Central Avenue

Fresh from the success of their annual Olmsted Day festival, where they welcomed an estimated 1,500 visitors to Lake Wailes Park, Lake Wales Heritage has resumed its replanting efforts as part of an ongoing project to reinvigorate the designs of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.

The organization has taken on the monumental task of planting or replanting thousands of street trees on more than 200 blocks, seeking to complete the unfinished city-wide design that FLO Jr. created in 1931. The organization has already replaced scores of missing trees.

With the arrival of the summer monsoon rains, FLO Jr.’s streetscapes are finding new life along several blocks of the Druid Hills neighborhood, which was named in honor of his father’s work in Atlanta 40 years earlier. A large portion of the neighborhood’s first phase was planted in June, and 97 young trees are currently receiving water weekly. 

More plantings are scheduled to take advantage of the summer rainy season. The next planting phase will see the placement of more than 30 Southern Live Oaks and native Florida Holly trees.  

Members of Lake Wales Heritage’s successful Student Naturalist program often participate in these efforts. The program hosted more than 40 young people in June, including a group of summer students from McLaughlin Middle/High School. The group visited Lake Wailes Park and Crystal Lake Park, where they learned about the city’s rich landscape history and the importance of planting native trees. Students also had the opportunity to enter a landscape design contest for a portion of Olmsted-designed Druid Circle.