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Viewfinder: Daytime in the Botanical Gardens

Popular for its thousands of holiday lights by night, daytime visitors also find a breathtaking display of seasonal color in the botanical gardens.

Pink Christmas Ornaments blow in the breeze at the . No, they are not decorations placed by people on a fir tree. The delicate flowers of the Christmas Ornament Tree bloom just in time for Christmas. Volunteer Membership Chair Terry Berube said they just noticed the special seasonal blossom for the first time this year on Dec. 12.

People walk leisurely around the gardens in the comfortable fall temperatures. Beyond the familiar holiday, poinsettias look for kumquats, orchids, hydrangea, and flowering dogwoods on the many trails winding around the more than 30 cultivated acres of gardens.

Other people take in the tranquil beauty by sitting on one of the many benches. Some eat their lunch or just gaze at the lily pads in the pond. While the gardens are immensely popular at this time of year for the nightly holiday lights, daytime visitors get another vantage point of the seasonal colors.

Workers spruce up the gardens. Behind a row of Christmas trees they rake the soil. In the spring, the gardens will add a display showing many of the types of vines that can grow in Florida.

If you go:

Hours: By day- the gardens open at 7 a.m. The evening Holiday Lights in the Garden display is from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

Cost: The gardens are free during the day. At night, there is a $2 suggested donation. The holiday event is the major fundraiser of the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation.

Location: 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo

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