backyard1 blades-thumb2 blades3 blades4 flowers5 footer6 fort_selden_wagon7 masthead8 masthead19
slider by v9.0

. icon icon icon iconWe'd love for you to share our stories.

American Roads and Global Highways has so many great articles you may want to search it for your favorite places or new exciting destinations.
search engine by freefind


 Cover of Tenant from Hell
The Tenant from Hell
Book 1 in the Realtor Mystery Series
Casey Clark, property manager, is just trying to evict a bad tenant. Instead she is over her head in murder and mayhem

 Cover of Double Duplicity
Double Duplicity
Book 2 in the Realtor Mystery Series
Trouble  follows Casey like a raging fire.

cover of Missing
Missing-- Gone but not Forgotten

Based on the unsolved abduction of a little girl in a rural  Florida Community.

coverof Under a Bloody Flag

Under a Bloody Flag

Kansas and Missouri were a "no man's land" in the days before the War between the States.

cover of under a black flag

Under a Black Flag
Kansas and Missouri heated to the boiling point during the War between the States. 

cover of For want of a ship
For Want of a Ship
John Roy came to New Orleans looking  for peace instead he found war.

cover of last step
Last Step
Last Step will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you gasping in surprise at the ending

cover of kudzu
Kudzu shows you a different part of the South, past and present. Mystery with a touch of romance and a smidgen of paranormal.

cover of Wild about florida south
Wild about Florida: South FL
The Everglades swarm with wildlife from birds,  to mammals, to reptiles.

cover of Wild about florida central
Wild about Florida: Central FL
Central Florida has the ocean and gulf beaches much like other parts of Florida but in many other ways it is distinct and unique. 

cover of Wild about florida north
Wild About Florida: North FL
Come explore caves, hills, whitewater falls and lots of other fun things you didn't expect to find in Florida.

cover of georgia's ghostly getaways
Georgia's Ghostly Getaways 

Who is not fascinated by mysterious things that go bump in the night? Are there some places where departed souls still linger?

cover of hosts
Hosts With Ghosts
The South has long been famous for its Southern Hospitality. Hotels throughout Dixie vie with one another to offer their guests more service and more amenities. Many have guests that never depart.

cover of finding florida's phantoms
Finding Florida's Phantoms
Florida! The land of sunshine and wide-open beaches. But even the Sunshine State has its dark secrets. Places where centuries old spirits remain tied to earth. Beneath the facade of fun and make believe lurks the real Florida.

cover of color st augustine coloring book
Color Saint Augustine
This is a way to virtually visit Saint Augustine. It's a coloring book for grown ups (but kids will love it too.)  with an actual photo of the attractions in Saint Augustine. The opposite page is the same photo converted into a black and white line image for you to to color. It's 64 pages with 30 photos and 30 pages for you to color. On each photo and each color page there is a little about the story of the image . 

St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

Story and photos by
Kathleen Walls


As a long-time Florida resident, I am familiar with palm trees but until I visited St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve (SJBGNP), I had no idea there were so many variants. Dr. John Rossi, founder and resident biologist led our small group on a tour of the garden. The garden is St. Johns County’s newest attraction. It focuses on an important, but often neglected side of the county, the natural side.

The location of the garden midway between the St. Johns River, and the Atlantic Ocean create a unique microenvironment. One factor Dr. Rossi mentioned was interesting. With north Florida’s weird weather changes, we can go from mid-twenties one day, to seventies and eighties the next day. He pointed out that the garden uses canopies to protect plants. Many of the plants here are tropical so clustering them close together with hardier tropicals under a huge oak canopy affords them some protection from wind and frost. These canopy layers are of different heights, like tall oaks covering shorter palms, which in turn protect the smaller plants and scrubs like Loas Lady Palms, one of the smallest palm variants I have ever seen. While many other gardens have lost plants due to frost, this garden has managed to protect the less cold tolerant plants and lost fewer.

One interesting fact he told us was that most of our local coconut palms originated from a shipwreck in the 1800s of a ship on its way from Cuba to Spain. It’s interesting to think Florida’s favorite palm tree is really an invasive plant although certainly not an unwelcome one.

Dr. Rossi showed us dozens of other palms: wedding palm, paradise palm, king palm, royal palm, pigmy date palm, island palm, candy cane palm, Indian date palm, windowpane palm, and many more. They range from local to Madagascar, Caledonia, Southeast Asia, and other places.


Of course, there is so much more than palms here. You enter through a gift shop where you can find many exotic plants as well as native plants for sale. Some exotics you might not want to spread are still beautiful if kept in pots.

There is a Cactus Carral where you find a variety of cacti, yuccas, and bromeliads. Some of the cacti are almost sculpture-like. Butterfly attracting plants are all over in the garden. Throughout the garden there are various trails including Silver Hill, Fan Palms of the World, African, Asian, and Australian Palms, Cuban Palms, Tropical Trail and more.

Besides being a garden, it is a nature preserve. There is a lake and a wooded natural area with a small stream running through it. When I first viewed the lake, I thought I spotted an alligator but was disappointed to find it was a fake one. Hopefully, one day the lake may be home to some of Florida’s largest reptiles.

A fox squirrel seen nearby

However, Dr. Rossi assured us there are lots of wildlife in the preserve. If you come early in the day rather than midday when I visited, you may see rabbits, skunks, raccoons, opossums, otters, foxes, bobcats, coyotes, feral hogs, gray squirrels, fox squirrels, and more. Fox squirrels are adorable. I didn’t see any that day but have seen a few in the past nearby.

You may see a snake. There are many non-venomous ones that help preserve the normal environment and are an important part of nature. The few venomous ones, coral snakes, pygmy rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and an occasional copperhead, will flee from you faster than you will from them. Just don’t approach or grab any and you will be fine.

Birders will love visiting here also as they may find cardinals, blue jays, wrens, phoebes, kingfishers, tufted titmice, chickadees, flycatchers, catbirds, egrets, herons, ducks, owls, and hawks. If you look especially around the brightly colored flowers, you may spot a hummingbird. Occasionally, there may be a bald eagle or osprey passing through.

Nature rules here!