DEPARTURE: Buses for all Friday tours will begin loading starting at 11:40 a.m.. Please check in at the pre-loading station located in the Mezzanine area. Do not report to the bus itself. The bus for this tour will depart promptly at 11:55 a.m.
Enjoy two historic, botanically rich gardens in the Miami area, the Kampong and Gifford Arboretum.
Named for the Malay or Javanese word for a village or cluster of houses, The Kampong’s first plantings were introduced from Indo-Malaysia by the renowned explorer/horticulturist, Dr. David Fairchild, who owned the property in the early 1900s. The seven-acre home site is beautifully landscaped and, particularly in the vicinity of the house, employs a rich diversity of plants, including palms, aroids, bromeliads and ferns, as well as a lovely pond that features water lily and lotus plants. The striking stone archway where one enters the house compound provides views of the boat basin and Biscayne Bay to the east. Landscaped paths then lead down both sides of the basin to outstanding, panoramic views of Biscayne Bay and Key Biscayne.
Dr. David Fairchild introduced many plants that are now widely used and enjoyed in our country. Although he was interested in all plants with utilitarian or aesthetic value, his first love was tropical fruit and most of the Kampong's original collection consisted of superior cultivars of mango, litchi and avocado, as well as many other delicious, but lesser-known, tropical fruits. Most of those trees survive today, but the collection has also been expanded in recent years to include a very good collection of tropical flowering trees. One of the tour highlights will be viewing the Royal Poinciana tree that was planted by Dr. Fairchild's wife, Miriam, in 1917. Considered by many to be the world's most spectacular flowering tree, this is the oldest, documented Poinciana, and it still blooms regularly at the beginning of each summer even though the tree was almost destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Participants will also have the opportunity to view a rare, yellow-flowering Poinciana.
Started in 1947, the Gifford Arboretum was named in honor of John C. Gifford, who was the first American to earn an advanced degree in Forestry and a professor at the University of Miami. Containing plants from every continent except Antarctica, the Arboretum's purpose has always been to maintain a botanically diverse collection for education and research purposes. Today its function has been expanded to include inspiring interest in tropical plants and a greater appreciation of their importance. A new catalog and plot maps have recently been created for its fourteen exhibit areas, and new signage that includes QR codes has moved the Arboretum to the forefront in disseminating interpretive information. Besides being a collection of great botanical diversity, the Arboretum also contains trees of ethnobotanical interest as well as specimens constituting some of the most outstanding tropical fruits and flowers of the world.