Tag Archives: Walton County

The many hues of Watercolor’s flower and water gardens

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Watercolor 1

Watercolor, Florida, is a planned 500-acre resort town along Scenic Highway 30A on Florida’s Panhandle, dreamed up in 1999 on property owned since 1929 by the St. Joe¬† Company. Made to emulate the style of timeless Southern homes, it features wraparound porches, metal roof overhangs, columns,wooden siding, and screened outdoor spaces.

There are retail shops and restaurants but perhaps my favorite part of Watercolor is the town park featuring a mosaic tile waterway and brightly blooming seasonal flowers along with green spaces, walking paths, shade trees, and park benches to slow the pace.

Watercolor 2All flowers, trees, and shrubs are identified with placards for those who wonder about the bright red flowers (impatiens) or the clustered yellow blooms (lantana).

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Florida’s Eden Gardens and historic Wesley Mansion

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Florida’s historic Eden Gardens State Park, located in Walton County, features the antebellum-inspired Wesley mansion that was built in 1895 by wealthy lumberman William Henry Wesley.¬†Local legend claims that the original design was inspired by an antebellum plantation house where the builder was given shelter on his way home from the War Between the States.

Wesley’s lumber partner and father-in-law, Simeon Strickland, had an identical house nearby, of which a portion still stands. Traces of their mill, where lumber for the two houses was cut, may still be seen on the Eden grounds.

The focal point of this 161-acre park, originally the family’s estate, is the beautifully renovated, two-story Wesley house with its elegant white columns and wrap-around porch. The moss-draped live oaks and ornamental gardens inspire visions to wander the grounds, perhaps imagining an earlier age of genteel life on the Florida Panhandle.
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