Discover the background of Nehrling Gardens and learn about what it currently offers to the community.
In the tiny town of Gotha, a two-story wooden house from the 1800s has quite the story to tell. The former home of famed horticulturist, Henry Nehrling, the property was the site of Palm Cottage Gardens, which he established as a place where he could experiment with tropical and subtropical plants year-round.
One of Florida’s earliest botanical gardens, Dr. Nehrling tested over 3,000 new and rare plants for the Bureau of Plant Industry, now known as the USDA, on the grounds of Palm Cottage Gardens. Over 300 of those plants became essential to Florida’s ornamental horticulture, including caladiums, palms, bamboos, magnolias, amaryllis, Indian Hawthorne and crinum lilies.
By the early 1900s, Palm Cottage Gardens had become a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, new Florida settlers and tourists, including some prominent people of the era. Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison and Dr. David Fairchild are some of the most recognized names who were also fans of Nehrling’s work.
Now known as Nehrling Gardens, the property is owned and operated by the Henry Nehrling Society, a nonprofit that was established in 1999 to save it. In 2000, the property was listed on the National Register of Historic Sites, and the group fulfilled its mission of purchasing it in 2009. They have been working since then to preserve the home and gardens for future generations.
Only six acres of the more than 40 acres that Nehrling originally purchased remain today. It includes specimens of the original 100-year-old tree canopy, many of Nehrling’s plantings as well as the original home.
Nehrling Gardens currently provides tours, service learning projects and educational workshops. The property is now a beloved community resource and education center focused on historic preservation, horticultural education and environmental conservation.
How You Can Help
Make a Donation: Tax-deductible donations help to maintain and restore the historic home and gardens as well as provide tours, programs and other resources.
Volunteer Your Time: Individuals and groups are invited to volunteer in the gardens, on home-related projects or in an administration role.
Attend an Event: You can support Nehrling Gardens and have fun doing it by attending fundraisers and events throughout the year. Next up is the Holiday Amaryllis Festival from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 14.
For more information, visit www.NehrlingGardens.org.