Garden Variety

A Nature Lover's View

Story and Photography by Becca Barton

Reds, oranges, yellows, pinks, and lush, vibrant greens; the scent of greenery and mulch, mixed with the freshly fallen dewy fragrance of a new morning, and the sun’s first rays just peaking over the chain link fence and starting to warm the day. This was the scene of my first visit to USF Botanical Gardens.

I went on a whim, planning to take some shots with my camera, thinking it might be a nice morning activity. Although I had intended to go for an hour and then leave, I ended up snapping 500-plus photos in the span of three hours spent transfixed over the lush flora of the gardens.

Nature has always held a special place in my heart. I grew up in the woods of Maine, with a backyard about ten times the size of the apartment I occupy now. Maybe more. There was the apple tree, where the tire swing hung; the vegetable garden, right next to the raspberry bushes, which boasted fresh cucumbers in the summer and pumpkins in the fall; and out back, the fairy trees, a cluster of thin trees all angling up towards the sky together, that became a sacred area after my dad named the grouping, “Home to Fairies.”

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