Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

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Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is located in Florida
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Type Private,[1] open to the public for a fee[2]
Location Coral Gables, (Miami-Dade County), Florida, United States
Coordinates 25°40′43″N 80°16′25″W / 25.678662°N 80.273742°W / 25.678662; -80.273742Coordinates: 25°40′43″N 80°16′25″W / 25.678662°N 80.273742°W / 25.678662; -80.273742
Area 83 acres (34 ha)
Created 1938 (1938)[3]
Status Open year round
Website Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is a 83-acre (34 ha) botanic garden, with extensive collections of rare tropical plants including palms, cycads, flowering trees and vines. It is located in metropolitan Miami, just south of Coral Gables, Florida, United States, surrounded at the south and west by Matheson Hammock Park.

Fairchild opened to the public in 1938.[4]

With 45,000 members and over 1,200 volunteers, Fairchild plays many roles, including museum, laboratory, learning center and conservation research facility, but its main role is preserving biodiversity, which the garden’s scientists, staff and volunteers all contribute to on a daily basis. In 2012, Fairchild also became the home of the American Orchid Society.[4]


The garden was established in 1936 by Robert H. Montgomery (1872–1953), an accountant, attorney, and businessman with a passion for plant-collecting.[5] The garden opened to the public in 1938.[6] It was named after his good friend David Fairchild (1869–1954), one of the great plant explorers. Dr. Fairchild's extensive travels brought many important plants to the United States, including mangos, alfalfa, nectarines, dates, horseradish, bamboos and flowering cherries. David Fairchild retired to Miami in 1935, but many plants still growing in the Garden were collected and planted by Dr. Fairchild, including a giant African baobab tree. With the guidance of an influential circle of friends, Montgomery pursued the dream of creating a botanical garden in Miami. He purchased the site, named it after Dr. Fairchild, and later deeded it in large part to Miami-Dade County.[7]

The garden was designed by landscape architect William Lyman Phillips, member of the Frederick Law Olmsted partnership,[8] and a leading landscape designer in South Florida during the 1930s. The first 15 years saw the construction of its primary buildings and landscape features, including the Montgomery Palmetum, Bailey Palm Glade, Allee and Overlook, Vine Pergola, Amphitheatre, Gate House, Montgomery Library and Museum, 14 lakes, stone terracing walls, irrigation systems, Moos Sunken Garden, and Nell Montgomery Garden House auditorium. Later buildings included the Davis House (1953), Hawkes Laboratory (1960), Robbins Plant Science Building (1967), Rare Plant House (1968), Corbin Education Building (1972), Jean duPont Shehan Visitor Center (2002) and various additions over the years. A groundbreaking ceremony occurred in 2010 for significant new complex of buildings including the Paul and Swanee DiMare Science Village, Dr. Jane Hsaio Tropical Research Laboratories, Clinton Family Conservatory and Burns Building. The new Science Village complex was opened December 2012 and was designed by Miami architect Max Strang.

Research and conservation[edit]

Fairchild scientists are conserving tropical plants, hoping to avoid the extinction of species and their habitats. These activities are measured by the delivery of quantifiable conservation benefits to Fairchild’s priority geographic investment regions (South Florida, Caribbean, oceanic islands, tropical Africa, and Madagascar) and plant groups (palms, cycads, tropical fruit and tropical trees).[9]

These have been selected because of conservation need, institutional expertise and history. Main activities include field exploration of important plant areas, conservation assessments, species recovery and direct support to in-situ conservation.

With active partnerships with area colleges (including Florida International University, University of Miami, Miami Dade College, and University of Florida) Fairchild trains graduate and postdoctoral students.


Since 2003 Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has sponsored a series of exhibits by artists, including Patricia Van Dalen, Yayoi Kusama, Dale Chihuly, Fernando Botero, Cameron Gainer, Roy Lichtenstein, Franz West, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Michele Oka Doner, Mark Dion, Joshua Levine, as well as Claude and Francois-Xavier Lalanne.[10]

New artists exhibit at Fairchild starting each December. Currently featured exhibits throughout the garden include the art of Dale Chihuly, Daisy Youngblood, Freda Tschumy and Sicis.

Throughout the year the garden hosts a series of seasonal weekend festivals ranging from the International Chocolate Festival, the International Mango Festival, the Butterfly Festival, the Bird Festival, the Orchid Festival, the Ramble, the Food and Garden Festival and the Edible Garden Festival.[11] Other activities include concerts, plant society meetings and a wide variety of classes.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Fairchild". Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Hours and Admission". Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Retrieved November 25, 2012. 
  3. ^ Zuckerman 1988. p. 33
  4. ^ a b http://www.fairchildgarden.org/aboutfairchild/
  5. ^ Wait 1948. p. 8.
  6. ^ "About Fairchild". fairchildgarden.org. Retrieved 31 August 2010. 
  7. ^ Zuckerman 1988. Pp. 15-33.
  8. ^ Jackson 1997. p. 16.
  9. ^ http://www.fairchildgarden.org/centerfortropicalplantconservation/
  10. ^ http://www.fairchildgarden.org/visitingfairchild/art-at-fairchild/
  11. ^ http://www.fairchildgarden.org/events/
  12. ^ "Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden". Fairchildgarden.org. Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  • Jackson, Faith Reyher. Pioneer of Tropical Landscape Architecture: William Lyman Phillips in Florida. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1997.
  • Pinkas, Dr. Lilly. Fairchild Tropical Garden. Miami, FL: Hallmark Press, 1996. ISBN 0-9652810-0-0
  • Wait, Lucita H. Fairchild Tropical Garden; the First Ten Years. New York: the Ronald Press, 1948.
  • Zuckerman, Bertram. The Dream Lives On: A History of the Fairchild Tropical Garden, 1938-1988. Miami, FL:Fairchild Tropical Garden, 1988 ISBN 0-916224-85-6

External links[edit]