Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens & Orchid Show

Nestled on the shores of beautiful Sarasota Bay, Selby Gardens is a tropical urban oasis of unparalleled botanical bliss. Spectacular orchids and bromeliads, towering Banyan trees, Koi Pond and waterside boardwalk through native Floriddean mangroves coupled with breathtaking views of Sarasota Bay, Bird Key and downtown Sarasota make the Gardens such a special place. Officially opened in 1975, the property was originally the residence of William and Marie Selby who moved to the Sarasota area in the 1920s and built a Spanish-style, 2-story house among the laurel and banyan trees. Marie’s love of nature and of gardening was her most consuming passion. She was a charter member of Sarasota’s first garden club, the Founder’s Circle. She had a great desire to keep Sarasota a beautiful and green place and was disturbed later in life by the proliferation of high-rise construction. The row of bamboo on the bay side of the property was planted by Marie to block her view of the offending condominiums. In 1955, William Selby established the William and Marie Selby Foundation, whose impact in the Sarasota community has been, and continues to be, enormous – on education, the arts, youth and children, libraries, health services, and programs in support of the aged. William Selby died on December 4, 1956 and Marie continued to live quietly in the home she loved until her death on June 9, 1971. The contents of Marie Selby’s will revealed her wish to leave her property to the community as a botanical garden “for the enjoyment of the general public.” 

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Spanish-style house set among laurel and banyan trees

Since the Gardens were opened to the public, the property has more than doubled in size from seven to nearly 15 acres. The historic Payne Mansion on adjoining property was purchased in 1973 and now houses the Gardens’ Museum and new Selby House Café, catered by Sarasota's celebrated Michael's on East. The Selby Gardens collection numbers more than 20,000 greenhouse plants, plus thousands more in the outdoor gardens. Eight greenhouses include the stunning Tropical Conservatory – the only greenhouse that is open to the public where unusual flora can be seen year-round, particularly this years annual Orchid Show themed Earth, Air, Fire, Water where t
housands of orchids and other plants were on display for six weeks from mid October to the end of November, celebrating the diversity of the largest family of flowering plants on the planet through dramatic horticultural displays of very rare orchids that are part of Selby Gardens’ research collection. A respected centre for research and education, as well as a famous showplace that delights more than 140,000 visitors each year, Selby Gardens is a tranquil haven to wander, relax and stand in wonder at nature's awe inspiring beauty.

The Selby Gardens 2017 Orchid Show was on the day we visited

The extraordinary Bat Flower is native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia 

Named after the Viscount of Milton, Miltonia orchids are an epiphyte growing abundantly in Latin America

Native to southeast Asia, the Arundina is commonly known as the bamboo orchid 

The Zygopetalum orchid originates from the mid to high elevations of Central and South America

 The Dendrobium orchid

Spidery Brassia orchid

The spectacular Paphiopedilum orchid

Spotted Vanda Prachid Orchids

Oncidium orchids

Beautiful dendrobium epiphytic orchids

Spectacular flower that was blooming near the Koi pond

The Koi Pond waterfall

Selby Garden's serene Koi Pond

The 117 year-old Japanese bell is called a Kansho, and is rung at the opening of Buddhist temple ceremonies, and can be rung when visiting the koi pond, as I do each and every time

The Selby Banyan grove

Balinese diety surrounded in foliage in the bamboo forest

The Schimmel Wedding Pavilion 

Florida storks having lunch at low tide along the shore of Sarasota Bay

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