Sunday, 16 February 2014

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Florida

For several years during the month of March we would fly to Florida and meet up with my brother and his wife at a holiday cottage on Anna Maria Island, Florida. Whilst there we visited the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens which are located in the grounds of the former home of Marie and William Selby of Texaco Oil Company. Marie died in 1971 and left instructions that the property be given to the community as a botanical garden for the enjoyment of the general public. Although millionaires, the Selby's lived a very simple life out of the spotlight. Their modest home within the gardens is now a gift and bookshop. The garden is a respected centre for research and education as well as showcasing flowers and plants for the visitor.
Stained glass windows featured within one of the summer houses in the garden
At the far edge of the garden is Christy Payne House a graceful example of Southern Colonial architecture which hosts botanical art exhibitions. Visitors to the garden often assume that this was the home of the Selby's, but it was in fact the retirement home of Christy Payne whose father was Calvin M. Payne, one of the original group that aided John D. Rockefeller Sr. in building his giant business, Standard Oil of New Jersey. The property was bought by the Selby Trust in 1973 and incorporated into the garden.
The gardens maintain the most diverse collection of bromeliads in the world, and feature over 20,000 plants including 6,000 orchids. There are over 20 habitats with banyans, bamboo groves, southern live oaks, palms, mangroves, succulents, wildflowers, cycads, and a Koi pond all of which are situated on a spectacular site bordering Sarasota Bay.
 Koi pond
Banyan trees
Bamboo grove
Pot full of bromeliads and spanish moss
Orchids and pitcher plants in the Tropical House
Southern Live Oak tree (Quercus virginiana) covered in stag horn ferns, air plants, spanish moss and orchids.
Large statuesque palm
Papaya fruit
Air plants which very cleverly gather moisture and nutrients from the air
The outer edges of the garden showing the views across Sarasota Bay to the Ringling Causeway Bridge.

78 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary, What a perfect place to establish a botanical garden and art center. Places like this remind us of the astounding variety to be found in nature, and indirectly what a shame it is to be losing so much of these plants natural habitats.

    A bit of Ohio history--Rockefeller started Standard Oil in Cleveland, and the Paynes, as well as famous Rockefeller partners Flagler, Andrews, and Harkness, were all Cleveland families. When the original Standard Oil was broken up by the trustbusters, Standard Oil of New Jersey became one of the new splinter companies.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - many of the endangered plants grown within the garden are then reintroduced to their original habitat in the same way as endangered animals in zoos.
      Thank you for the extra information re Rockefeller - it appears that several millionaires settled in the Sarasota area - I think the bridge is named after Ringling, the Circus millionaire?

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    2. Apparently they made their money where it was cold, then retired to where it was warm!

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    3. A wise and sensible choice.

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  2. Dear Rosemary,
    enjoy your visit! It is always so exciting to visit Botanical gardens all over the world.
    Now I learned by you that it is "Spanish moss" which hangs here in our Botanical garden too.
    And such a variety of orchids - wonderful!

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    1. Dear Britta - the Spanish moss is an extraordinary plant. Although to our eyes it resembles lichens or moss it is not biologically related to either of them. It is an angiosperm and belongs to the family of bromeliads. It propagates both by seed and vegetatively when fragments are blown on the wind. It then sticks to the branches of trees or is carried by birds as a nesting material.

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  3. A verry beautiful post...I like verry much the Koi pond.
    verry nice gardens.
    I have seen that my translate bar is gone, Today I try too fix it.
    Sorry....but youre understand a little bit the dutch language....you are right...I told about the watermark.
    Have a nice Sunday Rosemary.

    Greetings,
    Inge, my choice

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    1. My blogger translate bar disappeared too but fortunately it came back.
      I don't really know any Dutch all but I did remember that you wanted to be able to watermark your photo, and noticed that you had managed it.
      These things seem quite complicated until you give them a try and then you realise it is easier than you imagined.

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  4. Exta-ordinary beautiful photos of this garden in Florida. The window glasses are wonderful but also the bromiliads and spanish moss in the pot so exotic and not to forget the variety of orchids. Again such an interesting blog post.

