Visiting Norris Gardens at Historic Palm Cottage in Naples

By: Gillian Birch

If you are visiting Naples Historical Society’s Historic Palm Cottage, the oldest surviving house in Naples, Florida take a peek through the gate into the neighboring garden and appreciate the established plantings of this historic garden. Take a self-guided tour of five historic gardens that are a beautiful complement to Naples Florida’s oldest house, Historic Palm Cottage. Photo by Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Known as Norris Gardens, this well-tended oasis is part of the complex owned and managed by Naples Historical Society on 12thAve South. Run as a 501© non-profit, the Norris Gardens were established 10 years ago. They are now widely used for 4thand 5thgrade student visits, lectures, and events supporting the Naples Historic Society. You can also take a self-guided tour as part of any visit to Historic Palm Cottage. Paid museum staff and docents are available for private garden tours and a team of volunteers help maintain the gardens.

Take a self-guided tour of five historic gardens that are a beautiful complement to Naples Florida’s oldest house, Historic Palm Cottage. Photo by Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

History of Norris Gardens

The land on which Norris Gardens sits was once the site of another historic Naples home–Crayton Cottage. The half-acre was purchased in 2004 by the Naples Historical Society with the help of a generous donation from the Norris Family Foundation, hence the garden’s name.

The land was redeveloped to a traditional Victorian Garden design with a central oval lawn, lily pond, and pergolas for shade. It opened to the public in 2006. Surrounded by a hedge of Cocoa Plum, the six themed gardens showcase a diversity of Florida plants.

Take a self-guided tour of five historic gardens that are a beautiful complement to Naples Florida’s oldest house, Historic Palm Cottage. Photo by Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Six Themed Gardens

The Pioneer Garden grows a range of drought-tolerant plants including bromeliads, crown of thorns, and golden bamboo, said to have been used by the native Indians for their funeral pyres. The old Sapodilla tree would have provided pioneers with fruit that has a distinctive root beer taste.

Take a self-guided tour of five historic gardens that are a beautiful complement to Naples Florida’s oldest house, Historic Palm Cottage. Photo by Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Take a self-guided tour of five historic gardens that are a beautiful complement to Naples Florida’s oldest house, Historic Palm Cottage. Photo by Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

The Garden of the Senses has waxy frangipani and fragrant ylang ylang flowers. The Water Garden is a place for quiet contemplation beneath the shady palms which surround the lily pond. The pièce de résistance is the bronze sculpture of a blue heron and a kingfisher, created by William H. Turner. More palms can be found and identified in the Palm Garden along with Florida’s only native palm – the Sabal Palm. The Shade Garden focuses on a red-barked Gumbo Limbo Tree, a huge Ficus, and many flowering orchids.

Take a self-guided tour of five historic gardens that are a beautiful complement to Naples Florida’s oldest house, Historic Palm Cottage. Photo by Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Finally, the Edible Garden features raised beds filled with plants that Naples, Florida residents would have grown and enjoyed over 100 years ago. Heritage tomatoes, capsicum peppers, herbs and citrus trees would have been staples in any early Naples garden along with Star Fruit and Sugar Apple trees.

Take a self-guided tour of five historic gardens that are a beautiful complement to Naples Florida’s oldest house, Historic Palm Cottage. Photo by Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Take a self-guided tour of five historic gardens that are a beautiful complement to Naples Florida’s oldest house, Historic Palm Cottage. Photo by Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Visiting Norris Gardens in Naples

The Norris Gardens can be visited as part of any guided tour of Historic Palm Cottage. Tours are available Tuesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. – with or without a reservation. A docent will lead the 40-minute tour of the cottage and this is followed by a self-guided tour of the Norris Gardens. Informative boards identify the different plants in the gardens.

Take a self-guided tour of five historic gardens that are a beautiful complement to Naples Florida’s oldest house, Historic Palm Cottage. Photo by Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

The large thatched chickee pavilion in Norris Garden provides a space for lectures, concerts, and outdoor events. There are an annual series of informative “Chickee Chats” each season which can be pre-booked. Musical performances and member events also make use of this beautiful garden.

Private tours of Naples Historical Society’s Historic Palm Cottage and the Norris Gardens are also available through the website or by contacting Naples Historical Society (239-261-8164).

If you enjoyed learning about Norris Gardens, check out this post about Historic Palm Cottage

Palm Cottage historical marker Naples, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com. Photo by Nita Ettinger

Photo credit Nita Ettinger 

Take a self-guided tour of five historic gardens that are a beautiful complement to Naples Florida’s oldest house, Historic Palm Cottage. Photo by Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides | MustDo.com

Related Posts:

Written by: Gillian Birch | Author Website

Gillian Birch is a freelance travel writer and, whenever possible between trips, she enjoys life in Florida. As the wife of a Master Mariner, she has traveled extensively and lived in some exotic locations all over the world, including the Far East and the Republic of Panama. Describing herself as having "endless itchy feet and an insatiable wanderlust", she continues to explore Florida and further afield, writing about her experiences with wonderful clarity and attention to detail. With a diploma in Journalism from the BCJ, she has published several travel books and ebooks, all available on Amazon under her name. Formerly the Florida Editor for BellaOnline from 2011-13, Gillian is an active member of the International Travel Writers' Alliance and the Gulf Coast Writers' Association, and an enthusiastic guest blogger for Must Do Visitor Guides. Learn more about her writing as YourTravelGirl at: www.gillianbirch.com and follow her blog around the world at https://gillianbirch.wordpress.com/

[gravityform id="2"]

Newsletter Sign-up