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  • Guest Writer

Johnsonville Night Lights in The Garden


The day after Thanksgiving, Naples Botanical Garden transforms into its annual nighttime wonderland, a uniquely tropical spin on the winter season. Johnsonville Night Lights in the Garden runs November 24 – January 7 (no event December 24, 25, or January 1).


Thousands of lights cast vibrant pinks, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, and reds, on the plant collections, highlighting unique textures and intricate details. A towering “tree” composed of bromeliads offers a greeting card-worthy backdrop. Performers fill the air with music. Food vendors and the Garden’s Fogg Café staff tantalize guests with sweet and savory fare.


The Garden is honored to be part of so many families’ holiday traditions. It is also deeply appreciated: Johnsonville Night Lights patrons advance the Garden’s work in plant conservation, environmental education, and horticultural excellence.


As a private, nonprofit organization, the Garden relies on memberships, ticket revenue, philanthropic gifts, grants, and revenue from special events to fund its multipronged efforts. As you enjoy Johnsonville Night Lights, consider how you impact projects such as these:


Coastal resilience – The Garden, in conjunction with Florida Gulf Coast University, has developed a blueprint for restoring beach dunes, the first line of defense against water and wind damage. It relies on native plants and is based on a multiyear study of undeveloped coastal ecosystems. The Garden is currently collecting seeds and cuttings from local dunes and growing thousands of new plants for future restoration.


Seed banking – Hurricanes Irma (2017) and Ian (2022) offer stark reminders of nature’s fury—and its fragility. Garden conservationists amass seeds from native plants and store them for the long term in the region’s only conservation seed bank. The efforts will help protect Southwest Florida’s rich biodiversity for future generations.


Horticultural excellence – The Garden is one of the few tropical growing operations in the United States, and it’s about to get much bigger with the opening of the Evenstad Horticulture Campus this winter. The custom-designed facility will allow the Garden to increase its collections, care for the most sensitive of plants, expand plant conservation, and refine growing practices.


Environmental education – The Garden aspires to be a leader in environmental education. Educators introduce the botanical world to thousands of students each year through field trips, offer daily tours and experiential programs, and provide expertise on matters such as stormwater management.


“Johnsonville Night Lights is such a critical event for Naples Botanical Garden in terms of both revenue and audience development,” says Andrea Nickrent, the vice president of development and marketing. “We anticipate 60,000 guests will attend this year, many of them first-time garden visitors. Ticket sales alone make up almost 10% of our annual operating budget. This support means we can continue to conserve plants and habitats of the tropics and educate people about their importance.”


For more details on Johnsonville Night Lights in the Garden, including ticket information, visit naplesgarden.org. If you wish to support the Garden in other ways, including membership purchases and philanthropic gifts, please see naplesgarden.org/support.


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