ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Chapman Botanical Garden, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Chapman Botanical Garden, Florida
Chapman Botanical Garden
A beautiful place for reflection and admiring nature,
the Chapman Botanical Garden honors Dr. Alvin
Wentworth Chapman, noted botanist.
Chapman Botanical Garden
Pathways lead through flower
plantings and natural areas at
Chapman Botanical Garden.
A Touch of Nature in Town
The graceful curves of the
pathway blends well with the
natural growth on the right.
Chapman Botanical Garden - Apalachicola, Florida
A Tribute to Dr. A.W. Chapman
Butterfly Garden
The fall flowers of the butterfly
garden fill with Monarchs in
the fall as they fly down to the
coast to begin their annual
migration across the Gulf of
Copyright 2010 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
The Chapman Botanical Garden in historic
Apalachicola pays tribute to the noted Florida
Dr. Alvin Wentworth Chapman.

Dr. Chapman lived out the last fifty years of
his life in Apalachicola, devoting much of his
time to the study of the natural world. He was
one of the premier botanists of the 19th
century and undertook expeditions to wild
places throughout the South to catalog and
research unique plant species. His 1860
The Flora of the Southern United
, was an instant classic and is still
popular today.

The botanical garden, located on Market
Street adjoining the Orman House Historic
State Park and the beautiful Three Soldiers
Monument, is a fitting tribute to the man and
his life of research. It features winding
pathways, beautifully crafted settings, a wild
area where visitors can experience a taste of
the real Florida, a butterfly garden and more.

In November, when the monarch butterflies
return to the coast to begin their long
migration over the Gulf of Mexico, they float
over the plants of the garden in amazing

The Chapman Botanical Garden was first
conceived in the 1980s by city planner John
Myers. He encouraged the residents of
Apalachicola to create a garden to honor the
legacy of Dr. Chapman. The idea caught on
and the garden was developed. It received a
major rejuvenation in 2004 led by the late
Lee McKnight and is now one of the finest
botanical gardens available in any small city
in the South.

Linked by pathways and a parking lot with the
Three Soldiers Monument and the Orman
House, the garden is part of a trio of sites
that can be visited without getting back into
your car. All three are beautifully cared for and
pay tribute to different eras of history, from
Apalachicola's boom days of the 1830s and
1840s, to the decades of research of Dr.
Chapman to the local soldiers who served in
the Vietnam War.

An entrance pavilion leads the way into the
garden and to walking paths that branch to
the left and right. Both are beautifully
designed to fit with the natural terrain of the
park and loop through the park to give visitors
of all abilities easy access to its flowers and

Actually one long path that loops through the
garden and returns to the pavilion the
walkway passes by both natural settings and
planted aspects of the garden. In the whole it
passes through a very nice example of
landscape architecture.
At the end of the garden opposite the pavilion
and entrance, the walkway crosses a
footbridge over a marsh area. This is a prime
example of what "Old Florida" looked like
when the first settlers came to what would
become Apalachicola in 1821.

Wetlands like these brought both life and
death to early Florida. The marshes are
natural filters that clean the water as it flows
through them, allowing the shrimp and oyster
beds of Apalachicola Bay to thrive. They also
serve as breeding places for mosquitoes,
which spread the terrible malaria and yellow
fever epidemics that ravaged the city in the

Adjacent are the trees and plants of the
hammocks that bordered the marshes, dark
and beautiful in their lushness. The path then
leads back into the sunshine, past beautiful
plantings to the butterfly garden, which
swarms with beautiful butterflies in the
spring and fall.

The Chapman Botanical Garden is located
on north Market Street in Apalachicola and is
open from 8 a.m. until sunset. There is a $2
admission fee that can be paid at the
House Historic State Park next door.