Vizcaya’s orchid program was established and is still supported through the generous bequest of David A. Klein, an orchid lover who sought peace in Vizcaya’s gardens during his final days. The David A. Klein Orchidarium, located on the north side of the Main House, was first created in 2001 in what originally was called the North Lawn.
In the 1910s James Deering had requested a landscape full of orchids in the forests surrounding the North Lawn, and to honor the wishes of both Klein and Deering, this site was selected for the Orchidarium. The first Orchidarium included a non-historic pergola with stone columns and a wooden trellis. Because of significant weathering and hurricane damage, we realized it was time to renovate the garden in 2010.
Working with landscape architects Falcon + Bueno and with the benefit of archival research, we were able to design the new garden almost exactly like the 1920s original, with a geometrically refined lawn, a hedge and paths surrounded by native plants. The paths that define the edges of the garden align with the stairs on the north side of the Main House, re-establishing the close relationship between landscape and architecture central to Vizcaya.
The new garden differs from the 1922 precedent in two important ways: The landscape architects substituted some of the original plants with specimens that are today considered more ecologically appropriate and they designed elegant stainless steel “stems” to blend into the surrounding dense foliage and gracefully display an abundance of orchids.
A very popular garden for photography, the David A. Klein Orchidarium was reopened to the public in 2011—gloriously restoring the North Lawn while accommodating an expanded horticultural function for the benefit of our visitors.
The rebuilding of this garden was made possible through the generous support of the David A. Klein Foundation, Miami-Dade County’s “Building Better Communities” General Obligation Bond, Jayne and Leonard Abess Foundation, The Batchelor Foundation, Inc., and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.