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    1. Dear Janneke - I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing these resurrected photos. I enjoyed writing the post as it took me back to the visit, and it was lovely to re-remember the garden.

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  5. They must have loved their garden, it's lovely.
    Many of those plants grow here, those that don't grow further up north.

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    1. There are many exotic plants in the garden that can only be grown here in hot houses - it is lovely to see so many varieties growing alongside one another.

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  6. What a stunning place - and such beautiful photos of beautiful plants. There is something fascinating about exotic plants... It's not quite the same but I am always delighted to see the Mediterranean plants that grow freely around our home here. Nothing in bloom yet though!
    Axxx

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    1. The blooms will be out again soon Annie - it is strange to think of orchids growing in the wild in many regions of the world when we always tend to associate them with houseplants.

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  7. Dear Rosemary, Beautiful photographs as always. Isn't it wonderful that so many of the wealthy have left such a legacy that all of us can enjoy for years to come. Not only that but Exxon-Mobil, originally Standard Oil Company, then Humble, then Exxon, now Exxon- Mobil is a Public Company where ordinary people can own stock and receive their generous dividends.

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    1. Dear Gina - these are some old photos that I took three years ago with my old camera. I was surprised that they turned out as good as they are.
      I wonder whether people are quite so benevolent these days? I would like to think that they still are.
      Hope you too own some stocks in the Exxon-Mobil company and that you are receiving their generous dividends!!!

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    2. Dear Rosemary, I do. I started buying Exxon when they were still Humble Oil. They used to be one of my clients. An old oilman friend of mine used to say when Exxon goes to ---- so will the country. So, I do not believe in diversifying.

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    3. Dear Gina - I suspected that you were talking from a very knowledgeable point of view.

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  8. Wow! Huge papayas and trees. Beautiful orchids and glass paintings. Just stunning!

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    1. Thanks Satu - pleased that you enjoyed seeing this Floridian garden - it is always interesting to see how gardens are in different parts of the world.

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  9. What a wonderfully uplifting post.
    Jean x

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    1. Thanks Jean - it gave me an uplift just revisiting my old photos and now I seem to have bought the brilliant sunshine out here too.

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  10. Oh, I'd love to be there right now!!! Looks like paradise - so lush and colorful. The Banyan trees have such swampy looking roots. BTW, doesn't Mark Ruffner live in that area? You all should meet up.

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    1. Dear Loi - you are spot on - I think that Mark probably lives about 40 miles away, but he can correct me if I am wrong. We have not been back to the area since I began blogging. Paradise is a good word for the gardens.

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  11. Abundance of flowers and color! What else can one ask for? Thank you for sharing!

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    1. It helps to lift the spirits during these early spring days - thanks for your comment and visit Evi.

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  12. I've been feasting my eyes on your stunning photos of beautiful exotic plants, the stylish setting and other details such as the coloured glass. Marie Selby was a generous benefactor to leave this legacy for research and general enjoyment. An uplifting post.

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    1. Dear Linda - others have mentioned how uplifting this post is - I think that it is probably the result of so many grey and rainy grey days we have been experiencing over the winter. Glad you enjoyed seeing the exotic plants and flowers from the Marie Selby garden, but today, however, is beautiful. Hope it is for you too.

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  13. Wow! I don't think you could fit any more flowers into one post!! Lovely to see all the warmth and growth again.

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    1. I didn't realise at the time that I had taken quite so many photos - a collage of flowers seemed to be the best solution.

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  14. Dear Rosemary,

    You must have surely been in your element when you visited the Selby Gardens. Your montage of colorful flowers is beautiful, but I have to admit that my favorite photo is the one of the papaya fruit. It seems that palms and papayas — in certain lights and at certain times of day — produce the richest of greens.

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    1. Hello Mark - I was intrigued with the Southern Live Oak tree covered in ferns, orchids and mosses etc. We don't have anything growing like that here. The nearest we get to parasitic plants on trees is mistletoe.

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    2. Yes, it's quite dramatic to see Stag Ferns on Live Oaks, and many people here fix them onto the trees.

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    3. It is interesting that Staghorn ferns grow naturally on trees in the wild - I know that they grow very high up in the trees canopy - I suspect that they must get carried there by their spores.

