Committed to improving the livability of Gainesville and the surrounding areas, the City Beautification Board recognizes excellence in a variety of categories; the Greenhouse at Wilmot Gardens was recognized alongside UF Health Shand’s Children’s Hospital, Gainesville Regional Airport Entrance Road, Gainesville Police Headquarters and the RTS Bus Facility on SE 13th Road in the awards’ institutional facilities category.
The Greenhouse at Wilmot Gardens serves as one of the most important additions to the gardens since the restoration efforts began in 2006. In addition to housing the Therapeutic Horticulture Program at Wilmot Gardens, the completely accessible and climate-controlled greenhouse boasts an office and reception space. The therapeutic horticulture program, which is dedicated to serving groups with special needs, is based on the belief that an active connection with plants and nature can be a restorative experience and have a profound effect on quality of life. The greenhouse not only serves as a healing environment for program sessions, but also as a teaching and research laboratory to conduct empirical research into the benefits of therapeutic horticulture. Designed by Walker Architects of Gainesville, the greenhouse was made possible by generous gifts from private donors and gifts in kind.
The awards highlight projects of outstanding aesthetic and artistic appeal. Projects are evaluated for originality, innovation and creativity, as well as for their sustainability, maintenance and use of serviceable materials. An award-winning site must exhibit appropriate land utilization, effective planning, compatibility with the area and screening of unsightly views. All projects must meet applicable building and landscaping codes, and each must result in the improvement of the area, property or neighborhood.
“We are committed to serving the wider Gainesville community by providing a beautiful, peaceful respite within the UF Health academic health science center complex for healing and research, and our greenhouse is at the very heart of that goal,” said Dr. Craig Tisher, director of Wilmot Gardens. “This award is a powerful recognition of our growing role within the community as well as the generosity of countless volunteers and dedicated donors to making our dream of a greenhouse for the therapeutic horticulture program a reality.”