From West Palm to Key West here’s a look at some extraordinary gardens throughout South Florida.
Mounts Botanical Garden, 559 North Military Trail in West Palm Beach
Mounts Botanical Garden is Palm Beach County’s oldest and largest public garden. It includes 14 acres of landscaped gardens that should give visitors ideas of what they can accomplish in their own home exterior spaces. The garden displays tropical and subtropical plants from six continents, including plants native to Florida, exotic trees, tropical fruit, herbs, citrus, palms and more.
Must Sees: Check out their vegetable and dooryard tropical fruit garden, shade and color Island and rose-fragrance garden.
There is a $5 per person suggested donation. Call 561-233-1757 or visit Mounts.org for more information.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Road Coral Gables, in Coral Gables
Fairchild opened up to the public in 1938 and includes 83 acres and 11 lakes. The garden bills itself as one of the world's preeminent botanic gardens and is an international leader in tropical plant conservation. They have an extensive collection of rare tropical plants including palms, cycads, flowering trees, tropical fruit trees, vines, and succulents.
Must Sees: Their rainforest is a spectacular exhibit which blends native Florida species with true rainforest species. The 2-acre exhibit includes an aerial irrigation system to enhance rainfall and humidity, so visitors will have an opportunity to experience the plants and environment of the world's dwindling rainforest ecosystems. Another notable exhibit is the Montgomery Palmetum, a world-renowned display and research collection of palms from all parts of the world, which is recognized as the most important documented palm collection in the world.
Adults $25; Seniors 65 and up $18; Children 12-17 $12 and free for children under 5. Visit FairchildGarden.com for more information.
The Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, 4013 S. Douglas Road in Coconut Grove
The National Tropical Botanical Garden is a not-for-profit institution, dedicated to discovering, saving, and studying the world's tropical plants. There are five gardens all located in Hawaii except for the Kampong, which is located on Biscayne Bay. The garden contains a fascinating array of tropical fruit cultivars and flowering trees. Among the five locations there are nearly 2,000 acres of gardens and preserves with thousands of species gathered from throughout the tropical world. The Kampong serves as the mainland campus for the NTBG's educational courses and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Must Sees: Their heritage collections from Southeast Asia, Central and South Americas, the Caribbean, and other tropical locales create a cornucopia of exotic fruit, including candle fruit, peanut butter fruit, egg fruit, cocoplums, and more than 50 varieties of mango.
Adults $15; ages 62 and over or students with I.D. $10; children 4-12 $5; children 3 yrs. and under free. Call 305-442-7169 or visit Ntbg.org for more information.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, 3251 S. Miami Avenue in Miami;
This Italian Renaissance-style villa was built in 1916 and the complex contains antique furnishings and art dating from the 15th through the 19th century. The home is surrounded by more than 10 acres of formal gardens and fountains. It’s designed in a formal European manner, but composed of plants appropriate for South Florida’s climate and sandwiched between a subtropical forest and a mangrove shoreline. The gardens are spectacular and unusual for their architectural features, fountains, and sculptural elements. The most prominent fountain came from the central square of the small town of Sutri in Italy, and was imported specifically as an adornment for the gardens.
Must Sees: Check out their Secret Garden, which is a walled space with a raised terrace that provides views the gardens and Biscayne Bay and the Garden Mound, a large architectural feature capped with large live oaks.
Adults $15, Miami-Dade residents $10; Children 6-12 $6, residents $5; Children 5 and under free; Seniors 62 and up $10; Students $10; Visitors using wheelchairs $10. Call 305-250-9133 or visit Vizcayamuseum.com for more information.
Montgomery Botanical Center, 11901 Old Cutler Road in Miami
Montgomery Botanical Center is a not-for-profit botanic garden established in 1959. The Botanical Center keeps living specimens from wild plant populations worldwide. They emphasize palms and cycads. MBC has a scientific focus and its mission is to advance science, education, conservation, and horticultural knowledge of tropical plants.
Must Sees: Montgomery Botanical Center’s collections of palms and cycads are world renowned. MBC houses the largest Microcycas calocoma in the U.S. They also has a robust collection of Syagrus, a sister group to the coconut, and many other rare cycads.
Donations are encouraged. Guided reservations are required. Call 305-667-3800or visit MontgomeryBotanical.org for more information.
The Audubon House & Tropical Gardens, 205 Whitehead Street in Key West
The Audubon House has many rare plants and hundreds of blooming orchids on 1-acre of land in Key West. They have been voted the most beautiful outdoor location in Key West for many years. THe Wolfson Family Foundation that owns the property have invested more than $100,000 in moonlighting for evening events which make the gardens magical after dark.
Must Sees: Check out their 200-year-old Sego Palm, butterfly garden, herb garden and an 1840-style nursery that provides a historic look at gardening.
Adults are $12; Students $7.50; Children 6-12 $5; and Children under 6 are free. Call 305-294-2116 or visit AudubonHouse.com for more information.