I think if I lived in Coral Gables, close to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, I’d have a green thumb like everybody else living in the Miami area. It's truly a tropical paradise.
Truth be told, these aren’t actually Lynda’s orchids. She is fabulous when it comes to many things (her green thumb, of course, her cooking, her smile, her watercolors; she actually teaches a Beginner’s Watercolor Class at Fairchild),
Yep, since 1938, when the garden opened, orchids and all manner of flora
Oh, yes! There were over 4000 palms and rare, ancient cycads for our viewing pleasure.
Jimmy and I were quite pleased
In 1891, at the age of 22, Fairchild set out to travel the globe (sounds like fun to me) in search of plants of potential use in the United States. He was responsible for introducing 200,000 exotic plants and varieties of crops to the States, including mangos, alfalfa, nectarines, dates, cotton, wheat and bamboo.
Mr. Fairchild personally had a hand in planting many of the flora now thriving in the 83 acres of land devoted to saving tropical plant diversity by exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants.
The garden boosts one of the greatest living collections of palms and cycads in the world. My palms were getting itchy just thinking of the photographic opportunities.
The palms certainly dominated the garden. There were short, fluffy cycads;
Some of the succulents looked like they’d just rolled out of bed. This one was sporting the bedhead look;
Marjory Stoneman Douglas had found one such tree. As Florida’s most celebrated and noted author, Ms. Douglas single-handedly set out to redefine the popular conception of the Florida’s
Everglades as a treasured river rather than a swamp, which she accomplished quite successfully with the publication of her book, The Everglades: the Power of Grass.
Jimmy told me to leaf well enough alone.
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Bottom Line on Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden:
Verdict: This is truly paradise; a lush, tropical garden where communing withnature is the focus of every waking moment. What’s not to like?
How to Get There: From Miami, head south on SW 27th Avenue to S. Bayshore Drive. Take the 2nd right onto McFarlane Road, then left onto Main Highway. Turn left onto S. Douglas Road (SW 37th Avenue), followed by a slight right onto Ingraham Highway. Ingraham Highway becomes W. Ingraham Terrace. Turn left onto SW 42nd Avenue, enter the roundabout and take the 2nd exit onto Old Cutler Road. Entrance to the garden will be on the left off Old Cutler Road.
Insider Information: Take the free tram ride first before walking the garden to get a feel for those areas where you may want to devote your time. Our driver was very knowledgeable as were all the volunteers (1,200 total) that were the heart of the hospitality and success of our learning experience. You'll need days to do this place justice. Their special events are renowned for drawing crowds regularly. We returned a day later with my sister Lynda for their annual Chocolate Festival. If you’re in the Miami area, be sure to check their website for dates of upcoming special events. The festivals are an added bonus to a program already brimming with spectacular color and choreography.