My family loves to migrate to Sarasota, Florida over the winter months. I too have made this journey many times. Besides the pristine white beaches, seemingly endless new construction and island hopping to keep you occupied, one of my favorite gardens lies right in the heart of Sarasota. The Marie Selby Botanic gardens is truly a gem and is well worth a visit. Created by Marie Selby herself, the now 14 acre grounds capture her love for gardening.
Breathtaking Banyan trees dotted around the property have orchids placed cleverly among the branches to heighten the drama of the gardens. Spanish moss in the overhead canopy takes you back to a bygone era with a simple wisp of the breeze. The formal gardens and central lawn somehow connect seamlessly to the surrounding naturalized clumps of Mangrove trees and packs of seagulls resting in the adjacent beaches.
The glass conservatories are home to an array of unusual orchid species. With a focus on epiphytic plants, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has a wealth of articles and research dedicated to orchids, bromeliads and a host of tropical plants. Their website is an excellent resource for tropical plant care and culture. Visit them here: http://www.selby.org
Marie Selby was tied to the oil industry through her father as well as her husband. The successful Selby Oil and Gas Company merged with the Texas Company halfway through the 20th century to form what we now know as Texaco. Marie and her husband, William, were very influential residents in the Sarasota community. For a more complete history, read about them here: http://www.sarasotahistoryalive.com/people/william-g.-and-marie-selby/ . I wonder what her response would have been to the oil spill of 2010!