July 13, 2017
While it has been said that “the best stories are found between the pages of your passport,” some of your best plants can be found on the road, too. Most gardeners know their local nurseries and garden centers like the back of their hand, so when they're traveling, they look for cool nurseries to visit. Florida has many garden centers that can broaden your horticulture horizons beyond the big box stores. Here are a few from across the state for you to check out as you travel this summer.
Tallahassee Nursery in Tallahassee, Florida has been in growing for almost 80 years. Gardeners have been known to hop in the car just to go visit Tallahassee nursery to see what’s new for North Florida. Their plant selection is inspiring and they carry many hard to find plants for the home landscape. Regular gardening classes by their expert staff are every month. http://www.tallahasseenurseries.com
R.F Orchids in Homestead is a tropical paradise that houses thousands of amazing orchids and other tropical plants. If you love orchids this is a must see. Seeing the rare ghost orchid in bloom here was one of the highlights of my life. http://rforchids.com/
Native Landscapes and Garden Center is on Sanibel Island. Walking around this nursery and reading the plant tags is a crash course in Florida native coastal landscaping that you could never get from a book. The small nursery is run by the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. They have a demonstration garden and an expert staff to help you make the Florida Friendly choice for your yard. http://sccf.org/our-work/native-landscapes-and-garden-center
Rockledge Nursery in Brevard County is a large nursery that has been in business over 50 years. They are known for carrying a wide assortment of Florida plants and hard to find palms and other specialty items. Their expert horticultural staff answers all your landscaping questions and teaches regular classes on gardening. http://www.rockledgegardens.com
Earthworks in Jacksonville has an excellent selection of pollinator plants and pond/water lily plants. What will blow you away here are their water features and hardscaping demonstrations. There are multiple ponds on sites and koi for you to get inspired by. They also provide regular gardening classes. http://www.earthworksjax.com/
Lukas Nursery in Oviedo outside of Orlando has been in business for four generations in the Central Florida area. They are known for their butterfly encounter area and for selling fantastic pollinator garden and butterfly garden plants. Lukas’ even sells live native butterflies to release for special events. http://lukasnursery.com
This list is not an endorsement and is by no means complete; there are many destination nurseries not mentioned that are wonderful. Visiting nurseries and learning about new plants is a great way to keep yourself up-to-date on Florida’s horticulture. Just remember to bring a liner for the car trunk and to put the right plant in the right place.
-- Wendy Wilber