Residents of Manatee County in search of a real Florida landscape need look no further than downtown Bradenton where the Historic County Courthouse is now graced with an abundance of native trees, plants, and flowers.
Mark Young's article in Friday's Bradenton Herald aptly describes the site that was rededicated on May 15. There are palms, pines and ground covers that are authentic reminders of the original Florida, so named by early explorers for its lush foliage.
"It is this 'sense of place' that makes it special," says Cynthia Shore, volunteer designer of the renovation. She credits her father, R.B. "Chips" Shore, Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, with the initiative to restore the property to its native state.
The concept of creating a park rather than a decorative showplace adds to the community setting along with a gazebo to host entertaining and educational events.
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For many years the horticultural program of the Manatee County Cooperative Extension Service has promoted Florida Friendly Landscaping with its use of natives that require less water, fertilizer and general maintenance.
But living examples are often hard to find. Now, the county has at its doorstep a model for public and private facilities seeking that much sought-after "sense of place."
We are truly fortunate to have this Courthouse in our midst.
Carol Ann Breyer