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  15. O wow, what a treat it must be to visit this garden. That oak tree covered in tropical plants and the papayas on the tree are both so different from what we see here. Ok, added Florida to my list of places to visit ;)
    Marian

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    1. Dear Marian - it does look exotic in comparison to what we see in our gardens at this time of year here. We were there around the middle of March so it is nearly the same period now as when we visited.

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  16. Dear Rosemary,

    What an impressive garden it is! So different from the gardens one normally visits. Will you be going to Florida this year as well?

    Have a lovely week!

    Madelief x

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    1. Dear Madelief - we will not be going this year - these days we tend to travel in Europe preferring shorter plane flights.
      I hope your week is good.

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  17. Beautiful photographs. I was particularly taken by the composition of the koi pictures. I also found the live oak covered in plants to be fascinating. Do you know if the plants arrived by human design or by nature?

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    1. I made the koi picture on Picmonkey Susan. Four photos in a collage and then rounded them off.
      I would suspect, but do not know for certain, that the plants on the live oak were put there by the garden staff by fixing them in chicken wire and moss or something similar. In their natural habitat though the orchids, ferns, and air plants attach themselves naturally to trees.

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  18. what a delightful, colourful and heart-warming walk! thanks for this tour, the stained glass windows are simply breathtaking....happy new week+good sunday eve!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Jana - the stained glass windows were very pretty and depicted the fauna and flora of Florida.

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  19. So full of colourful, lush and enchanting! The warm weather must be really good to these flora and fauna there in Florida.

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    1. Many of the flowers and plants in the garden are not native to Florida but as you mention the climate definitely seems to suit them. The garden was very lush having a jungle ambience to it.

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  20. Your stained glass pictures are perfect.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Thanks Filip - they were very attractive.

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  21. What a beautiful garden and so good that it has been preserved for us all to enjoy. Sarah x

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    1. I enjoyed revisiting these photos and remembering how lovely it was to wander around the garden in the warm sunshine.

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  22. Like a little paradise on earth ! Those stained glasses are fabulous .

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    1. The stained glass really caught the eye - I too thought that they were lovely.

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  23. The orchids are wonderful, especially the slipper. And lovely to see some of them, and the air plants, growing outside.

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    1. I love slipper orchids best of all. I have one that I bought back from Madeira but it has only flowered twice in about 14 years. I get very excited when it does though.

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  24. Another lovely, colourful post, Rosemary, with so many beautiful flowers to look at. I love visiting botanical gardens and have often sought them out when I've visited cities abroad. I used to live very close to Kew Gardens and spent a lot of time there, too! The orchids are gorgeous. I'm also fascinated by the grand colonial house.

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    1. The colonial house is a lovely design. It was hot when we visited but the high large porch had a lovely coolness to it where we relaxed for a while in the chairs you can see.
      I must visit Kew gardens again as I want to visit the Marianne North Gallery which was restored fairly recently.

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  25. Lovely montage Rosemary.....
    Sarasota is not too far south of where we snowbirds are...
    Is your brother down here now?
    Your flowers in the previous post are beautiful♥️
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. Dear Linda - hope you are having a good time and that the weather has picked up.
      My brother tends to go to Anna Maria Island around the second week of March. Many of their friends from Toronto are also on the island at the same time.
      Glad you enjoyed seeing the flowers in our garden.
      Enjoy the rest of your stay.

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  26. This looks like a beautiful and very interesting place Rosemary, thank you for sharing such beautiful pictures, so lovely to see the bright blue sky!! xx

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing it Amy, and thanks for your kind comment and visit.

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  27. Beautiful photos of a tropical garden, Rosemary, so different from the flower gardens of England. Those plants grow here, of course, but we persevere in attempting to make cottage gardens! I try to make myself love bromeliads which grow like weeds but it is a bit of a losing battle. Perhaps I need to embrace it as in your photo, and add a heap of air plant as well. That tree looks amazing with the staghorns, orchids, et al - quite an inspiration. I am having a good look at the orchids too, some I have, but others I should look out for. The stained glass is really lovely, and thank you for showing this piece of Florida.

