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New Evenstad Horticulture Campus propels Naples Botanical Garden into its future

Photo(s) courtesy of The Garden


Naples Botanical Garden celebrates the grand opening of the Evenstad Horticulture Campus, its biggest undertaking in a decade and the catalyst for its advancement in plant conservation, horticultural excellence, environmental education, and service to Southwest Florida.

The campus is one of the nation’s only specialty tropical growing operations, as the Garden is one of the few places in the continental U.S. where guests can enjoy tropical and subtropical plants year-round in natural, outdoor settings.

The facility boasts more than 60,000 square feet of growing space, including three greenhouses, a one-acre sun nursery, and a laboratory suite for propagation, tissue culture, and other processes requiring sterile conditions. The campus was custom-designed for the Naples Botanical Garden. Staff consulted with growers as far away as Singapore to determine the equipment, features, and technology best suited to our collections, conservation goals, and future aspirations.

Photos (L to R) Naples Botanical Garden Board Chair Kathleen Kapnick addresses 200-plus attendees and Garden staff. Kapnick’s late father-in-law, Harvey Kapnick Jr., donated money to purchase the land on which the Garden sits.

Irma and Tom Leonard, among the Garden’s earliest supporters, tour the new campus.

Members of the Paul family talk about the new campus with Curator of Special Collections Matt Herrman. Pastor Jean Paul (second from left) of Naples Haitian Church of the Nazarene delivered the invocation.


Other attributes include:

  • Storm resilience measures, such as backup irrigation and propane and diesel generators.

  • A reverse osmosis system for water purification.   Rain catchment.

  • Contaminant controls against invasive pests, fungi, and bacterial diseases.   An energy-efficient design.

  • A staff-designed landscape featuring native plants, Caribbean species, and a few rarities showing our collection’s extent.

A leader in plant conservation and ecosystem restoration.

The campus will facilitate research efforts, such as trialing plants for restoration projects and nature-based solutions. This will allow the Garden to better address regional environmental needs, and safeguard rare and threatened plants.

A model for horticultural excellence.

The Garden will rely less on commercially produced plants and grow more from seeds or cuttings, allowing horticulturists to control growing conditions and root development. It will allow us to accept rare plants from collectors, facilitate sharing with other botanical gardens, and procure specimens long on our wish list.

A regional economic force, employer, and tourist destination.

The Garden is a $16 million operation, employing nearly 200 staff, and attracting 260,000 guests per year. The state-of-the-art campus will help attract and retain top plant professionals. Expanded facilities will allow us to enhance the visitor experience with exciting new displays, more horticultural material for educational programming, and with new, future gardens that can now be started from seed.

The Garden is grateful to namesake donors Grace Evenstad and her late husband, Ken, its Board of Directors, and the many philanthropists who made this project a reality. The State of Florida provided additional funding, thanks to the efforts of state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo and Rep. Bob Rommel.

About Naples Botanical Garden

Naples Botanical Garden is where plants and people thrive together. In addition to our 170-acre showcase for tropical plants, the Garden offers a uniquely beautiful, natural, and ever-changing experience to bring our diverse community together to enjoy companionship, refuge, learning, and celebration.


Hours of operation are 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (8 a.m. early entry for members).

Visit for details.


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