Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida - Epiphytes, Banyon Trees and Plants
Frilly orchid plant at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Epiphyte blossomsClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Selby Gardens
There are literally hundreds of botanical gardens spread all across the landscape of America and each offers its own special beauty. What sets the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida apart from all the other gardens is its focus on specializing in showcasing and studying epiphytic plants. From orchids to banyon trees to bamboo, one can find this and more at the Selby Gardens.
For those of you unfamiliar with that term, epiphytic plants are those that live by existing on other plants.
Epiphytes generally use other plants for support deriving their nutrients and moisture from the air.
Sometimes in Houston we see these air plants growing wild.
Good examples of epiphytes are orchids, bromeliads and Spanish moss.
Sometimes epiphytes are referred to as air plants.
Sometimes their roots encase and actually cause the death of the host plant, but this is not always the norm.
Many of these epiphytes have cupped leaves in which to catch available rain water or have roots dangling to absorb every bit of moisture from the air.
Unusual and distinctive flowers of every hue and color imaginable can be enjoyed while viewing many of these distinctive forms of flora.
Beautiful orchids from the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
We have friends who love growing orchids and they are rewarded with new blooms year after year.
When my mother and I visited my aunt and uncle in Florida in 1998, they took us to see the Selby Gardens in Sarasota.
What a feast for the eyes!
At that time there were seven greenhouses maintaining over 20,000 plants. Visitors can see amazingly colorful and exotic orchids, bromeliads and other flora in a tempered year round environment.
An orchid identification center as well as a bromeliad identification center makes one aware of plant names as one browses through this massive display. Just about every orchid found in the world can be located here at the Selby Gardens!
Much research and education is accomplished here and the Selby Foundation helps fund this as well as having an impact on other programs impacting people in the Sarasota community.
Many volunteers help keep the gardens in tip top shape and also help with the many social and cultural activities held in the gardens each year.
Orchids at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Waterfall - Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Florida
Marie Selby botanical garden grounds
The Marie Selby Grounds...
Wandering the paths of the Selby Botanical Gardens outdoors takes one on a journey through many acres planted with different focus areas. Included are categories of plantings such as the following:
Live Oak Grove
Of course there are the greenhouses, the Selby House, Museum shops and other places hosting activities, research and the learning center.
One can also purchase plants here.
We truly enjoyed strolling through the different parts of this gorgeous garden which borders Sarasota Bay and the Hudson Bayou.
More photos from the Selby Gardens
Fantastic Florida at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Marie Selby Botanical GardensClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Koi Pond - Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - Sarasota - Florida
Scenery at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, FloridaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Mangroves and other sites at Marie Selby Botanical GardensClick thumbnail to view full-size
A little more information about Marie Selby and her garden...
Marie was born in West Virginia in the year 1885 and she was first called by the name of Mariah Minshall.
Her dad was a geologist and invented some parts for oil drilling equipment.
Marie's future husband, William, was a partner with his dad in the Selby Oil and Gas Company.
That later became known as Texaco Oil Company.
They married in 1908 and shared an interest in cross-country automobile racing; camping; boating and fishing. Marie Selby was happy to have a home built on the site of what was to become the Selby Botanical Gardens years later.
William and Marie also had a ranch home in Montana.
Despite being multimillionaires, they lived a relatively quiet life. They loved outdoor activities which led them to be members of the Sarasota Yacht Club and Marie became a charter member of the first garden club in Sarasota.
She designed the landscaping of their home-site along Sarasota Bay and gradually kept expanding it.
After William died in 1956, Marie continued to live there until her death in 1971.
She left the property to the community so that the public could continue to enjoy the gardening efforts that she had initiated and nurtured into the beautiful botanical garden that it has become today.
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens opened to the public on July 7, 1975. The garden has been expanded to include the acreage included today with the help and oversight of the board of directors overseeing the operation along with the help of countless volunteers.
We were so happy to be introduced to this beautiful garden by my aunt and uncle. We got to see plants and trees that we had never previously viewed.
The Australian Grass Tree was a most unusual sight.
I found the Bo Tree to be most interesting.
The Moreton Bay Fig Tree roots were a thing of beauty as well as the rest of the tree above ground.
There were surprises like the sculpture found amidst the interior of a banyan tree!
The koi pond was serene and the colorful fish swam amidst the tropical foliage surrounding that spot with the sound of a small waterfall in the background.
The bamboo forest was tall and offered a shady rest spot.
Overall, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a most pleasant experience filled with the largest collection of epiphytes that you will probably ever see on American soil. The other varied plant collections such as the banyan trees and stands of towering bamboo add to the magnificence of this Sarasota garden. I would heartily recommend a visit if you enjoy touring gardens and are in this area of Florida.
If you cannot get there in person BE SURE AND CHECK OUT THIS FANTASTIC VIDEO!
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© 2009 Peggy Woods
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