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    1. Dear Patricia - perhaps you should embrace your indigenous plants more and have a tropical garden - why not have both? We are heading off to Cornwall in March where it is possible to grow more tropical plants than we can here. Several gardens have embraced both tropical and typically English. I hope to get some good photos if the weather is amenable, they may give you some ideas for your own garden.

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  28. Sun-kissed flowers, fruits, and plants are glinting and full of energy. The picture of the stained glass has an Oriental feel, and I think it interesting that you call “koi” in Japanese not “carp” in English. Those koi must be very expensive ones.

    Looks like Europe including Russia has experienced mild, or unusually warm winter, while North America has frozen over and Japan has had record snowfall. I heard even in Florida it snowed this winter.

    I’ll have a blog break for a while. On returning, I’ll catch up. See you.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - the weather is completely unpredictable these days. My husband worked in the environmental field for the UN for quite a number of years. In 1992 we both attended the first Earth Summit in Brazil - he was passionate about telling the world of the global warming that lay ahead of us, but Governments just played lip service to the problems - made promises that were never properly fulfilled.
      Thank you for popping in before taking your blog break - have a happy time.

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  29. Like Heaven! Nature in all its majesty! And you took the most amazing photos Rosemary!

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    1. Thanks Olympia - the photos were taken with my old camera - I think perhaps the subjects and the blue skies were a big help.

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  30. What a fabulous post, to brighten a grey day, wonderful photos Rosemary.

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    1. Thanks Linda - hopefully it is the promise of things to come - some sunshine and colour.

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  31. What a lovely visit I had through your photos Rosemary. I really enjoyed seeing those bromeliads contrasting with the spanish moss but my favourite has to be those Staghorn ferns. I sell them as houseplants in a hanging basket sometimes but have never seen them until now growing in a more natural habitat.

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    1. Dear Rosie - thank you for your kind comment and visit. I love the Staghorn ferns I think that there is something rather surreal about them.

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  32. Wow what wonderful gardens and your photos are stunning Rosemary. So glad you shared these with us.
    Patricia x

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    1. Thanks Patricia - it is nice to anticipate what is hopefully in store for us all following on from this awful winter.

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  33. Hello Rosemary,
    Your post warms me up - really! Such beautiful exotic images very much needed at this point.
    Thank you.
    Anyes
    xx

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    1. Hello Anyes - I wonder if you still have snow lying around with you - snow seems to have missed us out this year, but I am sure that you will have heard about the heavy rains that we have experienced. Today really felt as if spring is on its way - fingers crossed.

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  34. Hello Rosemary

    For a moment I became excited and thought you were in Sarasota and what a wonderful opportunity that would be to meet. You post describes beautifully this garden. It was at Selby Gardens that we(The Plein Aire Cottage Artists) were presented with our Award by Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and a very exciting evening it was too. Sarasota is one hour away and is in a more tropical zone to Indian Rocks Beach.
    Helenxx

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    1. Hello Helen - up until the last couple of years we visited each year where we would meet up with my brother on Anna Maria Island. My brother and his wife live in Canada and I believe they are known locally as snowbirds because so many Canadians travel to Florida during February and March to escape from the cold.
      I must look on Google maps to see where Indian Rocks Beach is in comparison.

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  35. Such glorious photographs and a very interesting post. Just what I needed to cheer up yet another grey, wet and windy afternoon, Rosemary.

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    1. It is true that seeing photos of blue sky, flowers and sunshine can lift the spirits. For one or two days this week it felt quite mild and I really thought, yes, spring is on the way. However, I think we have taken a backward step today.

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  36. Hello Rosemary, yes I'm all the way back here in February, following a link at the bottom of your most recent post on the June Garden. I found it strangely coincidental and amusing that at the time you posted this wonderful article on the Marie Selby Botanical garden, that I was there walking the grounds that very same week. The main reason for our visit was to experience the peculiar scent of Epidendrum ilense. I found the gardens to be quite beautiful and would love to visit again.

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    1. Hello Mr Paul - I didn't realise that the Epidendrum ilense had a peculiar scent, the only thing I know is that humming birds enjoy feeding on them, and that it has a fringed lip - in fact number 1 on the second row of my collage is, I believe, one.

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