The Aubrey Watkins Simms Memorial Garden, dedicated October 8, 2006, honors the life and work of Aubrey Watkins Simms, longtime Miami educator and community leader.
Mrs. Simms, an avid gardener and community leader, was a member of the Board of Trustees at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden as well a member of the Board of Trustees at the Church of the Open Door. Mrs. Simms was a longtime educator in Miami-Dade County and served as Executive Assistant to University of Miami Presidents Henry King Stanford and Edward T. Foote.
Mrs. Simms was also involved in numerous community organizations including the NAACP, the Urban League, and the Beautification Committee of Dade County. This memorial garden is a reflection of Mrs. Simms’ deep commitment to education and to the beautification of African American communities and celebrates the lifetime achievements of a remarkable woman.
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden and the Church of the Open Door have created a unique partnership to foster learning and the exploration of tropical plants and the natural world. This unique garden fosters an environment for learning and community participation that continues to promote the exploration of tropical plants.
The Church of the Open Door located in Liberty City has a rich tradition of social activism. The gift of this garden provides the opportunity for the Church to extend their own outreach programs to include local schools and the nearby Talcocy center, which offers after school programs for local children. Future development of the garden will reflect the vision and interests of the congregation at the Church of the Open Door.
The memorial garden was created with the assistance of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Reginald Whitehead, Chair of the Horticulture Committee on the Board of Trustees at Fairchild, designed the garden. Keith Lane of Signature Landscape Contractors, Tim Anderson of Palm Hammock Orchid Estate and Ron Weeks Nursery provided plants and performed the garden installation.
Come, celebrate a legacy for the future, as The Aubrey Watkins Simms Memorial Garden will continue to develop through the vision and involvement of the congregation and their families.