One of my favorite childhood books is The Secret Garden. So it’s no surprise that next on the Miami Hidden Gem Series I am taking you to the Kampong, a beautiful garden that makes me feel like Mary in her whimsical world!
The Kampong is the winter residence of the famed horticulturalist Dr. David Fairchild.
Sound familiar? Fairchild introduced around 30,000 plant species and varietals into the U.S.
The gardens bearing his name, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, are a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
However, it is his home, the Kampong that is a real hidden gem!
Home Sweet Home
At his home in Florida, Fairchild created a beautiful garden that contained many of the plants that he obtained throughout his trips. In 1928 Fairchild and his wife Marian made the Kampong their permanent home from until their deaths in 1954 and 1962 respectively.
What’s important to note, the Kampong is a private gem only available to members. Visitors are welcome by appointment, which makes this spot truly tranquil and majestic.
During our visit, we were the only two people exploring the garden. Hidden Gem has been defined!
On the vast property are several buildings but the most intruiging is the The Fairchild-Sweeney House which was designed by architect Edward Clarence Dean, and constructed in 1928.
The home combines Spanish and Southeast Asian influences. A later renovation to the home incorporated more modern features and added a second floor over a portion of the home, resulting in an unusual blend of styles.It almost feels like your grandparent’s home filled with random treasures and nothing matches whatsoever.
My OCD had major issues in the home so we took the party outside to the gardens!
Walking through the property feels like an absolute dream. The gardens are neatly preserved and the sound of the various water features fills the air. No screaming kids, car horns or papi chulos. Aside from some Peacocks barking at us, the garden was serene.
My favorite area of the garden is the mangrove preserve which hosts one of the largest areas of salt-water mangrove forest in the area.
Historic Landmark + Visiting
A year after David Fairchild’s wife’s death, the land was purchased by Catherine Hauberg Sweeney, a botanist and preservationist. Sweeney maintained Fairchild’s private garden and securing its listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1984 Sweeney donated the property to the National Tropical Botanical Garden, and remained its principal sponsor until her death in 1995.
Locals and visitors can become patrons of the Kampong and enjoy private events onsite. Members can also bring their families and enjoy picnics by the water.
Reservations are required by email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Kampong directly at (305) 442-7169.
Tours are offered daily and you can inquire when you make your reservation. Also pack a picnic basket because you’ll want to sit out on the great lawn and relish the garden.
The Kampong is a real Miami treasure incorporating rich history which feels as if it has been left untouched with time. Visitors to the Kampong included Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.
Who knew that in the hustle and bustle there would be a beautiful garden tucked away to enjoy the real beauty of Miami! I could imagine Fairchild reading a book out by the water enjoying all of his treasured plants. Hopefully you can also enjoy the grarden’s beauty by paying a visit to the Kampong.
A little garden dress goes a long way in Miami. It’s important to stay cool throughout the Kampong because it is quite humid. I suggest comfy sandals for exploring and a small handbag to keep bug spray and sunblock.
Kampong Miami 4013 Douglas Rd, Miami, FL 33133