The Fairchild Botanical Garden, Miami

A must-see, and the following photos will surely tell you why.

Let me take you to Asia, Madagascar and the tropics, in one tour of the Gardens !

a feel of the tropics

a palm opening like a flower and its fruit chore
















a glimpse of Asia, I love the shades of grey and green
















a mirror effect most mesmerizing !

a mix of tall and small, and a leaf  contrast that enhances the beauty of each specimen
















windswept ! what architecture ! a sculpture of its own …















how stylish ! I love the solid dark trunk and the feathery flowers in a soft shade of pink at the top

the petticoat palm, a botanic fancy !

































a place where you feel very little ! come back, kids, there could be a giant spider at the end of the path !
















and suddenly, teleportation to Madagascar !

a scene that recreates the famous Spiney Forest in the south of the island of Madagascar, where Stewart Cable, a famous botanist and plant hunter from Kew Gardens, went to in search of aloe suzannae some years ago. I followed his quest through a dvd called ‘A Year at Kew’, that I use for my lessons.

one last tease before you decide to visit this fabulous garden !

So long, dear readers.

Next week I’m lucky enough to have next Friday afternoon free, and I will go to a zen garden located not far from here, nicely accompanied by my friend Hervé, who will no doubt share some of his plant knowledge to transform this excursion into a cultural moment !

Sep 30, 2012

Miami Sequarium

From my plant loving eyes, the world famous Miami Sequarium was not just a place for dolphins and other obedient creatures, but also one for gazing at some landscaped scenes.

Here the pool seems to emerge from a dense mangrove, inhabited by a multitude of wild fauna and flora, amongst which this funny bird. It had the looks of a regular visitor, I wonder wether they take it in turn to appear like that from the background.  I watched it popping from the bush and steadily move forward the girls and their case filled with fish, parading like on the catwalk – which, for a bird, is quite a feat. It eventually helped itself while everyone was concentrating on the flips and flops of the great dolphins and the blabbing of their loving trainers.

From here, I liked the open vista onto the other side, Miami harbour and business centre. A long stretch of grass, with only a few trees, it didn’t look appealing to go there, but simply to enjoy the view. It took me some time to have the right shot, as we walked quite a number of times this way during the day, which started with a lot of clouds, then bightened up towards lunchtime into a stifling heat. Didn’t I mention the heat before about my Miami trip ?

Sure I did.

Then one area was dedicated to recreating the original mangrove lanscape – to be true, it looked very idyllic and many tortugas swam in a transparent hot river type of meander looking closed pen. Again, very scenic.

Then two other birds ventured themselves by the restaurant tables. I couldn’t resist publishing this picture now as my kids are watching the rebels of the forest on telly. Whatever pregnant the impact we have on the environment is, we will always let the wild come in, even if the window is very narrow and the animals have to adapt !

Told you I would try and show you the botanic side of the Miami Sequarium. It’s not much, but there it is !

Aug 30, 2012

miami beach botanical garden

North of the city, after a nice hot bike ride through the not too busy streets away from the business district and Ocean drive, we discovered the Miami Beach Botanical Garden. It has short opening hours – it shuts at 5pm ! but it’s worth going there on time, as it reveals many cultural aspects.







The main one is Big Foot, the feature that can be seen even from the street when the gates are shut. It is an imposing statue, whose meaning is revealed in the house dedicated to art classes.






































I really liked the building, the sculpture of a flamingo and the planting on and around it. It gave a feeling of refinement that was echoing the rest of the garden.




















Water was present everywhere, and I especially liked this fountain and the impression of volume given by the use of  heavy natural stone. It was in tune with the character Big Foot, the giant flamingo, and the big leaves and tall trunks of the tropical plants. Unity is truly achieved I found.

Let us finish with a view of the entrance, a path takes you through a woody area landscaped like a Japanese garden.















To be honest, apart from the red bridge and a couple of bonzai pines, I wasn’t really impressed with this part. Luckily the rest of the garden won my heart, and I would advise you not to miss the visit if you get the chance.

Note that there is not a single bar or coffee place right next to it, and it’s a real miss for this garden. I am certain it would attract more tourists if there was a place to sit and have a drink.

So we pedalled our way back towards Lexington avenue, where we were able to grab a cool drink from the starbuck cafe there.

So long, Big Foot !

Aug 20, 2012

a taste of the tropics, made in Miami

Back from my trip overseas, I’ve got some photos I’d like to share with you, dear readers.

It was a great experience to visit Miami with a keen eye for the plants. Some areas are truly beautifully planted, like the Historic Spanish district :

We had a real feel of the Mediterranean here, if it was not for the pervading humid tropic air that would enter every pore of our skin ! We walked through the lovely quiet streets in the day time, then we had fantastic meals at night in a much more animated atmosphere. Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Brazilian… make your choice, the food is excellent.


I wish I lived here !
















I especially liked the use of  large pots to mark the edge of the street – they provided privacy as well as a sense of coolness.

They were abundantly watered mornings, before lunch clients  and afternoons, before dinner clients. Of course, there was the mosquito factor to take into account, but then we were initiated to the fabulous ‘off’ spray.


The art deco district was also rich in planting : lines of palm trees of course, but also walls, roofs, dunes. The result is a softened environment, which despite the prevailing forceful heat keeps on a welcoming appeal.

dune at South Beach, Miami
















sharp contrast north of the city !

like in the movies !
















We also visited the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, the Miami Botanic Garden and we had a tour in the Everglades. And I believe I’ll manage to show you the planting side of the famous Miami Seaquarium !

So more colourful tropical posts to come, keep in touch !

Aug 19, 2012