Holding her deep lavender ball gown by the sides, Bryanna, 15, glided in and out of Vizcaya's Secret Garden as photographer
"When I was little, I had always wanted to take pictures in the Secret Garden," Bryanna said. "It brought back a lot of good memories."
Recently, the Secret Garden went through a meticulous, three-week,
"The focus was to retain the historic pattern and restore the original grade in earnest," said
Weathering and heavy foot traffic also caused the soft limestone pavers to sink and break.
In 2013, industrialist
Originally known as the Orchid Garden, the two-story, 3,400-square-foot section of the garden, created in 1917, was inspired after
When the orchids didn't grow, garlic vines took over, crawling up the rustic wood trellises and covering two cypress doors and an iron framework attached to the top of the building.
As the vines overtook the building, house guests on the terrace could not see anyone below them, and those on the ground floor could not see anyone above.
"You could be anywhere in this garden and you would feel like you were by yourself," said
The recent restoration gave Simpkins a chance to do something unusual with the Secret Garden's agricultural space.
"We took the opportunity to bring in a lot of critically endangered pine rockland species," said Simpkins, who worked with
Scattered around the landscape are plants like the Pineland Heliotrope, Yellow Geiger and "Lignum Vitae" -- Latin for "
Maintaining the impression that the house and gardens were built centuries ago was something
Almost a century after its construction in 1916, the staff at Vizcaya has worked to keep his dream alive.
"It's beautiful," Bryanna said. "I feel like if I was there when it was actually built."
If you go
More information: 305-250-9133 or vizcaya.org
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