Gardens of the Big Bend

Concept and Mission  |  Goals  |  Planning and Development  

Garden Accomplishments  |
 Design  |  Location

Gardens of the Big Bend

A regional showcase for plants, gardens, and Florida-friendly landscaping. In cooperation with Gardening Friends of the Big Bend, Inc.

Concept and Mission

Our vision is that Gardens of the Big Bend will be a place of beauty that inspires visitors to create or beautify their own gardens based on the knowledge they gain from their experiences at the Gardens.

As a living laboratory, Gardens of the Big Bend will evaluate new plants to determine their growth characteristics and adaptability to north Florida’s climate. As a living classroom, Gardens of the Big Bend will display plants best-suited to the area and demonstrate environmentally-friendly landscape styles. The Gardens will appeal to students of all ages, ranging from home owners and youth groups to garden club members, Master Gardeners, nursery growers and landscapers.

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Gardens of the Big Bend will become a regional showcase to:

1) Expand appreciation of gardening,

2) Serve as a living laboratory to evaluate plants for gardeners, nursery growers and landscapers,

3) Promote a diversity of garden plants adapted to regional landscapes,

4) Demonstrate environmentally sound landscape practices,

5) Provide a beautiful and educational environment for students, visitors and local/regional citizens.

With your support, the Gardens of the Big Bend will be a place of beauty, where everyone is free to experience the joys of flowers, shrubs, trees and other plants. We also hope to set the standard for demonstrating plants and gardening methods best suited to our region.

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Planning and Development

Planning, installation and maintenance of the Gardens are major efforts of the nonprofit organization, Gardening Friends of the Big Bend, Inc. (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 click here to make a gift to the Gardens. To discuss an endowment or gift to the Gardens or to honor a special person in your life, please contact us at

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Garden Accomplishments

More than 12 theme gardens have been proposed for Gardens of the Big Bend. Highlighted below are some of our accomplishments to-date:


The Discovery Garden contains more than 300 species or cultivars of new, improved or underutilized trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals. Thanks to labels and links to webpages, visitors can “discover” new plants or simply enjoy all the beauty!


Our Magnolia Garden is part of the National Collection of Magnolia in recognition of its’ more than 100 species and cultivars, including some of the rarest magnolias in the world.


The Open-air Classroom is the perfect venue for teaching students of all ages. We hope gifts or endowments will enable us to provide a roof and permanent seating to improve functionality and use of this new facility.


The Native Garden already boasts 40 of Florida’s best native plants for gardens. Initial plantings in the Shade Garden include almost 100 species of trees and shrubs.

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The possibilities are unlimited! Please join us in developing the Gardens of the Big Bend, located on the grounds of the University of Florida/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center - Quincy.


Examples of other proposed theme gardens include:

· Celebrating Southern Heritage Plants: camellias and traditional Southern plants

· Children’s Garden: to excite youth about gardening

· Edible Garden: demonstrating how to incorporate the latest fruits, vegetables and other edibles into our landscapes

· Garden of Tears: emphasizing weeping plants.

Picnic Area

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Come visit us! The Gardens and NFREC are about 1/4 mile north of I-10 Exit 181 on Pat Thomas Highway (State Road 267), 2 miles south of Quincy.

155 Research Road, Quincy FL 32251
Phone: 850-875-7100, Extension 100

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Click to enlarge

Garden Area

Garden Plan

Sketch of Bed 9

Construction Sequence