Heathcote Nursery History

Preserving Heathcote’s House

Yesterday, Today, Together

Heathcote Botanical Gardens’ origins date back nearly 100 years to a nursery in Scarsdale, New York. What began as a tropical and exotic nursery in the 1930’s remains a cultural, educational resource today!

Today, Heathcote house serves as the center of activity for programming, research, volunteer engagement and a meeting space for community members to help fulfill our mission. It represents our past as well as our future.

Preserving our Heritage at Heathcote Botanical Gardens

Heathcote House 1960

Heathcote House circa 1960

At the heart of Heathcote is its historical house, now serving as administrative offices.

Built by the late Dr. J.E. Leininger during the height of Florida’s land boom in 1922, it later became home to the H.H. Willis family and followed by the Carlton family. Mollie and Jim Crimmins, owners of Heathcote Nursery, called it home for more than 30 years. OC “Pete” Peterson, helped orchestrate its move from Delaware Avenue to its current location at Savannah Road in 1967.
Heathcote Botanical Gardens Mission

Heathcote House 2018

Heathcote House 2018

This gabled-roof home, with its storied past is nearing its Centennial Anniversary and needs our help.

Time and technology have overtaken the electrical system, which is sorely out of date. Vital repairs are essential to maintain compliance of safety standards and to ensure insurance coverage.

Other electrical needs include replacing outdated wiring and the addition of ample capacity to meet the technology needs of the 21st century both in Heathcote House and around the Gardens.

A benefit of this outcome ensures that the Gardens remain illuminated for the 2018 Garden of Lights.

Other interior and exterior work continues, including painting and the completion of wood rot repair exacerbated by Hurricane Mathew and Irma. Additional funds raised will be dedicated to the continued improvement of Heathcote House.


This historical jewel is at the heart of our true purpose… education.

We invite you to support our Summer Appeal and help restore this critical component of our operations.

Funds raised will allow us to continue our work to improve this treasured home and ensure that the house, along with the Gardens, will be here for generations to come.

Your gift makes it possible for Heathcote to remain the center of education, inspiration and the enjoyment of this treasured green heart of our community.

We hope you will join us in supporting this vital appeal for the electrical, as well as restorative needs to maintain this treasured house! There is no gift too small.

For details on other ways to give, please contact Diane Kimes at 772-464-4672.
Thank you!

31st Annual Garden Festival

31st Annual Garden Festival

Join us at Heathcote for the 31st Annual Garden Festival

Saturday October 20th, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sunday October 21st, 10:00 – 4:00 pm 

Mark your calendar! This year’s event has been moved ahead since it conflicted with other festivals and our preparation for the Garden of Lights.

This year’s Garden-Fest includes a variety of plant and flower vendors, garden supplies, garden arts & crafts, children’s activities, refreshments, demonstrations, entertainment and more.

Join us for our very popular annual garden festival and plant sale where you’ll find an exceptional selection of plants: Exotics, natives, tropicals, palms, orchids, herbs, garden art and accessories offered by vendors from across the state—children’s activities, food and more. Get advice, ask questions or stop by to chat.

Vendors you can look forward to seeing at this year’s event are:

Sponsoring an event at Heathcote

Our event sponsors help fund the Gardens’ year-round programs and furthers the organization’s mission to educate and inspire by providing a place of beauty and a resource for the conservation of our environment.

Your information will be listed in the program, on the website, social media and signage at the event.
1/4 pg. ad $50, 1/2 pg. ad $100, full page $200, inside or outside back cover $250

For more information on sponsoring events at Heathcote call: 772-464-4672
Email: dkimes@heathcotebg.org

James J Smith Bonsai Collection

The Bonsai Supply Visits Heathcote

Mari and Jerome from The Bonsai Supply, visited the James J. Smith Bonsai Collection at Heathcote recently.

They spent the day with our Bonsai curator Tom Kehoe, learning about Jim Smith and his Bonsai collection.

Enjoy footage of our treasured James J. Smith Collection, the largest public assemblage of tropical Bonsai in the country.

Pay special attention to the segment on repotting Bonsai. Enjoy!

