"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden -- Part Two

In the previous post I told you that my family treated me a visit to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, Florida for Mother's Day. Today I will continue the tour of this amazing garden.

Fairchild has a "Windows to the Tropics Conservatory". The Conservatory houses tropical botanical collections that would suffer in Miami's outside environment. The enclosed areas of the conservatory maintain a temperature of at least 55°F, preventing cold damage on some of Fairchild's rarest specimens. It also maintains the optimum soil conditions for the collection.

Upon stepping into the conservatory, this is what we saw:

The art work is called "End Of The Day Tower", created by Artist Dale Chihuly.  The tower is made out of the various colored parts not used in the other chandeliers.  Thus, it was made at the end of the day, or at the end of the project.  The tower is situated in the middle of the entry in a small pond surrounded by all tropical plants.  Only I can not find a picture with a broader view. 

Among the lush green of the tropical plants, something really drew my attention.

Do you notice the red flowers close to the bottom of  that small tree?  Here is a close look.

Tapeinochilos Ananassae (Indonesian Wax Ginger )
What an exotic look of this plant!  The plant name is 'Tapeinochilos Ananassae', and it is native from Malaysia to Queensland, Australia. the trunk kinds of reminding me of the bamboo, only it is not the bamboo shoots emerging from the ground, it is the waxy and brightful colored bracts.

Wandering in the conservatory, everything is so lush and beautiful.  I am like a kid in the Disney World, excited and amazed by all the surroundings.

Look how big are these alocasia leaves!

What happened to this Anthurium? Two different colors of leaves on the same plant!

One of my favorites,  the Tree Fern!  I so wanted to have one in my own garden, but I don't think I have a suitable place for it.  It not only needs space, also needs some shade, both are lacking from my garden.

Ooh, how about this palm?   This salacca magnifica is a clustering spiny palm, which doesn't trunk.  It has very long and undivided leaves. It is said that its fruit is ediable.  If anybody has this palm grown in their garden, it surely makes a very tropical statement!
Salacca Magnifica
Here is again a display of Dale Chihuly's art work: "Copper Frog Foot Ikebana: Stem and Lapis Blue Split Bud". Chihuly grew up surrounded by flowers. His mother had a passion for gardening. This is one of his series of elongated stems and blossoms, called Ikebana, after the stylized beauty of Japanese floral arrangements.  

The plant on the left with giant rounded leaves and white flowers is lotus leaved begonia.  I found Fairchild has a nice collection of begonias as well, which is my new favorite developed recently :) 

Here are a few shots of the begonias I found in the garden, far from the complete though.

I believe this is either dragon wing or angel wing begonia...

Begonia 'Mirage'
This begonia is grown majorly for its colorful foliage.
Begonia 'Simple Simon'
 Now we moved to Epiphyte Room of the conservatory.  I found myself again immersed in the sea of ferns, bromeliads and other epiphytic plants.

This bird's nest fern with wrinkled leaves is different from what I have in my own garden.
Asplenium Nidus (Bird's Nest Fern)
Their display room features potted plants supplied by two greenhouses.  The plants are rotated through the season. 

This 40 foot long Tillandsia screen that displays plants suspended in mid-air really impressed me.

I noticed those pots in front of the Tillandsia screen only after I came home and browsed the pictures.  Are those "Nun's orchids" ?  How can I even have missed that?!   I guess with so many eye candies in one room, my two eyes are just not quick enough to digest them any more :)

Have you had enough yet?  I will save some for the last part of this tour.   Stay tuned :) 

For Part One of this garden tour, please click here.
For Part Three of this garden tour, please click here.


  1. That conservatory is outstanding. I can see why you missed seeing some of the plants until reviewing the photos. There is just so much there to see. Thanks for another beautiful trip to a place I've never been.

  2. thanks Ami, I really enjoyed the second part of the tour. I have that first plant - we call it a torch ginger here. It is often used in vases here as it lasts so long when cut. You can get it in the red and also a very pale pink.

  3. NanaK: Yes, there are just so many beuties to look at the same time. I definetly will go back to enjoy more. Maybe in cool season, when I could also see some different blooms :)

    Aricanaussie: Glad that you enjoyed the tour. Oh, you are so lucky to have the torch ginger grow in your own garden. It is really very exotic looking to me, with the flowers/bracts emerging directly from the ground! Hmmm, I think the pale pink one would be beautiful too, although the red is realling stunning.

  4. Beautiful conservatory photos. I love the tree ferns also. I don't think I have space for one either but I keep looking.

  5. I really enjoyed your garden tour, those glass pieces really stand out in the garden.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow, so many beautiful specimens! Love that ginger, but I have to say that epiphyte room is my favorite! So many things to look at. I could spend all day there.

  7. Rhonda: Thanks! Isn't it the pain that you want something badly in your garden, but you just don't have a suitable spot or space for it? That happened to me a lot!

    James: Glad that you enjoyed the tour. Those art work is amazing, especially with all the tropicals as the backdrop :)

    FG: You are so right, I can spend a whole day there! But boys are not so into the plants, so you know what that means :) Next time, I may go there with my gardening friends, so we can ooh-aah together :)

  8. Of course the epiphyte room was my favorite part of Fairchild when I went... When we were there the tillandsia curtains had just been started so its nice to see how they've developed! Your photos made it feel like I was there all over again!

  9. I've not been to Fairchild yet, but the more I see of it, the more I realize it must inch up on my to-do list! These are fantastic photos!!! Looks like you had a great time!

  10. RFG: Glad that I can make you visit the garden all over again :) I knew the epiphyte room must be your favorite! And how about all those rainforest plants?!

    Kimberly: Glad to make the Fairchild inch up on your to-do list. You will love it! BTW, like the lola on your new profile picture, you both look great! :)

  11. Your picture tour of Fairchild is really cool. It has been quite a while since I got down there but I read their plant section in the Herald every Sunday. They share some good ideas for South Florida gardeners on how they take care of plants here.

  12. Oh Ami This second part is wonderful. I wouldn't have been able to take it all in either with all there was to be seen. What a wonderful Mother's Day outing that was for you. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.


  13. Hi Ami,

    How gorgeous! Our botanical garden also has glass displays by Chihuly as well. I love the vertical plantings :-)

  14. Sanddune: Thanks! Good to know that Herald has their plant section. Got to pay attention to it :)

    FlowerLady: Glad you enjoyed. It was great pleasure to go through all over again when writing this post.

    Noelle: Oh, I love vertical planting too! As matter of fact, I was thinking it might be something I can copy to solve my small garden space issue. Of course, it would be quite difficult to copy the idea. We will see :)

  15. I have never seen that type of bright red waxed ginger before even though it is native to Malaysia. How lucky to be able to view it here. The conservatory plants are gigantic, green and lush, so very tropical.


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