56,000. That’s how many trees the City of Lakeland Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Department manages throughout Lakeland. The Urban Forest adds to our quality of life by reducing energy use, increasing property values, and improving air quality. Because of this, the trees provide the city with a net annual benefit of over $2 million.
Want to get to know the 300+ species of trees around Lakeland’s accredited arboretum? Follow along on a GPS-enabled tour of one of Swan City’s tree collections. There are currently tours of Lake Morton + Hollis Garden, with a tour of Lake Wire’s palm trees in the works. Come along with us as we make fronds with our local flora.
Hollis Garden Fruit Tree Collection
The first stop on our tour was Hollis Garden, where 93 trees are listed in the collection. Following the map, you can see a photo of each tree and its location around the garden — we like to think of it as a tree-sure hunt.
Once you’ve found the tree, you can read fun facts about its species, like its country of origin and how high it grows. Our favorite was the papaya tree, which can grow football-sized fruits. We even saw a few hanging high up in its branches.
Lake Morton Flowering Tree Collection
Just a short walk away are 69 flowering trees lining the shore of Lake Morton. The swans were our guide as we followed the map again to find trees like the Pride of Bolivia, which blooms with apricot-colored flowers in early summer.
Looking for a free local activity? Take your own tour to learn something new about Lakeland. Make it a contest to see who can spot them first, or just enjoy a relaxing stroll through the shrubs.