It’s an exciting time at the St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve! Almost daily, new plants arrive and are added to the collection! Trails and paths are being designed, and our new entrance way is taking shape. Beautiful plant identification signs have arrived and are being assembled and placed. Our informational signs should be arriving any day now.

The different collections within the Garden are beginning to develop a character all their own. The South American area features cultivated palms found in no other botanical garden! And it has some other rare species that hold promise to become popular in our area since they come from colder areas of Argentina. The Island Palm area is beginning to look like a tropical jungle with all of the gorgeous species from Madagascar, New Caledonia and other far away islands. The Southeastern Asian area is becoming one of my favorites, however, as the collections of beautiful split leaved fan palms from the genera Licuala and Lanonia grow, and other Asian plant species are added. Sometimes, in the morning sun, or after a heavy rain, it is breathtaking. The combination of unusual banana species, hibiscus, crotons, graptophyllums, copper plants, pagoda plants, coleus, lavender, Pseuderanthemums and of course, palms and cycads, overwhelms the average person with a variety of colors, textures, shapes and sizes.

Meanwhile the Mexican Desert Palm display goes in the opposite direction. It demonstrates a harsher, sparser environment that is dominated by agave, yuccas, desert spoons, cactus, and of course, desert fan palms of the genera Brahea, Sabal and Washingtonia. Just like the real desert, this hot, open, rocky area is a good place to sit and meditate.

If you like quiet though, walking down to the Barrett Picnic Area along the side of Deep Creek will definitely provide it. The silence is only broken by the sound of crickets chirping, birds singing, or after a heavy rain, a chorus of tree frogs. And at certain times of the year, the sound of Deep Creek’s trickling water is very relaxing.

All this is happening at the garden right now, in anticipation of a projected opening date in mid-October, 2022! But… we need your help now! Those picnic tables and benches aren’t cheap. Click to make a much-needed donation today! We are looking forward to seeing you in October!

Dr. John Rossi

Founder and President SJBGNP