The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Street Side in Cedar Key


I have migrated and I love my new migration destination! I know that I will return by some sort of internal instinct – perhaps a primal hunger for steamed clams and a tiki bar? Sadly, it is my last day in my new migration place and I must return North – even though all my internal instincts say “Nooooo!” – but not before sharing with you some of the charm of Cedar Key, Florida.

Let me first explain how I arrived here. I studied the many patterns of migrating birds and the majority end up here! Not really – I am not that much of a scholar – but it sure does seem that all the birds come this way: Plover, Limpkin, Willet, Dunlin, Ibis, Pelican, Cormorant, Osprey, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Great Blue Heron, American Oystercatcher, Roseate Spoonbill, Royal Tern, Kingfisher and even Frigate! I have seen all of these, many for the first time, during my short stay. Cedar Key is a little penisula that juts out into the ocean and there are many back bayous that are wonderful to kayak – as it turns out I have paddled in my first kayak as well! When the tides breathe, many shore birds take advantage. (If ever you find yourself migrating this way, I highly recommend guide Mandy Davis of Hidden Coast Outdoors!)

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We, my husband, dog Mojo and I, arrived here because several years ago Budget Travel published a list of the top ten coolest towns in America. My Northern home town of Clayton, NY was on that list and so was Cedar Key. We figured we love Clayton, so we would probably love Cedar Key – boy did we figure right! Not only is it warmer here but Cedar Key is extremely dog-friendly! I can vouch for that – Mojo has been welcomed everywhere and is having almost as much fun as we are! (As a dog owner, I know it is difficult to find an area and accommodations where dogs are welcome.) But let me just say this, Cedar Key is a small, albeit a cool town – we like small. There aren’t any clubs or Disney rides and there may not be a restaurant open after 9pm. There are small, individually owned restaurants and cafes – not a Hard Rock Cafe. All boast Cedar Key clams which are farmed here. Yum! There is only one main street and Cedar Key itself is surrounded by the Sawanee National Wildlife Refuge. If you favor biking, hiking in nature, and kayaking over shopping, beach baking and clubbing, then you might also enjoy Cedar Key.

I digress. I enjoy walking the small, sleepy streets of Cedar Key. I have so many pictures, but little working internet, still  I am going to try to take you on a walk through Cedar Key street side. Each house and garden is unique and full of character. I find myself imagining creating a garden here. I don’t know the plants, I don’t know what’s native, and I am certain there are some big, scary spiders out there, but it doesn’t matter. I am captivated by these tiny, personal pockets of plantings! Many have details indigenous to the area – sea shells, limestone … and Florida Box Turtles! (I am guessing on that last ID – just to the left of the tree trunk).

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There are many butterflies fluttering around (way better than snow flakes!) at Cedar Key’s slow pace including Florida’s state butterfly, the Zebra Longwing – one of the coolest butterflies I’ve ever seen! (To find out your state butterfly, click here.)

Get your coffee or wine and tour with me through these spontaneous photos taken as I’ve bummed around town.


Note the sea shells lined up at the top of this garden wall.


Talk about an inviting entry way!


I love this limestone wall with coral adornments.


Addressing the address.


A better picture of the flair of this garden wall.


A garden “nestled in time” (which is where we are staying).


Making the most of this garden space!

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How to incorporate cacti into your garden plan.

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Love the colors!

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Creating garden art.

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And I thought River Birch and Paperbark Maple had texture!

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Love the containers! Note the blue bottles.

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Artfully arranged rocks.

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The trees here, I believe a type of Oak, are living sculptures!

Cedar Key is a walking (or biking, or even golf cart) kind of town, which is why I am able to enjoy all of its street side details. I don’t want to leave and trade my flip flops back in for boots and a snow shovel, but I take comfort in knowing I will be back! I hope you enjoyed this tour as much as I have.


Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

6 thoughts on “Street Side in Cedar Key

  1. Thanks for sharing your visit at Cedar Key! Lovely place!

  2. I am freezing here in zone 5! I envy you so much right now, but a good envy since I know you are having fun and since you did share all your wonderful photos! That looks like the perfect place, and those gardens are so different than what I am use to! Pretty amazing space, so should we look forward to you moving there someday and creating another amazing garden:-) it would be a neat place to be:-)

    • I would like to spend my remaining winters in Cedar Key Robbie and yes, create a garden. I would have to relearn everything! I would grow citrus! I have lived my entire life in Zone 4-5 and I think birds are smarter than us – I am going to start migrating!

  3. Kathy I can see why you love it there…I have always wanted to visit the Keys. Welcome back to the frozen North and the many feet of snow you missed. Hope you were able to dig out.

    • Hi Donna, Cedar Key is not one of the Keys you are thinking of. It is on the Gulf side and further north, but still an amazing place. I am done shoveling out of the snow but now faced with breaking up the ice! Can’t really say it’s good to be back …

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

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