A Wisconsin schoolteacher named Henry Nehrling purchased 40 acres of land in the Town of Gotha in 1885 to grow tropical and sub-tropical plants outside year round. He was also a horticulturalist, an ornithologist, and his Palm Cottage Gardens on Hempel Avenue was a popular tourist destination at the turn of the century which had visits from the likes of Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and David Fairchild. Today, only 6 acres remain of the original garden.
Dr. Nehrling tested over 3,000 new and rare plant species at the garden. He also introduced over 300 beneficial plants to the local landscape which include caladium, hybrid amaryllis, and gloriosa lillies. Dr. Nehrling is also considered to be the father of caladiums.
A local group called the Henry Nehrling Society works to preserve his Gotha home and gardens. The group also provides a history and horticultural education center. Their site also offers an in depth history of Gotha which include Dr. Nehrling as well as the Nally family who also became enthralled by gloriosa lillies. What a great organization here in SW Orlando.
Watch Video: Saving “Dreamland”: Henry Nehrling’s Florida