Punta Gorda’s Gardening History

Marian McAdow was an early Punta Gorda resident, who came to be a proponent of tropical landscaping and was to have a significant effect on the development of gardening in the city. Her home on Retta Esplanade was located on the site of the Trabue homestead. She managed over the years to turn the property into a tropical garden and the “banyan tree” on Retta Esplanade planted by her in 1904 still spreads its canopy over the city’s waterfront. Her influence continues to this day with an emphasis on tropical foliage and concern for trees and landscaping.

Arriving in Punta Gorda in 1897 as a young bride, Marian McAdow found a hot, sandy, barren location instead of a tropical paradise. She would travel to Europe, California, India and the Caribbean, where she collected seeds and plants to bring back to her home in Punta Gorda. She would share her experience and plants with her neighbors and became an acknowledged expert on growing plants adapted to the soil and climate of the state. This photo is taken of her home which was located on Retta Esplanade, the location of the former Best Western Hotel.

Historic Courthouse

The Punta Gorda Garden Club and TEAM Punta Gorda partnered to landscape the historic Court House in downtown Punta Gorda. Jones Landscaping was the nursery that provided assistance and supplied the plants that were chosen to be in keeping with the architecture and antiquity of the building.

The Court House was built in 1928. In 1990, an extensive landscape project involving many well-known citizens, including County Clerk Barbara Scott, was organized and in 1991 the project was completed.

Hurricane Charley heavily damaged, not only the Court House, but also the existing landscape surrounding the building. The Court House was restored to its original beauty after the hurricane. Unfortunately, there were limited funds available for enhancing the grounds. The new gardens are in keeping with the Neo-Classic architecture of the building.