Vizcaya Gardens, Miami

Vizcaya House and gardens stand as an oasis in Miami, away from the hustle and bustle of the city in Southern Florida. The name ‘Vizcaya’ traces back to a northern province in Spain which highlights the strong influence of European inspiration. This beautiful villa and estate was the winter home of the International Harvester Vice President, James Deering, and created between 1914 and 1916 to look like it had stood there for centuries.  Originally covering 180 acres including farm land Deering wanted his house to be designed in the style of the Italian Renaissance and French Baroque villas. The gardens were designed by Diego Suarez, a Colombian designer who trained in Florence and are one of the best examples in the USA of Italian garden design. They were adapted and manipulated to look Italian in design and form but planted using Miami’s subtropical plant species. Due to the garden’s location on Biscayne Bay, it is susceptible to high winds and storm surges during the hurricane season and mangroves surround the property offering protection. Inside the plants have been chosen to cope with salt spray, high humidity and wind damage. Limestone elements are used throughout the garden to create an aged feel which complements the planting design. Bromeliads spill out of stone urns and give a subtropical feel. Throughout the garden Italian influences from statuary, and water features are present that cascade and flow. In many areas plants have been clipped and trained neatly to resemble a formal presence next to the house. The orchidarium has recently been restored to its former 1917 design and showcases a beautiful display of seasonal flowering orchids. Visitors who arrived from the bay must have felt they were arriving in Venice and enjoyed taking tea in the teahouses in the warm winter subtropical climate.



Published by

Kirsty Wilson

Horticulture is my inspiration! I am the Herbaceous Supervisor at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Photographer, Award winning Garden Designer, BBC Beechgrove Garden Television Presenter & BBC Radio 4 GQT Panellist. I want to inspire people to grow plants, connect with nature and have a positive impact on the world.

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