A path among live oak trees, flowering plants and ferns, in Hastings, Florida

St. Johns Botanical Garden

St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve conserves rare and endangered plants.

Currently closed.
Mon: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue - Thu: Closed
Fri - Sun: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Friday - Monday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Closed Tuesday - Thursday

A dream come true, St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Hastings has two primary missions:

  • First, to conserve endangered species of plants from around the world.
  • Second, to highlight and preserve delicate native species that naturally occur in Northern Florida.

The Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

Located off County Road 13 in Hastings, the St. Johns Botanical Garden is situated on 16 acres that include a natural live oak forest. These venerable trees create a unique environment for endangered palm trees and other plants, providing shade in the summer and protection from cold and wind in the winter. As a result, the botanical garden in Hastings contains plants not usually found in North Florida botanical gardens.

The Botanical Garden

The garden has more than 2,400 species of plants and more than 300 species of palm trees on the site. Among all of the palm species, more than 20 are rare and endangered palms, such as the Madagascar coconut palm (also known as the Giant Windowpane Palm,) the Miami Palmetto, and the Australian Wooly Palm.

The botanical garden presents a specific area for desert plants, one for native species, one for bromeliads, and various areas that present multiple species from a specific area of the world. The South American area contains rare species found in no other botanical garden. There are various plants from Southeastern Asia, a garden for Island Palms, and a garden for Mexican Desert Palms. All of these include other types of plants from those regions, and visitors will find flowering plants of some kind nearly year-round.

The Nature Preserve

Visitors to St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve will be able to meander along more than 2.5 miles of trails that include both special gardens and a nature preserve with a walk next to Deep Creek.

The nature preserve is largely left in its natural state. Trees downed by storms are left where they fall so that visitors can enjoy a glimpse of old Florida, and provide the local flora and fauna the opportunity to grow, hide, and feed.

Denizens of the Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

Visitors will often see various local animal species while at the garden — from a river otter and favorite local birds to bird species not often found in North Florida, such as migrating hummingbirds, warblers, and sparrows. Migrant birds stop on their way north and south, so guests who time their visits may see rose-breasted grosbeaks, robins, and scarlet tanagers.

It’s Florida, so reptiles and amphibians are plentiful, including a number of species of tree frogs, turtles, tortoises, and (it must be said) snakes. The garden is home to an unusual garter snake which those who manage the garden are calling the “eastern blue-striped garter snake.”

There are, of course, other varieties of snakes in the garden, some of them venomous, such as the pygmy rattlesnake, though all of them are shy and prefer to hide or retreat from humans.

Rabbits, bats, squirrels, bobcats, and many other mammals live in the botanical garden and surrounding woods, though most hide during the day and enjoy the area after the sun goes down.

Finally, moths, butterflies, dragonflies, and other graceful and beautiful insects can be seen visiting the flowers.

Visiting The St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

The facility is open on Friday - Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visitors may wander on their own or take guided tours through the garden. There will be various exhibits and special events, such as plant fairs, wild animal visits, and educational events — including classes presented by a Master Gardener. Native plants and other non-invasive species, including exotic palms, are for sale near their gift shop. The garden and preserve frequently hosts public events, with presentations, food trucks, and entertainment. These are generally held on a weekend day, and normal entry fees apply. Check their website for an event schedule.

The Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve is available to groups by appointment on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Weddings and private celebrations may also be scheduled. Call (904) 553-7563 to make an appointment.

A Note on Getting There: It's helpful to use the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Google Maps. The Botanical Gardens is next to the Mt. Olive Baptist Church. 

Currently closed.
Mon: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue - Thu: Closed
Fri - Sun: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Friday - Monday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Closed Tuesday - Thursday

Admission | Ticket Prices

Seniors (65+)$10.00
Youth (8-17)$8.00
Childrent under 8Free
Members ($75.00 per year)Free