So we were on our way to wonderful Wabasso, when we spotted Rock City Gardens on Highway 1 – just north of Vero Beach. It looked fairly interesting from the road, but until we reviewed our “Things to Do,” on TripAdvisor, we didn’t know it qualified as an attraction.
When we stopped by, we found out why. It is more than a nursery, it is an experience.
One of the first things we discovered was their store. It was full of items both for interior and exterior decor. There were the obligatory pots and wall hangings. There were chairs and tables, lamps, vases and baskets. Wind chimes and all manner of statuary were available for indoor and outdoor use as well.
Heading out the back door, we found table after table of plants ready for sale. Although this was not the season yet for planting here in Florida, we found a wide selection. Mostly they were ornamentals. There were ferns, palms and flowers. Later, we found a legion of empty tables that would be full as soon as growing season would arrive.
The covered planting area gave way to a path that led us to the signpost. We quickly learned that Rock City Gardens not only has demonstration landscape and hardscape areas, it also has a wonderful area for weddings and photo shoots.
We headed down the nature trail. In doing so, we found that the wedding stage and the hardscape retail were intertwined throughout their back lot. There were bubbling fountains, fireplace settings, sitting areas, pergolas and all manner of different venues. All could be re-created on your property – for a price.
But the thing that struck us was the serenity of the place.
In addition to the wonderful features one encounters in their walk through the winding pathway of Rock City Gardens, is the attention to the order in which they are constructed.
It is easy to see that whoever is in charge of the layout has a wonderful eye to guide the visitor through the various vignettes that are on display. It is easy to enjoy the day. Sit here for a while, or sit there.
Since 1983, Rock City Gardens has been owned and operated by Tom and Rhonda Lowe. The Lowes purchased the nursery from the Chapins, second-generation owners of the Tennessee tourist attraction, Rock City.
The Chapins were also seasonal residents of nearby John’s Island. Under Tom and Rhonda’s new ownership, and with a new vision for growth, the garden shop was expanded, greenhouses were built for the ever-growing flower production, and the grounds are continuously upgraded and beautified.
The fruits of their labor became even more famous in 2004 when the Lowes received the prestigious S.J. Blakely Award for outstanding landscape design of a business in the nursery industry.
A Must See
It is easy to understand why this is a destination point for those on the Treasure Coast looking to do a photo shoot, have a wedding ceremony or to find landscaping ideas for their own yards. It is tranquil, it is beautiful and it is free for those who wish to browse the grounds.
They refer to it as “Seven Acres of Inspiration,” and it is. There you will find landscape design ideas, container gardens and hardscapes. Their staff can guide you to plants and give advice on the care and feeding of their stock.
Our recommendation is, that you budget some time as you head north from Vero Beach on Highway 1 and visit Rock City Gardens. And leave some space in the car for some of the special treasures you may find there.