New Postal Stamp Commemorates Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
The U.S. Postal Service is celebrating the natural beauty of American gardens by issuing stamps that feature gardens ranging from botanical to country estate and municipal gardens. One of the 10 gardens featured on the new American Gardens USA Forever stamp series is Florida’s own Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park.
The 28-acre Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park, formerly named Killearn Gardens State Park, was designed by Alfred B. Maclay beginning in 1923.
In designing the gardens, Maclay wanted to demonstrate that native and exotic plants could be used together to create a setting of scenic beauty. The gardens were designed to be in bloom during the winter and early spring, the time of year the Maclay family would be in residence.
In 1953, Louise Fleischmann Maclay donated the gardens to the state of Florida to be a state park. Mrs. Maclay continued to be actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the gardens until her death in 1973. Under her direction, the name of the gardens was changed in 1965 to honor the man who designed them.
The park has over 150 different camellia cultivars. When creating the gardens, Maclay started with the camellias, wanting them to serve as the centerpiece for the garden’s design. There are also over 60 varieties of azaleas, which along with dogwoods, create quite a show, usually in mid-March. The gardens are maintained to look as they did in 1953.
Not near Tallahassee? Other historic gardens in Florida State Parks include Eden Gardens State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Washington Oaks Gardens State Park near Flagler Beach and Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka.
The new American Gardens series of USA Forever Stamps features 10 different photographs taken between 1996 and 2014. The gardens include: Biltmore Estate Gardens (North Carolina); Brooklyn Botanic Garden (New York); Chicago Botanic Garden (Illinois); Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (Maine); Dumbarton Oaks Garden (District of Columbia); The Huntington Botanical Gardens (California); Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park (Florida); Norfolk Botanical Garden (Virginia); Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (Ohio); and Winterthur Garden (Delaware).
The U.S. Postal Service issued a statement commemorating America’s gardens and their history:
“The love of gardening stretches back to the earliest years of our country, inspiring George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other Founding Fathers to plant some of America’s most iconic colonial-era gardens. From the 19th century to today, landscape designers have continued that tradition. Conceived for many reasons—for food or pleasure, as places of education and scientific study, as an expression of the owners’ artistic sensibilities, as spaces for the public to commune with nature, or simply for the love of gardening—American gardens capture our imagination and satisfy a yearning for beauty and order.”
“Every year, millions of Americans visit gardens, public and private. Many public gardens are open year-round; in addition to the plants and trees on display, classes, exhibits, and other events encourage visitors to experiment and create their own gardens. During the spring and summer, planned tours and open garden days allow visitors to step into private enclaves and see how homeowners have enhanced and designed their spaces, be they large estates, small suburban yards, or rooftop aeries.”