Florida Botanical Gardens


  History & FAQs  

Frequently Asked Questions About the Garden Construction 

Ground Breaking Ceremony

 How long did it take from concept idea to completion? 
The ideas for the Florida Botanical gardens began in 1991. Starting in 1999 we selected the most important gardens and took about 9 months to move from concept to garden plans.

 What was the actual construction time? 
The construction took about 10 months to complete. With the majority of the Eastside gardens being opened to the public in early December 2000. The palm garden and several other aspects of the eastside gardens were completed in early 2001

 Who was the architect? 
The primary landscape architect was Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jerrigan. PBS&J actually subcontracted with two firms to plan the Tropical garden and the Palm Garden and used their own staff to plan the Wedding Garden and to coordinate all of the gardens and connections. The architect for all the pavilions was Harvard, Jolly, Clees & Toppe.

 Where did the money come from? 
The money for the Eastside Gardens was from the "Penny for Pinellas" voluntary sales tax fund. Ponds, site infrastructure and improvements to McKay Creek were paid for with Public Works dollars as part of flood control initiatives.

 How much did the East side Gardens cost to build? 
The eastside Gardens (6 million) and the south gardens along with all the site infrastructure that also supports the art museum was about 18 million.

 What is the size of the property? 
The size of the property directly under the control of the FBG is about 160 acres.

 How much land is fully developed? 
The east Gardens occupy about 4 acres, the south gardens and parking lots about 10 acres, the west gardens (around our building) about 7 acres, and the EMS & animal control ponds about 4 acres. for a total of 25 acres that are developed, but not necessarily fully developed at this time.

 How did the County acquire this land? 
The county has always owned part of the land. They purchased from a private individual the 10 acres that support the Gulf Coast Museum of Art and the south gardens. The purchased 62 acres with a matching grant from the state of Florida's Preservation 2000 fund from the Whitesell family. They also turned over to the garden the 30 acres landfill that will eventually become our North Gardens.

 How did you decide on the different design elements of the gardens? 
The original garden concepts were created through a series of public meetings with a variety of stakeholders. The actual design elements were the creations of the landscape architects with a high degree of input from the Horticulture staff and the Friends Board.

 What is the future responsibility of the County for the facility? 
The county has committed to maintenance of the facility. The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation has committed to the task of securing funding for future expansion.

 What kind of wildlife lives out here? 
Over 150 types of bird, mammals, and reptiles have been documented on site. Several endangered or threatened species including Bald Eagles, Gopher tortoises and Sherman Fox squirrels make their home here. There are also a number of threatened or endangered plants found on site.

 Who takes care of the garden and maintenance? 
The Parks & Recreation Department are the primary caretakers of the garden. However, Pinellas County Master Gardeners contribute thousands of hours each year assisting in the maintenance. The Master Gardeners program is part to the Extension Urban Horticulture Program. Participants in the program receive 80 hours of horticulture instruction in exchange for 75 hours of service (including maintenance of the FBG) during their first year in the program. Each year they are required to give 35 hours of service to remain active as Master Gardeners.

 Who uses the garden? 
We have had visitors from every state in the US and most Canadian Provinces. We have also had visitors from many foreign countries, especially England and Germany. More than 50 countries have been identified to date.

 Is it ADA friendly? 
The Florida Botanical Gardens Formal Gardens are a 100% ADA accessible. Unfortunately we do not have wheelchairs to rent.

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