Celebrate springtime with a trip to one of Miami’s spectacular outdoor gardens.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables: Fairchild is a world-class conservation and education-based garden, dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants. They boast one of the world’s greatest living collection of palms and cycads. Check out their current collections and exhibits.
Vizcaya Museum and Garden, Coconut Grove: Built by agricultural industrialist James Deering in 1916, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens features a Main House, ten acres of formal gardens, and a rockland hammock. Vizcaya’s European-inspired gardens are among the most elaborate in the United States. Reminiscent of gardens created in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Italy and France, the overall landscape design is conceived as a series of rooms. The central space is dominated by low hedges, or parterres, in a geometric arrangement. Beyond that are the evocative Secret Garden, the intimate Theater Garden, the playful Maze Garden and the once-watery domain of the Fountain Garden. On either side of this designed landscape, James Deering preserved the native forest.
Miami Beach Botanical Garden, Miami Beach:
In 1926, a devestating hurricane left the new city of Miami Beach flooded, covered in sand and devoid of foliage. To restore the tree canopy, a group of determined women organized the gathering of seedlings, placed them in Dixie Cups, distributed them and planted them. This initial restoration project, The Dixie Cup Campaign, grew and the following year, 1927, these smart and visionary women formed the Miami Beach Garden Club. Since that auspicious beginning, the Miami Beach Garden Club has developed and in 1962, the magnificent Miami Beach Botanical Garden was a direct result of initiatives and campaigning by the Club Members. The mission of the Miami Beach Botanical Garden is to provide free public access to an attractive botanical garden, create environmental education programs for children and adults, preserve green space, and promote green living.
Crandon Gardens, Key Biscayne: The former site of the Miami Zoo has been reinvented as a novelty garden and menagerie. The doors to the retro animal cages—so much smaller and less humane compared to today’s standards—have been removed to create walk-in flora vignettes with hand-painted murals.
A central pond attracting dozens of bird species, iguanas and the occasional crocodile makes for good picnicking, while cyclists and Rollerbladers stick to surrounding spirals of smooth trails.
The birdwatcher’s paradise is home to natives like Sandhill cranes, exotics such as Hawaiian geese, Guinea hens, peacocks, black and white swans and a variety of ducks.