Wilmot Botanical Gardens is named for Royal James “Roy” Wilmot who in the 1940s was a horticulturist with the Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Florida. Wilmot was an authority on camellias and classified many of the 3,000 known varieties of this flowering shrub, sometimes called “the empress of winter.” Wilmot Garden was once the largest publicly owned collection of camellias in the country.

Wilmot was a founding member of the American Camellia Society that was established in 1945 in Macon, GA. He was the first secretary of the society and also it’s first yearbook editor.


Royal James Wilmot


Royal James “Roy” Wilmot, a UF horticulturalist and national authority on camellias, serves as a founding member of the American Camellia Society.

Historical Wilmot Gardens


Wilmot dies and friends and colleagues from the United States and abroad donate 300 rare varieties of camellias in his honor to create Wilmot Botanical Gardens at the University of Florida.

Wilmot Gardens in neglect


After devastation from decades of neglect and a serious southern pine beetle infestation, a small group of volunteers led by C. Craig Tisher, MD, then dean of the College of Medicine, and Linda and Bill Luecking, initiate efforts to restore the gardens rather than allow the area to be replaced by another building within the growing academic health science center.

Pergola at Wilmot Botanical Gardens Conference Center


A former office and laboratory building is remodeled to create the Conference Center at Wilmot Botanical Gardens.

Wilmot Gardens historical marker


Wilmot Gardens receives its UF Historical Marker on March 20, 2009. The marker, which resides in the central lawn near the Hippocratic garden, details the gardens’ historical significance.

Wilmot Gardens sign


The Wilmot Botanical Gardens Consortium is established at the University of Florida, at which time the mission of Wilmot Botanical Gardens is expanded to include patient care, research and education.

Therapeutic Horticulture participant


The Therapeutic Horticulture Program at Wilmot Botanical Gardens is launched in greenhouse space provided by the Department of Environmental Horticulture.

Greenhouse construction


Construction of the Greenhouse at Wilmot Botanical Gardens begins thanks to generous gifts from multiple donors.

The Greenhouse at Wilmot Botanical Gardens


Construction of the Greenhouse at Wilmot Botanical Gardens is completed, and the Therapeutic Horticulture Program relocates to the facility and expands.

Japanese maple


The Japanese Maple Tree Garden, which features a collection of more than 30 rare Japanese maple trees, is created, courtesy of a donation from Dr. and Mrs. Johannes Vieweg.

Chapman Healing Garden construction


Construction of the Chapman Healing Garden is underway, which, when completed, will provide a new outdoor venue for additional therapeutic horticulture activities.

Chapman Healing Garden


The Chapman Healing Garden is complete, boasting the only water feature within Wilmot Botanical Gardens.

Tractor trailer with camellias


Initiation of the Camellia Relocation Project involving the transportation from Ocala, Florida, of over 300 camellias from the private collection of Drs. Clarence and Lillian Gordy to the Wilmot Botanical Gardens.

Mendenhall Family Camellia Walk


Completion of the Mendenhall Family Camellia Walk, located in the southeast section of the gardens. This fine feature was made possible by a generous gift from Drs. William and Nancy Mendenhall in July 2020.

Dr. Tisher holding American Camellia Trail sign


Wilmot Botanical Gardens accepted to American Camellia Trail Gardens, a project of the American Camellia Society.