Nestled just before the curve on Parker Street you are greeted by a huge monkey tree guarding the entrance. It’s a hidden gem in Spring Hill that not many people know about.
Welcome to the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens. Encompassed within the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens are three lush acres with pretty much every tree, plant and flower you can think of that flourishes here in Florida.
“It’s run all by volunteers. The Spring Hill Garden Club (SHGC) members take care of this as well as the plants at the waterfall on 19,” said Mary Wuest, Garden Manager for Nature Coast Botanical Gardens. “I love working outside and with plants,” she said.
The nursery was once located by the Little Red School House on Kenlake Drive. It was moved to this new location and the land is leased from the county.
“We had to clear all the land first — and some women prisoners also helped us,” said Jeannie Erickson, one of the first members since 1994 who recently stepped down as Garden Director.
According to a news article in the Ocala-Star Banner in November 2005, the SHGC leased 4-1/2 acres of scrub land from Hernando County for 99 years for $1 a year. One acre had been assigned for the nursery and the remaining were transformed over years of hard work and dedicated volunteers to a beautiful area with over twenty themed gardens.
Herb, Cactus, and Oriental Tea to Fantasy Garden are just a few of the themed gardens. Volunteers/Members from the club have taken the responsibility to tend to those themed areas; trimming, weeding and nourishing to ensure the full potential and growth of the plant varieties.
“I really like it when people come in and say how beautiful it is; that makes it all worthwhile,” said Jeannie Erickson.
The garden isn’t just for browsing, it’s a great place to plan for picnicking, have meetups with friends or even say "I do."
With over forty members in the club, their dedication to keep this open for our community to enjoy is amazing.
“It’s probably one of nicest green spaces in Spring Hill that is available for the public,” Wuest said.
IF YOU GO
Nature Coast Botanical Gardens is located at 1489 Parker Avenue, Spring Hill, FL