Your search for "fairchild" resulted in 19 hits.

Wednesday March 12, 2008

First Chihuly. Now Botero and Lichtenstein. I hope Fairchild gets the obvious stuff out of it’s system asap and gets down to some interesting and non-obvious artists.


Friday May 26, 2006

Fairchild (reprise)


I happened to be back down in Fairchild again this week. The Chihuly made a little more of an impression this time, but Audrey III stole the show. Audrey is a Amorphophallus titanum, a bizarre flowering plant of which most lives underground. Once a year (at the most, sometimes once a decade), it produces a gigantic flower, which grows practically overnight and lasts just a few days (it then produces a single gigantic leaf). You can see that when we were there, the flower was already wilting, and the “corpse” smell was gone. It’s fun, because these plants are obviously extremely rare, and Fairchild has one of the really spectacular ones: it grew to over 7 feet: the same height as Shaq!

Here is a picture of it in full bloom, taken on May 21 (my picture is from the 23rd), and Here is a link to Fairchild’s Audry blog. Oh, and here is a link to my flickr set from the visit, and though it’s mostly pictures of signs, I do have a nice one of a molting lizard.

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Monday April 14, 2008

Lichtenstein at Fairchild

Lichtenstein at Farichild

My third trip to Fairchild was the most interesting yet, thanks in part to unwillingly (and groaningly) submitting to the tram tour. The garden has over 500 volunteers, and among other things they lead all these tours, which are — surprise — extremely interesting and helpful in making sense of what might otherwise seems a somewhat sprawling estate. Fairchild has four distinct plant habitats and … well, I’m not going to regurgitate everything, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Lichtenstein at Farichild

The public attraction aspect is almost secondary to Fairchild’s scientific function. A premiere collection of tropical wildlife, every plant on the property is a scientific specimen, and many are tagged for reference. Botanists come from all over the world to study this stuff.

Lichtenstein at Farichild

In the arid area, almost every different plant is a different species. Set atop a small hill, the area was excavated and filled with fast-draining sandy soil to simulate a desert environment.

Lichtenstein at Farichild

So, I guess we should talk about the Lichtenstein. There are only about 10 sculptures, but they’re pretty hard to miss of course. At their best (for example, this lamp light sculpture) they’re pretty darned good.

Lichtenstein at Farichild

Also the house sculpture, charming enough in a photo, but employing a perspective gimmick that makes it look like it’s moving as you walk past it. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of tired “brushstroke” pieces to be had, but the best of it was pretty good.

Lichtenstein at Farichild

Also, remnants of Chihuly abound. Here a lizard has gotten pretty comfortable with the red tubes. I sort of wish they’d get rid of the glass, because it’s pretty distracting. In the tropical rainforest all people were photographing were the sodding glass balls in the stream. (Tour tidbit: since Miami doesn’t get nearly as much rain as a rainforest needs, the area has a treetop-level sprinkler system — every layer of the rainforest needs water, not just the ground.)

Lichtenstein at Farichild

Orchid fever in the enclosed conservatory building. I took the orchid pictures, but Susan took most of the rest of them, because like a knucklehead I left my camera battery at home. More orchid pictures at flickr: 1, 2, 3. Oh, one last thing. Fairchild has a butterfly garden now. Did you know that if you plant the right plants, butterflies will just start hanging out? Well, they planted lots and lots of them in one little area and viola — a year-round swarm of butterflies. Good stuff.

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Sunday December 11, 2005

Chihuly at Fairchild

Chihuly at Fairchild tropical gardens

Just what we needed – the natural beauty of South Floridia, “improved,” by a grotesque and cartoonish caricature of same, coutesy of Dale Chiuly. The glass-blowing fella has graced our natural scenery with several thousand pieces, melded into our own habitat. Or has he? It would seem that the same set of pieces also fit pretty well into Atlanta’s gardens, as well as numerous others.

Yes, yes – it’s beautiful. The most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. It’s fucking uncanny. Wanna see more pictures? (We dropped in this weekend, and paid the $20 admission (in retrospect, it seemed like it’d have been easy to sneak in).) You can’t see mine – check out Marc’s.

I should say that I went in really wanting to like this, but at every step I was underwhelmed by the glass. In fact, my enjoyment of the “real” stuff was hampered by the expectation of something “more” from the glass. The real problem turns out to be an artistic one – art is best viewed when it is seen in contrast to its surroundings: paintings look good in a white-box gallery, and Chihuly sculptures look good in urban settings, in museums, in Jerusalem . . . anywhere but in nature.

Whatever. Never been to Farichilld before? Give it six months or so to recover from our unnaturally rough hurricane season (even the Chihuli stuff will be up untill mid-2006), and drop by for sure; just don’t expect some blown glass to enhance your enjoyment of our natural plant life.

