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

St. Johns Botanical Garden

St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve opens on October 1, 2023.

Currently closed.
Mon - Sat: Closed
Sun: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

A dream come true, St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Hastings opens to the public on October 1, 2023. In the meantime, gardeners and plant lovers can visit their plant nursery each Sunday, from noon to 5:00 p.m., beginning on April 16, 2023.

The St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve has two primary missions: first, to conserve endangered species of plants from around the world; and second, to highlight and preserve delicate native species that naturally occur in northern Florida. Those native plants and others will be offered for sale in the garden’s exotic palm and native plant nursery.

The Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve

Located off County Road 13 in Hastings, the St. Johns Botanical Garden is situated among 16 acres that include a natural live oak forest. These venerable trees create a unique environment for the endangered species of 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 botanical gardens in north Florida.

The garden has more than 2,400 species of plants, and more than 300 species of palm trees on the site. Among all of those 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.

Visitors to St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve will be able to meander along more than 2.5 miles of trail that includes both special gardens and a nature preserve that includes 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 to 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 snake at 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

Once they open on October 1, 2023, 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.

It will also be possible to book group tours and special celebrations, such as weddings under their pergola.

In the meantime, beginning on April 16, the St. Johns Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve will sell plants from their nursery on Sundays from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., and by appointment. Call (904) 553-7563 to make an appointment.

Upcoming Events

Grand Opening: St. Johns Botanical GardenSunday, October 1st, 20239:00 am - 5:00 pm
Currently closed.
Mon - Sat: Closed
Sun: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Admission | Ticket Prices

Seniors (65+)$10.00
Youth (8-17)$8.00
Childrent under 8Free