Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens in Williston Florida

 

 Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens in Williston, Florida is quite a unique botanical gardens in many aspects.  Located just a short drive southwest of Gainesville you’ll find this wonderful oasis in the country.  This oasis has been in the making for over 20 years and it’s not finished yet.

 

Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens were founded by Dr. Raymond Webber. Taking a reclaimed limestone quarry, Dr. Webber began his creation by commissioning one wheelbarrow at a time to move rocks creating the lakes and ponds.  No heavy excavating equipment was used in the process. Then he added hundreds of species of flowers and flora to create serene lush landscapes and several stunning waterfalls.

I spent part of my visit talking with the staff and was given quite a thorough history of the gardens and it’s beginning.  Before I started my trek, they took the time to show me a Least Halberd Fern and a Brittle Maiden Hair, rare plants that they are very proud to have as part of this garden.  The staff was so helpful and friendly, and they are quite an asset to the gardens.

 

 

I took my time walking through, I didn’t want to miss anything.  There are so many beautiful flowers and plants to see.  The ponds are filled with very large Koi fish and a catfish named Big Ben that weighs over 100 lbs.  Unfortunately, Big Ben did not surface for me on this trip, shy I guess.

There is an upper level and a lower level to explore. There are numerous pavilions and benches, big & small, for you to rest or sit and just enjoy the beauty.  You can spend as much time as you like here. It’s a perfect place to just slow down and turn the cell phone off and literally smell the roses!  Bring the kids and enjoy a picnic.

You will see birds such as owls, songbirds and many butterflies. There are also several species of animals that call the garden home, turtles, ducks, a mating pair of swans, cats, even a few cockatoos and more.  Their plan is to expand the habitats and gradually add more animals.

From its inception, its amazing how one man’s vision of an using an old quarry becomes a stunning oasis just off the beaten path and that the expansion of the gardens will continue.  So take a little time away from the hustle and bustle of the busier tourist attractions in Florida and take a stroll through a Japanese garden, sit and watch a waterfall, and enjoy almost every color flower you can imagine.  The gardens are surrounded by a 54 acre nature preserve, plenty of room to roam, take a walk and enjoy the birds.

Cedar Woods Lakes & Gardens is located @ 4990 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL 32696, PH:(352)529-0055.

TIP: For those of you who like to dive, there are two diving areas right down the road from the gardens.  http://www.divebluegrotto.com/ and http://www.devilsden.com/.

 

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60 comments

  1. What an interesting place to visit. It’s fascinating how one man passion can turn into something so stunning. Sound like Big Ben is the boss around this area.

  2. what a beautiful garden and I would love to see BIG BEN!! hahaha, my grandfather had a coy pond but nothing like a 100lb fish!
    What an amazing landscape too, I have trumpet plants in my back yard but have never seen a purple one in my life anywhere, that must have been amazing in person

  3. I lived in Gainesville for 5 years and never knew about this place! It’s quite impressive that no heavy excavating equipment was used. Time to make a trip and visit this place!

  4. It is great to read that you took your time while exploring this magnificent oasis 🙂 Your pictures are really inviting too! Keep up the great work 🙂 Patrick and Cécile from Travel4lifeblog

  5. What a beautiful place to visit the Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens. With me here in Florida I will definitely have to stop by. The stunning photos and I think spring would be great to see the flowers blooming. I pinned this for later. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. The botanical gardens appear so surreal, they are oozing with natural beauty. It would be a beautiful experience walking in these gardens. I am sure you had a sublime experience.

  7. Sadly I don’t know much about Florida, apart from theme parks! So nice to see something different like this, looks like a nice peaceful place to visit, thanks for sharing!

  8. Lovely waterfalls and gardens! Looks really peaceful and like a fantastic place to relax in. I can imagine sitting there and writing or just getting inspiration! Love the animals too! Florida keeps on surprising!

    1. Hi Karla….It is a wonderful story and a beautiful place. There are many acres surrounding the gardens that you can hike and see wildlife!

  9. What a pretty place and not something I would really expect to see in Florida. I particularly like how they have done the bridges across the ponds/lakes. Nice to see a quarry turned into something more appealing.

  10. What a beautiful oasis, you are absolutely right! Love your photos, but in truth, flowers are one of my favourite photography subjects so I’m a little biased! Love the little frog, he’s so cute! One could easily while away a few hours here enjoying the beautiful nature, thanks for sharing and bringing it to our attention.

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