There’s no better place to enjoy this grand floral show than Maclay Gardens State Park in Tallahassee.
Beautiful Maclay Gardens State Park
I lived in Tallahassee during my college years, and visited Maclay Gardens each spring. It’s just as beautiful as I remembered. Although the last time I visited was 30 years ago, I clearly recall the handsome Maclay home and the lovely decor.
I enjoy touring homes, and I find it fascinating to observe the objects we choose to live with. I aspire to the philosophy espoused by the Arts & Crafts designer William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” When I get on a clearing out binge, Eric always teases me and tells me it’s a good thing that he’s useful. The choices we make can be modest, as in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings home, or more elaborate, as in the Maclay house, but I find the effect of carefully chosen objects to be visually pleasing and soothing.
The Maclay Estate
In 1923, successful banker Alfred B. Maclay and Louise Fleischman Maclay (of the baking yeast/margarine family) chose the pastoral hills of Tallahassee as the perfect setting for their winter home. Alfred was a man of many talents, and was passionate about landscape design. He began planting azaleas, camellias, dogwoods, and other ornamental plants in 1923, and continued planting until his death in 1944. In 1953, Louise donated the 300-acre estate to the state of Florida.
A beautiful brick walkway, reflection pool, walled garden, and winding pathways are surrounded by hundreds of blooming plants for a brief period in spring. Camellias open the show in January, but the peak is mid-to-late March, when the azaleas, dogwoods, and Japanese magnolias join in.
I don’t want to be here in the summer, but springtime in the South truly is exquisite.