A regional showcase for plants, gardens, and Florida-friendly landscaping. In cooperation with Gardening Friends of the Big Bend, Inc.
The mission of the Gardens of the Big Bend is to:
- Serve as a living laboratory to evaluate new plants for gardeners, nursery growers and landscapers;
- Promote garden plants adapted to regional landscapes;
- Demonstrate environmentally sound principles of landscaping;
- Provide a beautiful and educational environment for students, visitors, and local/regional citizens.
The Gardens of the Big Bend will showcase plants and landscaping methods best suited for our region. "Gardens of the Big Bend" is one of many possible names for the facility, including Learning Gardens, Teaching Gardens and Botanical Gardens. By any name, the Gardens will serve as a living laboratory to evaluate new plants and as a living classroom to demonstrate environmentally sound landscaping practices.
All of this will take place in a beautiful setting of trees, shrubs, and planting beds linked by mulched paths. Trails and a directory will lead to planning and existing research gardens showcasing crapemyrtle, magnolia, hydrangea and many other plants under study at NFREC. Over time, these pre-existing plantings may be integrated with the Gardens to effectively enlarge them.
The first bed to be developed is the Garden of New, Improved and Underutilized Plants. Click here for a complete list of plants.
The Gardens of the Big Bend are envisioned as a series of landscapes, each emphasizing an important garden principle, aesthetic, environmental condition or plant group. Examples of proposed theme gardens include:
- Shade gardening (camellias, hydrangeas, etc)
- Native plant garden
- Gardening in the sun
- "New" plant showcase
- Garden of tears (emphasizing weeping plants)
- Mesozoic garden (plants from the age of the dinosaurs)
- Hardy palm garden
This list is not complete, and many other garden types may yet be considered.
In addition, a planned open-air classroom will be the perfect venue for teaching students of all ages, ranging from homeowners and youth groups to gardening club members and Green Industry groups. The possibilities are unlimited!
Installation and maintenance of the Gardens are major efforts of the nonprofit organization, Gardening Friends of the Big Bend (GFBB). Members of GFBB actively volunteer at NFREC to develop and maintain demonstration gardens as well as assist faculty with research. Creative fundraising by GFBB supplements the NFREC budget. Given the scope of the Gardens, endowments and gifts are sought to assist with garden development.
Please join us in developing the Gardens of the Big Bend located on the grounds of the North Florida Research and Education Center.
The Gardens are located at NFREC and are about 1/4 miles north of I-10 Exit 181 on Pat Thomas Highway (State Road 267), 2 miles south of Quincy.
- Gardens of the Big Bend Continue to Grow - June 16, 2011
- Report on the 2010 Flower Trials: July - July 31, 2010
- New Trees Make Big Impacts in the Demonstration Garden - Mar 31, 2010