The location of the SJBGNP is ideal for the maintenance of many tropical species that otherwise would be nearly impossible to maintain in North Florida. Equidistant from the St. Johns River, and the Atlantic Ocean, we receive some protection from winter freezes and our huge oak canopy provides even more protection. In addition, our distance from the Atlantic Ocean is ideal for frequent rainfall associated with onshore winds during the summer. This is in addition to the usual rain showers that move eastward into Florida from the Gulf of Mexico. The combination of this rain from both directions often results in rainfall that is much higher than in surrounding areas and it is why we state that the SJBGNP is, “Where the tropics begin”.
For protection! Many of the plants at SJBGNP are tropical or Zone 10A plants. Placing them close together with hardier tropicals like philodendron selloum and trinette schefflera under our magnificent oak canopy affords them some protection from wind and cold that occurs in our 9B microclimate.
Queen palms are very cold tolerant, fast-growing palms with a large canopy. They serve as nurse trees to protect the plants under them from occasional frosts that occur here.
Before this was a botanical garden, palms were planted where they would do well, and not by area of origin. Some of these palms, especially Sabal palms cannot be transplanted without killing them. Therefore, a few still remain in those areas.
The SJBGNP is in its infancy. Many palms here have only recently been acquired and planted. And many others grow extremely slowly. But some species are just naturally small or dwarf species. SGBGNP possesses a specimen of the World’s Smallest Palm–the Super Dwarf Lady Palm! Keep coming back and watch all of them, except the dwarfs, grow over the years into massive trees like our Bismarck palms.