out in a flat bottomed boat and paddle through the swamp.
The Cypress Gardens nature trail was really cool. My dad got stupid and got to close to a 12 foot alligator. There were tons of baby alligators too. My dad was going to take a picture of a 7 foot alligator when he saw the one almost twice as big. It was huge. It could eat you without even thinking about it. Luckily it wasn't hungry and it was well fed.
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