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Hidden Gardens of Redland

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Posted: Saturday, April 6, 2019 12:00 pm | Updated: 11:04 am, Mon Apr 8, 2019.

“Incredible, beautiful, lovely,” were the often repeated descriptions of the Redland gardens featured Saturday, March 30, 2019 on the second annual tour which is the major fund-raising event for the South Dade Garden Club’s

scholarship program. “Last year was successful and this year will be better,” said Lucy Reese, chair of the committee. “We work to find a mix of homes to host the tour. People can enjoy large or small gardens and be inspired with ideas for their own.”

Restoring native plants and habitat is a goal for some gardeners

Most people who meander through Redland at least occasionally wonder what lies behind the partially visible, thick foliage and exotic blossoms. The correctly named, “The Redland Private Garden Tour”, has become an anticipated annual event. While places such as the well-known Schnebly’s Redland Winery or RF Orchids are available for public viewing, gardens for this tour belong to private homes whose owners open them for only a few hours each year in support of the South Dade Garden Club. Of more than 150 attendees, quite a few were asking about plans for the 2020 tour.

“Garden lovers are the nicest people,” said one volunteer at the entrance to a series of paths leading to a Koi pond, outdoor and indoor pools, and hundreds of palms and other plants.

One beautifully landscaped garden featured a large pool.
South Dade Garden Club

The number of gardens on tour each year ranges from five to seven. Some are professionally landscaped with fountains and abundant plantings blending native items and species from as far away as Madagascar. In one garden, a more rustic approach was the post-Hurricane Andrew goal to, “restore the natural Dade County slash pine forest and remove the exotic invaders.” Quail berry, pineland lantana, and West Indian lilac were among the vegetation not found in many gardens. Not surprisingly, butterflies and birds were often seen as attendees made their way through the various stops.

The tour opened at the Fruit and Spice Park with the option to visit it first or last with a special tram tour closing out the afternoon. A booklet with a map and details of the gardens was provided as well as cold bottles of water and offers of apples and oranges. It was a self-guided tour. Although quite a bit of walking was involved, there was no hurry and a list of recommended restaurants was available for those not familiar with the area.

The South Dade Garden Club, established in 1924, is the oldest in South Florida. They continue the tradition of sharing love and appreciation for the abundant tropical species of South Florida, and the spirit of camaraderie among its members. Like a number of local non-profits organizations, they take pride in their scholarship program. The Mary Heinlein Scholarship, a merit scholarship, is open to graduating students who will be taking classes in horticultural, agricultural, or environmental studies.  Current applications are being reviewed for an award later in April.

The Garden Club, also a member of Homestead Center for the Arts, meets the second Thursday of each month, 7:00 p.m. at the Fruit & Spice Park. They welcome novice and experienced gardeners as well as those who simply love the beauty a garden brings. In addition to lectures by leading horticulturists, one of the special activities they held this year was to make jellies from different fruits and spices found in the park. To learn more, http://www.southdadegardenclub.com

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