Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Miami Beach Botanical Garden

Wth the completion of a $1.2 Million landscape renovation by acclaimed South Florida landscape architect Raymond Jungles, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden reopened this month with a dynamic season schedule of arts, culture and special events. Large live oak and silk floss trees frame a welcoming new entrance plaza on Convention Center Drive at 19th Street and creates a sense of progression into the 2.6 acre urban greenspace. Pathways gracefully curve around islands of trees and planting beds that showcase the Garden’s extensive collection of native species, flowering trees, palms, orchids and bromeliads. Executive Director Laura Jamieson says that among the most prominent aspects of the redesigned landscape are water features that include a wetland with red mangroves, a large water garden with floating lily pads and a cascading waterfall.

“Water is a vital element of my gardens, particularly in a botanical garden, where water plants aid in increased botanical diversity while creating open space,” says architect Raymond Jungles. “The new water garden at Miami Beach Botanical Garden brings the sky into the garden, animates the space, reflects the landscape, and cools the areas directly around the buildings. Water magnifies the Garden’s sense of scale.” The venue has been designed specifically for weddings, social and corporate events with expanded lawn areas, terraces and event plazas. Jungles says that what he values most in a public garden is space -- gathering space, space for contemplation, intimate space, public space, durability, and timelessness. “One of our primary goals was to activate and use every available part of the 2.6 acre Botanical Garden site,” he says, “to make it easy and enticing to circulate around the entire space.” The Garden remains free and open to the public daily from 9AM to 5PM. Originally opened as a park by the City of Miami Beach in 1962, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden has been operated by the Miami Beach Garden Conservancy since
1997. The recent renovation was funded by the City of Miami Beach General Obligation Bonds program and administered by the City’s Capital Improvements Project. The construction contract was awarded to Harbour Construction of Miami with Raymond Jungles, Inc. as landscape architect.

Contributing to the excitement of reopening the Miami Beach Botanical Garden is an active season program that includes the citywide Sleepless Night on November 5, the Great Table on the Great Lawn al fresco moonlight dinner on November 10 and Art Basel’s Garden CafĂ© from December 1 to 4. In 2012 Miami Beach Botanical Garden will present Taste of the Garden on January 26, the South Florida Wine and Food Festival’s Farm to Table Brunch on February 25 and the 11th annual Tour of Miami Beach Residential Gardens on March 17.  

Along with environmental education programs, lectures and workshops, the Garden presents year-round programming of music, dance, theatre and art classes for children. To learn about volunteer opportunities, garden event rentals and program updates, visit www.mbgarden.org

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