Most trips that I take whether they are work-related or vacation inevitably lead me to a garden of some sort, be it botanic or private. At the beginning of January, I headed to Miami for a little Florida sunshine and had the pleasure of visiting the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
The garden, which opened in 1938, is dedicated to researching, conserving and educating the public about native tropical plants and is named after famous plant explorer, David Fairchild.
A renowned scientist, Fairchild travelled the world in search of plants that had specific purposes and introduced many plants to the United States. He was also a passionate educator. You can read more about how the garden came about here.
Dr. Fairchild visited every continent except Antarctica and brought back hundreds of plants that might be of use to the American population.
The botanic garden also happens to be the home of the American Orchid Society. While I was there, I was able to saunter through the Orchid Odyssey exhibit and see orchids planted throughout a rainforest.
I have never been able to get an orchid to rebloom as a houseplant, but here at Fairchild, orchids are floriferous in the outdoor rainforest where the South Florida climate provides the perfect environment in which they can thrive.
There are several garden collections and permanent exhibits to explore—both indoors and out—throughout the property.
The garden features one of the world’s greatest living collection of palms and cycads.
As you walk through the grounds, you can explore the Tropical Flowering Tree Arboretum, which features a diverse assortment of tropical trees from around the world.
The Wings of the Tropics observatory was a highlight of my visit. Butterflies are released twice a day. I had fun seeing how many I could find and match up to the chart I was given.
There are also some Dale Chihuly glass sculptures featured in the garden. These were probably left behind from the 24 sculptures that were displayed in the garden as part of an exhibit from December 2014 to May 2015.
In reading about the Fairchild Garden, I also learned about The Million Orchid Project, a program where Fairchild is looking to propagate millions of native orchids to plant in South Florida. Apparently at one time, native orchids grew in abundance in South Florida. The plant population was sadly depleted due to over harvesting and development.
According to Fairchild’s website, masses of orchids blanketed every branch of every oak and mahogany tree in the seaside hardwood hammocks of Biscayne Bay.
One final orchid photo… and a recommendation that you include a visit to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden if you happen to be in South Florida.