Orange Bird of Paradise from South Africa. Bougainvillea from Brazil. Yellow Trumpet from Paraguay. You can take a botanical trip around the world at ‘Tween Waters Inn and you don’t need a passport, just a comfy pair of shoes (or flip flops). 

Ever notice those mosaic seahorses at registration? If you look below them in the landscaping, you’ll find a pretty shrub from Taiwan known as ‘Gold Finger.’ (The only reason I know this is because we stopped to read the plant marker!) I’m SO glad we did because then it became a game, like a treasure hunt, to see how many we could find.

General Manager, Jeff Shuff, said that there are probably 50 to 60 botanical markers onsite – and each tells a story. Take for instance the Native Florida Thatch Palm. Early settlers used its fronds for roofing and its trunks to corral turtles for breeding. We learned that from the marker.

For some, you can follow your nose. Frangipani from South America is very fragrant. You’ll find them in pink, red and yellow. Hawaiian leis are made from frangipani flowers. Feel welcome to pick a few and put them in water in your room.

Some of the plants are even rare, like Shuff’s personal favorite, the Shaving Brush Tree, aptly named for its pink blooms that resemble a shaving brush. Shuff said, “It blooms at night and the flowers only last one day. And when they open, they make a POP sound.” It blooms late March to mid-April, so we all have a great excuse to visit next spring.

At dinner, we must have sounded like a family of botanists as we enthusiastically discussed the plants we found and their origins; it was the most intriguing conversation we’ve had since…ever.

I hope you’ll take your own botanical trip around the world when you’re here. It’s not only educational, it’s downright beautiful.