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Last Update 06/03/08
Gotha Gardens -- Dr. Henry Nehrling -- The Man and His Work, Third of a Series
Originally Published 1999 -- These pages document FloridaGardener.com helping to spread the word regarding the beginning efforts to save Palm Cottage Gardens, Gotha, FL; the home and remaining gardens of Dr. Henry Nehrling, nationally known horticulturist and ornithologist, and the “patron saint of Florida Gardens.“
Dr. Henry Nehrling’s Hybrid Caladiums, click to enlarge
Despite the freeze of 1917 that destroyed so much of Dr. Nehrling's work, he started over again further south in Naples, Florida.

Nehrling's Naples GardenAs Dr. Nehrling wrote, "Thus in my sixty-sixth year, I again became a pioneer in the wilderness.  The hardships that I had to overcome were legion.  The soil had appeared to be good, but I found that during the rainy season a very high water-table made it impossible for deep rooted plants to do well.   Also in the beginning nothing could be done, even for the shallow-rooted plants, until the soil had been well worked and thoroughly aerated.  In my garden at Gotha everything had been different.  Although the land was high, dry pineland, almost all the plants started into vigorous growthNehrling's "Tropical Garden" as soon as they were planted.  There my only troubles had been the occasional heavy freezes, but in this new land there were many days of such disappointment and discouragement that I longed for Gotha again, freezes and all!

However, that is all of the past now, and I have learned to love and understand this more southern garden just as I loved Palm Cottage Gardens at Gotha.  I call this place my 'Tropical Garden' and  derive much happiness from the great variety of truly tropical


species that I can grow here.  As I look out of my window at the orchid-laden trees, I wonder what more life can offer anywhere."

Dr. Nehrling's Home at Gotha Dr. Nehrling died in 1929, leaving volumes of books, articles and notes regarding his research and experience with his beloved plants.  His home in Gotha stills stands and six of the original 40 acres of his gardens still survive (the rest were divided and sold over the years).  Efforts are being made to preserve the property and place it on the National Register of Historic Places, although as of this time, its future is not secure.   His Jungle Larry'shome in Naples (known 70 years ago as Nehrling's Tropical Gardens and Arboretum) is now Jungle Larry's Zoological Park and Caribbean Gardens.  Efforts are being made also to designate these grounds as an historical site.

Nehrling’s Palm Cottage Gardens
2267 Hempel Avenue Gotha, FL 34734
Tel. 407-876-1894

Sources:   My Garden in Florida ; The Palmetto, August, 1982, Volume 2, Number 2;  Florida was Henry Nehrling's garden, Shorelines, Saturday, March 22, 1997;  January 29, 1999 Letter to Mr. Richard Nehrling from Mel Martinez, Orange County Chairman;  Photos Courtesy of Richard Nehrling

First Article of the Series

Second Article of the Series

Nehrling Index

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