2 Famed Polk Attractions Transformed by Storms | theledger.com | The Ledger | Lakeland, FL
By Gary White
Published: Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 11:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 11:55 p.m.
LAKE WALES | At dawn on the morning after Hurricane Charley churned through Polk County, David Price surveyed the devastation at Bok Tower Gardens and briefly gave in to despair.
'I felt my knees getting weak,' said Price, then director of horticulture at the Lake Wales natural attraction and now its president. 'That's how bad it was.'
The hurricane ravaged live oak, magnolia and longleaf pine trees that had stood in the gardens since before the attraction opened in 1929. In Price's estimate, Charley and two successive hurricanes claimed more than 200 trees at the 250-acre gardens. Some of the trees were uprooted; others died gradually after being weakened and attacked by pine bark beetles.