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Monday April 16, 2007

These glass reeds are supposedly worth tens of thousands of dollars each. A bit of pre-insurance claim hyperbole, perhaps?


Tuesday October 16, 2012

Butterfly garden

butterfly garden

Hey everybody, check out my butterfly garden. Actually, it looks a little sad right now. It’d been planted for awhile and was getting overgrown, so I replanted everything Sunday to give it more space. Consider this a “before” picture.

butterfly garden

That’s not to say there aren’t some flowers happening. How this happened is that Hillary and I were visiting Fairchild like a year ago and happened into conversation with a very knowledgeable volunteer in the butterfly garden. Before you know it I was jotting down names of flowers on my phone (Milkweed, Corkeystone Passion Vine, Border Weed, Tropical Sage, Egyptian Star Clusters, Scorpion’s Tail). He recommended checking out Richard Lyons Nursery”:, which sure enough is an amazing place.

butterfly garden

The guy at Richard Lyons recommended one or two more plants, and these five are the ones we came home with. Milkweed and Passion Vine are for sure in the mix, but I don’t remember what the other ones are. No matter, really, because we have seen exactly ONE butterfly this whole time — this weekend (maybe it’s the start of an influx, tho I doubt it; we’re near the bay, and I doubt butterflies like the salt air?).

butterfly garden

This is the Passion Vine. But in any case, I’ll keep y’all updated. Now that I’ve got this post, it should be easy to drop in more photos as the everything fills in.

butterfly garden

Hey, lizard, this trellis is not for you! This PDF is a pretty great resource on planting a butterfly garden in Florida. It’s complicated! For best results, you’re supposed to take into account plants that are common within a quarter mile of you, among a grid of other factors. I sprawling Miami I should think this amounts to doing trial and error with lots of the species on the list.

butterfly garden

The idea though, is that you need a combination of plants — some that attract butterfly larva, and flowering plants that the adults feed on. Then, different species of butterflies like different plants (some like rotting fruit and manure). The Miami Blue Chapter of the National Butterfly association is an excellent resource. I am also to point out that there is a thing called Butterfly World, and their website at least is a rare and beautiful flower.

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Friday June 15, 2012

Pinecrest Gardens

pinecrest gardens winding path

I don’t have a whole lot of interest in visiting the not-so-new Parrot Jungle on Watson Island. I see where it makes perfect sense for them to be close to the urban center, and I even see the need for attractions like that in places like that. But there’s an old-Florida charm to the original location that I think I’d miss too much. But it turns out that the original location is still open, boringly renamed Pinecrest Gardens.

See full article and 22 photos


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Tuesday July 11, 2006



Mkh doesn’t like the Mango Festival, and I can’t say I blame him (I’ve been to Fairchild twice recently, and I’m over it). The fruit itself, tho? Sign me up.

Uniquely tropical, mangoes come in a multitude of varieties; a Bahamian woman I used to know told me about varieties of mangoes that are completely different from the fruit we think of; some that are small and soft, some that are green even when ripe, and a multitude of flavors (the wikipedia article lists 35 species). There’s the unbelievably fleshy texture. The intoxicating smell. The fact that the skin is poisonous. Mangoes are amazing, and they elicit a different type of affection then most other fruit. Most supermarkets only seem to sell the one “regular” variety, so maybe I should have checked out the mango festival, after all.

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Thursday August 11, 2005

Swap Shop Owner Fucks Over Circus

Preston Henn, the owner of the Swap Shop, stopped paying the folks who operated his circus three weeks ago. Today he threw them out, and apparently has no intention to have them back or pay what he owes them. By various accounts it’s because he’s crazy, or because they don’t have insurance. Animal abuse, apparently, is not the reason.

Frankly, we’ve never been able to fully process how Broward is able to have a free daily circus, so to have it be gone is odd, but hardly disturbing. Still, the loss of one more weird South Florida thing is something to mourn. Maybe the Circus will come to Miami. Maybe to Fairchild or something. Or maybe the Seaquarium—wouldn’t that be fitting somehow? All your alleged animal mistreatment under one roof?

Update: Miami News Blog links to this interesting story about Preston Henn in a very old issue of New Times.

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Friday August 10, 2012

Shakespearean weekend





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Friday March 31, 2006

Orchid Weekend

Hey: Also, I’m working on something about the UM Janitor strike. Anyone have any thoughts, e-mail me; think of it like comments in reverse. In particular, I want to get my hands on something called “Why the Protest Continues: It’s All About Democracy.”

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Friday February 29, 2008

Quilt Weekend

quilt weekend

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Friday August 3, 2012

Drums and beats weekend

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