A walkway entering the botanical garden.

Botanical Garden

Welcome To The Joy & Gordon Patterson Botanical Garden

A stream bordered by a shady hammock abounding in palm trees and other tropical growth winds through the heart of the campus and is the setting for a 15-acre Botanical Garden. The main trail has been named the Dent Smith Trail in honor of the founder of the Palm Society, a worldwide organization primarily engaged in the study of the palm family, in all its aspects. Florida Tech's Garden, through the intense interest of Founding President Emeritus Jerome P. Keuper and the inspiration and help of Mr. Dent Smith in the 1960's, has become one of the most unique campus botanical gardens of its kind in the continental United States.

To help protect the flora and the fauna and the safety of visitors, we ask that bicycles, skateboards, and dogs not be taken into the garden. Also removing, cutting, or tampering with the plant life in the garden is considered a serious offense. The garden will be a pleasant place for all, if all who use it will take pride in its cleanliness and beauty.

This is a public garden. As there are natural water features and other potential hazards, please exercise caution during your visit. There are several specimen, delicate or possibly poisonous plants planted or naturally occurring in this garden and hammock. Parents: Please maintain appropriate control over your children at all times. For your safety, stay on the trails or within walled/patio areas.

Be sure to visit Melbourne's Little Red Schoolhouse, located in the Botanical Garden.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Joy and Gordon Patterson Botanical Garden at Florida Institute of Technology is to preserve and maintain the beauty of the natural garden hammock as a peaceful place for wellness and inspiration for the campus community and its visitors.


  • Keep the founder’s pledge to protect the hammock.
  • Preserve and protect the natural environment.
  • Provide access to the garden for inspiration, meditation, observation, and education.

Photo Gallery

        Atala butterfly on a Stokesia laevis (Stokes Aster)

View the Botanical Garden photo gallery

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