Out and About: Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Ever heard of the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville?  Me neither.  KInd of sounds Hawaiian to me.  But no, Kanapaha means something about Native American’s living in palmetto thatched huts along a lake.  When we saw that the Citrus County Corvette and Camaro Car Club was planning a driving excursion there, we said “why not?”  

And that garden was amazing!  It was actually 25 specialty gardens on sixty-two acres of beautiful land bordering a lake.  (Kanapaha Lake–must be where those Native Americans lived in their palmetto huts once upon a time.)

Unusual plants, both native and from around the world, shade meandering paths; flowering vines entwine pergolas and gazebos; concrete mythical creatures hide in quiet corners; a bamboo forest shades a contemplative Buddha. Lovely.

We had two hours to explore and wander through the various gardens. Most of the plants and trees had markers and I was able to identify some of the unknown plants in my own yard, plus decide what plants I needed to add to my own gardens.   (I can’t stop thinking about those brick paths bordered with mondo grass and how good that would look in my shaded areas or how much I want to put in my own bamboo forest and Buddha.)

I took about 150 photos–all beautiful.  But 150 might be just a few to many to post here.  So I’ve just put up some of my favorites and in no particular order. 


ViewViewPineapple GingerDragon in Children's GardenChildren's GardenOne of many gazebosSucculent gardensucculent GardenPapaya

 PapayaGriffinGazeboChenille PlantBridge and padsPadspadsflowerflowerBirds Nest FernBambooBambooBambooBambooBudda in Bambo GardenBananasBottle Tree

There’s even a nice view in the parking lot!

The Garden is approximately 75 miles north of Citrus County–about an hour and a half drive.  According to the literature from the Garden, the best time to visit for blooms is from June through September.  They allow dogs as long as they are on a leash and we saw one little adorable Westie.  It would be a lovely spot for a wedding or just for a family photography session.  The admission fee for adults is $7 and there’s a discount for large groups.  A fun and inexpensive day trip.

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