Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens 1445 Millcoe Road, Jacksonville, FL 32225  

Let Nature Challenge You

The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens is a 120-acre urban woodland full of trails for you to explore and enjoy.

From the trailhead next to the parking lot, a stabilized walkway encircles a beautiful two-acre lake. This trail gently descends about 25 feet from to the foot of the lake and then returns up a gentle slope on the opposite side to the trailhead. Interpretive signs and over 100 labeled plants enhance the loop.

In addition, over three miles of rustic hiking trails wind quietly through a series of distinct ecological habitats. Along the trails, benches invite you either to pause and enjoy the view or to get in a good stretch during a vigorous walk.

The Arboretum is developed and managed by the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens, Inc., a non-profit entity that leases the land from the City. Except for special events, there is no admission fee. $3 non-member visitor donation requested to help pay operations.

Hours

Open to the public 7 days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Extended hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays (starting March 15) 8 AM to 7 PM

Entry gates are locked promptly at closing so plan your visit so that you exit the Arboretum prior to closing.

ADA – For accommodation please contact info@jacksonvillearboretum.org

News – May 2016

A Letter from Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens President – Willis Jones

Dear Friend of the Arboretum,

As a lifelong resident of the Arlington area I am constantly amazed at the hidden beauty and natural charm of the Arboretum. As a young person I played on this property never realizing what it would become through the vision and dedication of the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens’ founders and the work that has taken place at the Arboretum over a relatively short period of time. In the less than eight years since the Arboretum opened to the public, it has become a very special place of serenity, allure, and beauty to be enjoyed by the general public 365 days a year.

Most of our visitors do not know of the property’s rich history, but appreciate the educational, recreational, and inspirational enjoyment provided at the Arboretum. They are likely also unaware of the many hours of volunteer labor, which takes place weekly to keep the facility looking as pristine as it does day in – day out, and the constant need for new ideas, energy, and funding when managing a non-profit such as the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens. In a sense, visitors can become caught up in the enchantment of our over abundant flora and fauna and the many special features we have worked so hard to make available to all our guests.

When I visit the Arboretum I make it a point to speak to individuals and families to learn what brings them to the Arboretum and to get ideas. When I explain who I am and what our organization does they are always respectful and appreciative and have one common question- how do I help? I believe a good portion of our visitors want to take a certain ownership in the Arboretum and are often willing to support us beyond their memberships and donations. For this reason in the month of May the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens wishes to expand its volunteer corps and Board of Directors. There are many roles to be filled by like-minded people who want to give back in some form. These gracious individuals are part of our vision moving forward and we are seeking them out for their time and talents.

For those of you who enjoy the Arboretum and would like to become more involved in our move toward a Botanical Garden, we would love to have your help. If you would like to be a part of our on-going volunteer recruitment and desire to help keep your Arboretum moving forward, please contact us at info@jacksonvillearboretum.org. Someone from our organization will contact you about available opportunities. We hope that you will join us as we continue to grow…..

Thank you for all you do,

Willis Jones
President- Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens

In Your Backyard – Jacksonville Arboretum Interview on News 4 Jax

Video

In Celebration of Mother’s Day and National Public Gardens Day

 

National Public Gardens Day
In celebration of Mother’s Day and National Public Gardens Day, the Arboretum will be offering Family Memberships at a 10% off price at the park on May 7th from 10AM-12AM. If you haven’t gotten Mom a gift, get a membership for your family and then bring her out on Mother’s Day for a picnic. There are lots of plants in bloom right now. It is a perfect time for a visit!

Plant of the Month: The Sassafras Tree

Sassafras
Photo: Kerry Wixted

The native sassafras tree, Sassafras albidum, can be seen at the Jacksonville Arboretum. It is an attractive tree with a number of uses for people. The wood has been used for posts, furniture and ship building. An essential oil derived from the bark has been used in soaps, medicines, cosmetics, cleansers and insect repellents. A yellow, orange or brown dye is made from the bark. The leaves are used in cooking and tea is made from the flowers. The twigs have been used as chew sticks, an alternative to the toothbrush. Filé powder, used in Cajun cooking, is also made from the leaves of sassafras.

Most of us are more familiar with another use of sassafras. The root of the tree is the traditional source of root beer flavoring. Saffrole is an ingredient in sassafras that is considered to be cancer-causing. This chemical is removed today before the flavoring can be used or the root beer flavor is synthesized from related plant compounds. Modern root beers may contain a number of other plant products such as vanilla, cherry tree bark, birch bark, wintergreen, molasses, anise, licorice root, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Animals make use of sassafras, too. Deer browse on the twigs and the small fruits are attractive to birds. Spicebush and tiger swallowtail butterfly caterpillars eat the leaves. Larvae of the large, showy imperial moth, polyphemus moth and the promethea silkmoth feed on sassafras leaves, too.

Some of us in Jacksonville grow another plant with a root beer aroma, the root beer plant, Piper auritum. It has tall, soft stems, large leaves and spreads by underground runners. It is native to Mexico and Central America. Like sassafras, its leaves are used in cooking and the plant is used to make a tasty beverage. A tea made from the leaves is bright green and has a cool, minty effect on the mouth. The Arboretum plans to add a root beer plant to the gardens this year. It contains saffrole, too, so it should be ingested with caution.

Compost Awareness Week

composter
The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens does its best to reduce, reuse, and recycle. A major part of this effort includes composting. During International Compost Awareness Week, the first week of May, we encourage you to come out to the Arboretum and give our plant-waste receptacles a spin. You may find that building or purchasing your own is just the thing you were looking for to decrease your environmental impact and increase soil-quality. We want to thank Kyle la Crosse for building and donating the receptacles. Thanks also go out to Blue Bamboo restaurant and Starbucks for donating kitchen scraps and coffee grounds.

Compost poster

Pictures Please

Please keep up with those Arboretum picture posts to Instagram #jacksonvillearboretum and facebook
www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleArboretumGardens. It helps the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens non-profit identify Arboretum inhabitants and encourages more visitors to the on-site donation box. Thanks!

 

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