Bonsai Maintenance

Bonsai Care at Heathcote

Defoliation – News From the Bonsai Garden

Under the care of our new Bonsai Curator Tom Kehoe, several Bonsai in the James J. Smith Bonsai Collection have been defoliated, had root masses reduced and have been repotted with fresh soil.

These trees are not dead…

Many Bonsai masters in Japan will actually defoliate their trees for major exhibitions for better appreciation of the fine branching (ramification) of the structure. Defoliation is commonly used for three purposes: reducing leaf size, increasing ramification and redirecting energy.

In five to six weeks these trees will rebound, putting out new, smaller leaves. Below the soil, many new fine roots will have grown, supplying food to the Bonsai.

This is part of the routine care of the trees and should be done to every tree in the collection about once every six to seven years depending on the rate of growth.

Enjoy Mr. Smith’s Garden…

Celebration of Insects

A Celebration of Insects

A Program for KIDS at Heathcote Botanical Gardens

Saturday, July 28, 9:00 a.m. – noon.

Children 6—12 years of age. (parents are encouraged to participate).

Collect, Observe and Discuss…

learn about insectsChildren will accompany leaders and explore the various habitats throughout the Gardens finding insects to bring to the viewing stations for further observation and identification with the aid of microscopes and magnifiers. (All of the insects will be released back into their favored habitats.)

Advanced registration is required: 772.464.4672 or email: info@HeathcoteBotanicalGardens.org.

Suggested $5 per youth will be collected on the day of the program. Heathcote Family members enjoy free admission, but registration is essential.

Entomological supplies, water and snacks will be provided.

“A Celebration of Insects” is led by recently retired UF faculty, Phil Lounibos and supported by docents pursuing graduate degrees in entomology at UF/IFAS labs in Ft. Pierce and Vero Beach.

Heathcote's Showdown on the Green golf tournament

Heathcote’s Showdown on the Green 2018

Golf Tournament Benefitting Heathcote Programs

Saturday, June 23, 8:30 a.m. shotgun

Four Member Scramble format
$75/individual, $275/Foursome

Held at Fairwinds Golf Course
4400 Fairwinds Dr, Fort Pierce, Florida 34946

Tickets available online at: www.HeathcoteBotanicalGardens.org/golf2018

1st, 2nd, 3rd and last place. Closest to the pin. Longest drive.

Continental breakfast, snacks & awards lunch, card & greens fees

For more information Call:772-464-4672

Sponsorship Opportunities

Presenting Sponsor $1,500

  • Two (2) Golf foursomes
  • Special announcement at the event
  • Recognition on Facebook Event
  • Recognition in all event materials, advertising and press
  • Recognition on event Sponsor Board
  • Display of advertising banner (provided by sponsor)
  • 4 Tee-Signs

Awards Luncheon Sponsor $750

  • One (1) Golf foursome
  • Special announcement at the event
  • Recognition in all event material
  • Recognition on event Sponsor Board
  • Recognition on Facebook Event
  • Your special signage at event (provided by sponsor)
  • 3 Tee-Signs

Golf Package $400

  • One (1) Golf foursome
  • Recognition in all event materials
  • Recognition on event Sponsor Board
  • 2 Tee-Signs

Friend of Heathcote Tee Sign Sponsor $60 or 2 for $100

Please email a high resolution (300 dpi) graphic or image to: info@heathcotebg.org

In the absence of a logo, a generic tee sign will be created with your business name.

  • 1 or 2 Tee-Signs




Heathcote Botanical Gardens Summer Camp

Summer Camp 2018

Adventures at Heathcote

Summer Camp 2018

Heathcote Botanical Gardens summer camp is perfect for parents that are looking for a fun and educational summer experience for their children. Campers ages 6-12 will have the opportunity to experience our Garden’s green space  through art, cooking, history and gardening. Your child will interact with nature through hands-on activities, arts and crafts and more in outdoor settings.

  • June 18 – 22
  • Ages: 6 – 12
  • Time: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • $115 members – $125 non-members
  •  10% Sibling discount.10% sibling discount: $103.50 ea. for members – $112.50 ea. for non-members 

There are many benefits and perks to membership at Heathcote Botanical Gardens. Become a member today!

For more information call: 772-464-4672

Summer Camp 2018