Cell Phone Tour

Stop #13 Kentucky Floral Clock

When Governor Bert Combs decided that he wanted to build a floral clock, Fontaine Banks, his chief of staff thought he was making a major political mistake. He thought voters would see it as a waste of money, and Happy Chandler, Combs’ political rival, certainly tried to convince people that it was, referring to it as the “weed clock.” But as Banks acknowledges today, Combs was right about the clock. It has become a major tourist attraction and almost every school field trip to the state capitol includes a visit to the clock. The face of the giant clock is a 34-foot wide planter that weighs 100 tons and is suspended above a reflective pool of water. The clock face is composed of more than 10,000 flowers that are grown in greenhouses near the state capitol. The minute hand is 20 feet long, and the hour hand is 15 feet long. Each hand weighs approximately 500 pounds. A mechanism housed in the stone pedestal that supports the clock moves its hands. In 1962, the National Council of State Garden Clubs presented the state of Kentucky with its Bronze Seal Award for its efforts to beautify the state capitol. In 2002, the capitol grounds, including the floral clock, were featured on the HGTV series "Great American Gardens." And for local high school students many a prom photograph has been taken in front of the Floral Clock.

The Making of the Clock