When planning our trip to Florida the one place I wanted to see more than any other was Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. While visiting their website to get particulars, I noticed they were offering free admission on the first Wednesday of each month this summer, including July 4th, so there was no doubt as to where I would spend my Independence Day. If you want to know more about Fairchild, I suggest you visit their website where their story is certainly told better. However, I would just like to say that if you ever find yourself in the vicinity of Miami, you must go, this is more than a pretty garden, it is a world class facility.
Let's descend the steps at the visitor's center and enter the garden.
Being a tree person, I was immediately impressed with rainbow eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta). It has bark that can make men weep.
There were many Ficus in the garden. This Ficus racemosa was part of an art installation from Yoko Ono, one of her Wish Trees. We also saw one a couple of years ago at MOMA in New York. It is hard to tell from the photo, but the diameter of this trunk was easily 10'.
This ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) is not technically a palm, and may not even be a tree, but it was spectacular.
I could not find out what tree this was, but I love the womanly trunk flare.
* (Thanks to Barry for the subsequent ID of Pachira aquatica.)
Care to climb the silk floss tree (Ceiba speciosa)?
As one would expect, Fairchild has a fantastic palm collection, and if I was British I'd say it left me gobsmacked. Since I am not a Brit, and it was July 4th, here is a photo appropriate for the day.
Copernicia macroglossa, pettycoat palm
These are Bailey palms from Cuba (Copernica baileyana). They looked to be made of concrete, and I could imagine planting of line of them to resemble a colonnade.
I didn't get the name of these palms, but liked how they were underplanted with Philodendron.
The trees pictured below are Haitian oil palms (Attalea crassispatha). In the ecological nightmare that is Haiti they are extinct, and these 15 are the last ones left in the world.
We will end with yet another shot of the plant geek and his Bismarckii nobilis.
We will continue our Fairchild tour in the next post with a bit more color.