Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida - Epiphytes, Banyon Trees and Plants

Frilly orchid plant at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

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Epiphyte blossoms

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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.


5 Pack Assorted Tillandsia Air Plants
5 Pack Assorted Tillandsia Air Plants

Sometimes in Houston we see these air plants growing wild.

 

Epiphytes

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

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Orchid Insanity Dendrobium kingianum (mature blooming size) fast-growing easiest orchid ever
Orchid Insanity Dendrobium kingianum (mature blooming size) fast-growing easiest orchid ever

We have friends who love growing orchids and they are rewarded with new blooms year after year.

 

Greenhouses

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

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Waterfall - Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Florida

Marie Selby botanical garden grounds

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The gardens border Sarasota Bay.
The gardens border Sarasota Bay. | Source

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

Bamboo Pavilion

Banyan Grove

Hibiscus Garden

Palm Grove

Mangroves

Koi Pond

Wildflower Garden

Azalea Garden

Herb Garden

Butterfly Garden

Baywalk, etc.

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

I created a stone lithograph inspired by this photo.
I created a stone lithograph inspired by this photo. | Source
Hibiscus blossom
Hibiscus blossom | Source
A Bo Tree (Ficus religiosa) Taken from a sign posted by the tree... "Sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists, the bo tree is the most revered tree in the world.  The Buddha meditated for six years under a bo tree and there received the enlightenment.  Bo
A Bo Tree (Ficus religiosa) Taken from a sign posted by the tree... "Sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists, the bo tree is the most revered tree in the world. The Buddha meditated for six years under a bo tree and there received the enlightenment. Bo | Source
A dried Bo leaf
A dried Bo leaf | Source

Fantastic Florida at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

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Australian Grass Tree ( Xanthorrhoeaceae)The top of the Australian Grass Tree
Australian Grass Tree ( Xanthorrhoeaceae)
Australian Grass Tree ( Xanthorrhoeaceae) | Source
The top of the Australian Grass Tree
The top of the Australian Grass Tree | Source
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The Koi Pond - Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - Sarasota - Florida

Scenery at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida

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This statue was fit into the middle of a banyon tree.These thick rubbery blossoms littered the ground from the tree pictured above.Thick stand of bambooA pond with koi fish swimming in it.  Adjacent to the area of the garden featuring bamboo.
This statue was fit into the middle of a banyon tree.
This statue was fit into the middle of a banyon tree. | Source
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These thick rubbery blossoms littered the ground from the tree pictured above.
These thick rubbery blossoms littered the ground from the tree pictured above. | Source
Thick stand of bamboo
Thick stand of bamboo | Source
A pond with koi fish swimming in it.  Adjacent to the area of the garden featuring bamboo.
A pond with koi fish swimming in it. Adjacent to the area of the garden featuring bamboo. | Source

Mangroves and other sites at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

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"Black mangroves produce specialized roots called pneumatophores, finger-like projections rising above the soil which help supply the submerged roots with oxygen.  Their leaves are also distinctive, dark green on top but almost white underneath.The Palm Grove
"Black mangroves produce specialized roots called pneumatophores, finger-like projections rising above the soil which help supply the submerged roots with oxygen.  Their leaves are also distinctive, dark green on top but almost white underneath.
"Black mangroves produce specialized roots called pneumatophores, finger-like projections rising above the soil which help supply the submerged roots with oxygen. Their leaves are also distinctive, dark green on top but almost white underneath. | Source
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The Palm Grove
The Palm Grove | Source

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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A markerMarie Selby Botanical Gardens -
811 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236, USA
[get directions]

If you enjoyed this article, please give it a star rating. Thank you!!!

5 out of 5 stars from 4 ratings of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

© 2009 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed. 40 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Patricia,

Have fun with your grandson when you visit these beautiful gardens. Hope you always are surrounded by angels! :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Au fait,

Cypress Gardens was spectacularly beautiful in its day and time. I have not seen it since they turned it into Legoland. I would rather remember its beauty of the past. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is another beautiful garden in the state of Florida. So many attractions in that state! Thanks for the shares.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

This is such an amazing place. I have written about these same gardens Peggy right here on HubPages. I am going down there with my grandson in a few weeks as the children's section is supposed to be really special. Thank you for sharing this.

It is one of Florida's special little secrets. Angels are on the way ps


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Gorgeous photos! This looks so interesting. Cypress Gardens are the only gardens of this sort I have ever toured and it was so beautiful and interesting. This looks great too. I've given in another 5 stars, voted up and beautiful/awesome, pinned to my 'Purple II' board, and will share!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Maralexa,

Thanks for your nice comment on this hub about the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. If you paint the orchid at the top, hope you write a hub about it showing it. Would be fun to link to this hub! Thanks for your votes & comment.


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