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Ramblin' Plant Man

Enjoy the pleasures of Fairchild

SAT 11/20

Sixty-four years ago, Col. Robert H. Montgomery was stressed. He needed a truck for his botanical gardens, pronto. His wife, Nell Jennings, came up with an ingenious solution. She started the Ramble-a-Garden, a festival that allowed Miami plant lovers to explore their tropical oasis. Colonel Montgomery was able to buy the truck and then some, and today, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is everything Montgomery and his friend, legendary horticulturalist David Fairchild, could have envisioned. The ramble has blossomed into a much-anticipated annual event, and this year promises a wonderful combination of old-time traditions and new pleasures. Browse rare books and antiques. Sample fresh fruit breads, cakes, jellies, and salsas at the farmer's market before checking out the antique Waterpoorter Dutch Street Organ. Don't worry -- if you buy too much, plant valets are on hand to help you carry your floral bounty home. Ramble on this morning at 9:00, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's north entrance, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables. Admission ranges from $5 to $10. Call 305-667-1651. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik


An Herbal Retreat

SAT 11/20

Picture yourself in an urbanite's nightmare: alone in the middle of the forest with a throbbing headache, thousands of mosquito bites, and a growling stomach. You stumble into a thick grove of herbs, some of which just might help your condition. Or give you a horrible rash. Relax. The Greynolds Park campfire program is here to educate city slickers. Take a hike and learn about medicinal plants, then paddle a canoe to the campgrounds for stories, craft making, and marshmallow roasting around the fire. Meet at the Boathouse at Greynolds Park, 17530 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach. Call 305-948-2891 to reserve. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik

Owl Talk

THU 11/18

Some owls utter a soft warble when they're in love. When telling intruders to back off, those same raptors sound off with a horse-like whinny. That and other info offered during the Owl Walk programs at Miami-Dade Parks simply whets the appetite for the highlight -- walking into the woods at night to listen and look for owls and other nocturnal nifties. Parks naturalist Roger Hammer plays recorded owl sounds to inspire a response from the wild things watching from the trees. Generally, they are screech owls, a plentiful urban bird which Hammer says is quite cute and fluffy. He'll also point out frogs, insects, raccoons, possums, or whichever critters are out and about. The walks are at 7:00 p.m. at Camp Owaissa Bauer, 17001 SW 264th St., Homestead. Admission is $5. Flashlights are suggested and registration is required. Call 305-242-7688. -- Patti Roth


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