In 1993, a group of passionate plant enthusiasts founded the Naples Botanical Garden. Thanks to their vision, the garden has grown to become one of the most popular attractions in the area. Even the late Harvey Kapnick, Jr. made a generous donation of $5 million to acquire the 170-acre land in 2000. for the purchase of 170 acres of open space. This land has been used to expand the garden and create new exhibits, including a tropical fruit garden and a children's garden.
The development of this garden was a true team effort. In 2006, a group of six landscape architects, Raymond Jungles, Bob Truskowski, Ellin Goetz, Herb Schaal, Ted Flato, and Made Wijaya, designed the garden's master plan. Miami Herald named the group the "Dream Team" because of their tireless efforts. The team's goal was to create a world-class garden that would showcase the best of Florida's plants and gardens. To achieve this , they incorporated a variety of features, including an extensive plant collection, meandering walkways, and diverse gardens. The result is a truly stunning garden that has become a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike.
Know the gardens
There are as many as 9 gardens in this 170-acre open space. Here are the names of the gardens that you should know before you visit the place:
1. Chabraja Visitor Center
This visitor center has three gardens:
LaGrippe Orchid Garden
2. Kapnick Brazilian Garden
3. Lea Asian Garden
4. The Preserve
5. Kapnick Caribbean Garden
6. Water Garden
7. Scott Florida Garden
Protecting wild plants
The natural areas of Naples Botanical Garden are home to a variety of native plant species, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world. There are as many as 26 native species in one botanical garden collection, while 35 species still not don’t exist in any other collection or garden. This makes Naples Botanical Garden a unique and important sanctuary for these plants, providing them with a safe haven to grow and thrive. In addition to protecting these rare and endangered species, the members also work to educate the public about the importance of conservation and sustainable land management practices.
The members of the garden are committed to protecting Florida's natural habitat and its native plant species. Apart from their own conservation efforts, they also work with other land managers to come up with best practices for habitat protection. For example, they have recently collaborated with Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to keep the native thatch palm safe which is often threatened by Florida’s saltwater intrusion.
The Naples Botanical Garden is a great place to visit for anyone who wants to learn about plants and gardens. There are many different types of gardens, as well as exhibits on conservation and ecology.