Montgomery Botanical Center is featured in the August/September (Vol XIII) issue of SoMi Magazine. Donna Shelley gives a history of the property and highlights the current activities of the MBC scientists, researchers, and staff.
On a steamy sidewalk in Miami’s financial district, experiencing a kind of awestruck claustrophobia from towering condos and offices, it is easy to become disconnected from the garden. Yet in South Florida we are surrounded by lush gardens, both natural and manmade. From the 1.5 million acres that comprise the Everglades to the hundreds of acres defining a cache of old estates, we can be reacquainted with the garden in no time. Among those gardens fashioned by the human hand — Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Vizcaya, Deering Estate and the Barnacle — is the 120-acre site of Robert and Eleanor Montgomery’s winter home.
Located in Coral Gables, the Montgomery estate is laid out on 120-acres with stands of palms, the Montgomery home, guest houses, and greenhouses. Colonel Robert H. Montgomery (1872-1953) and Eleanor, “Nell” (Foster) Montgomery (1905-1990) were devoted collectors of palms and cycads and had one of the largest private collections in the world. In 1959, Nell established the Montgomery Foundation, Inc. in memory of her late husband. Later renamed the Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC), this nonprofit institution is dedicated to the field of plant science. The mission of MBC is to “advance science, education, conservation, and horticultural knowledge of tropical plants, emphasizing palms and cycads, and to exemplify excellent botanical garden design.”