Monday, October 1, 2012

The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden: Tropical Splendor

Dating back to 1938 and designed by William Lyman Phillips, the 83-acre Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is an aesthetic feast for the eyes with its dazzling displays of color and form. The garden was originally established in 1936 by a wealthy accountant and businessman named Robert Montgomery who had a passion for collecting plants. When the garden opened two years later, he named it after his good friend, David Fairchild who brought many important plants to the United States, including mangos, alfalfa, nectarines, dates, horseradish, bamboos and flowering cherries. 

Located just south of Coral Gables, this incredible garden attracts both tourists and local owners of Coral Gables real estate, blending science and art into an educational resource of cultivated and wild plants. This dazzling and outstanding collection of taxonomically-arranged and well-documented tropical plants is internationally renowned and provides an important contribution to education, research and conservation.

The collection features palms, cycads, flowering trees, shrubs, vines and fruit trees. Although many of the plants are critically endangered and therefore cultivated on the grounds, there are also many that have been collected from the wild. It is the vast bio-diversity of this amazing collection that has made the garden a resource of world significance. Its extensive staff of 45,000 members and over 1,200 volunteers contribute to preserving it on a daily basis. 

The extensive compilation of rare tropical plants functions as a museum, laboratory, educational center and conservation research facility. 

For all those who visit or are fortunate enough to own Coral Gables real estate and know the area intimately, the garden offers some special events that focus on its unique collections. These include: the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden International Mango Festival held every July, the William F. Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion, the very popular annual Members' Day Plant Sale in October and the newest exhibit, the Jewels of the Caribbean.

The garden also offers the Fairchild Wish List, a unique tool for donations in which you can donate a portion of the cost or donate the actual item needed for the Living Collections and Garden Landscapes Department. There is also a plant hotline, the first of its kind, offering free plant information to the public. Check the website for contact information.

 Whether you live nearby or travel from afar, don’t miss a visit to the spectacular, one-of-a-kind Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

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