The Kampong Gardens
Did you know that there are over 50 different types of mango? Astonishing, isn’t it? At The Kampong botanical gardens in Miami you can see and taste these different varieties. The mango tree is very common to South Florida and every local knows at least one person that is lucky enough to have one in their backyard. The Kampong is known for displaying the beautiful flowering trees and tropical fruits that are native to South Florida.
Miami Beach Botanical Garden
Upon entering the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, one of the first things that people notice is the intoxicating smell of the ylang-ylang tree, which competes with the frangipani for the best scent in the garden. These are only two of the hundreds of different plants and flower species that grow in this tropical paradise. Here, you can find a myriad of options to entice your senses in multiple ways. You’ll also find palms, orchids, butterflies, birds, fountains and a even a Japanese garden, all of which are guaranteed to inculcate you with an aura of serenity. And, guess what? For all you yoga enthusiasts, they offer Saturday morning yoga classes in the garden for only $15 a person!
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Another excellent choice for an outing in Miami is the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. One attraction that you won’t want to miss is the Wings of the Tropics Conservatory, which features thousands of exotic butterflies along with tropical fish and some of the world’s most beautiful and rare plants. In addition to the Wings of the Tropics, the Fairchild garden also includes a 16,500 square foot conservatory with extensive displays of 450 species of plants from the tropics. Rare palms, cycads, ferns, orchids, aroids, bromeliads, fruit trees and unusual vines will captivate you every step of the way. If you’re lucky you might spot a rare African rainbow lizard!
The Italian Gardens at the Vizcaya Villa
One of Miami’s most historic landmarks is the Vizcaya House and Italian Gardens in Coconut Grove. Looking out over Biscayne Bay, the Vizcaya estate was built 100 years ago as a winter home for James Deering, a successful businessman from Indiana. After traveling to Italy in 1910 for inspiration, Deering hired a young Colombian landscape architect by the name of Diego Suarez and commissioned him to construct the gardens for his estate. Astonishingly, even after all these years, the gardens at the Vizcaya estate have been maintained and they remain awe inspiring, continuing to attract thousands of visitors each year. Vizcaya’s exuberant gardens are characterized by an abundance of architectural structures, elaborate fountains and antique sculptures, all of which add to the subtropical vegetative mystique that Deering was going for.
Featuring exotic and native tropical plants, sinuous rock formations and winding water features, the Pinecrest Gardens are truly a wonder to behold. The northeastern portion of Pinecrest Gardens features a one-acre cypress slough with bald cypress, a deciduous conifer and an undergrowth of ferns. The cypress hammock was once part of the largest cypress forest in South Florida. The Pinecrest Gardens hold their own with regards to Florida’s best botanic gardens, providing a unique visitor experience for every age and interest. Admission is only $5 and they stay open until 5pm on weekdays and weekends.
By Laurence Kidd