April 03, 2013

Celebrating epiphytes, tree bark, and veggies

If you're ever near Sarasota, Fla., you must stop in at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. In fact, it's worth a trip to the Sunshine State just to see this public garden along with others dotting Florida's Golf Coast.

shelter

When I was in the Selby Gardens a couple of weeks ago, I only had a few hours to explore. I could have spent a week there, and I still wouldn't have discovered it all. Of course, that's true of most gardens, isn't it? Here are some of the highlights:

arbor

Across from the Christy Payne mansion, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a lovely butterfly garden--the subject of a previous post. It's an excellent example of how to attract and feed monarchs and other butterflies, with plenty of Penta, Verbena, Coneflowers, and Milkweed.

mask

We were fortunate to visit the gardens during the annual Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica exhibition. More than 200 hand-carved masks created by Borucan artists were on display inside the Christy Payne mansion. The masks are carved from 100% sustainable native wood.

epiphytes

dendrobium

Selby Gardens has an amazing collection of epiphytes, including more than 6,000 orchids, and numerous bromeliads, gesneriads, and other plants. If you don't look up (and all around) while walking through the gardens, you'll miss some amazing plants growing in nooks and along the branches of trees.

Bark Collage

I have a thing for tree bark. One of my favorites is Eucalyptus, shown in the middle of this collage. The first time I saw a Eucalyptus tree, several years ago, I couldn't believe the rainbow colors were real. On the left: Chorisia speciosa, or Floss Silk Tree. On the right: Pachypodium lamerei, a Madagascar Palm.

pandanus

bombaxcollage

As in most botanical gardens, Selby includes many other fascinating tree species, including Pandanus utilis (Screw Pine) and Bombax ceiba (Red Silk Cotton). The latter captured the filtered sunlight so gracefully as I walked by, while its spent blooms littered the earth below.

bonsai

It's always fun to see Bonsai trees cultivated from common and not-so-common tree species. With more time, I would have lingered over this display a bit more.

hibiscus

Selby Gardens has an entire garden devoted to Hibiscus plants ...

veggies

lettuce

and a display of container-grown vegetables. (The Lettuce looked so fresh, I was tempted to forage for my lunch. It was difficult, but I did resist the temptation).

skyline

clerodendrum quad

patio

Plenty of benches and sitting spots dot the gardens, including one with a spectacular view of Sarasota; many shaded benches under the branches of fascinating trees (shown in middle photo: Clerodendrum quadriloculare); and shaded patio tables and chairs near the Selby House Cafe.

quesnelia

platyceriumbi

aechmea

So many fascinating plants catch the eye and find their way onto one's camera memory card, including Quesnelia arvensis, Platycerium bifurcatum, and Aechmea 'Blue Tango.' So many plants, so little time.

fountain

The arts of hardscapes and plant landscaping are apparent throughout the property.

orchid shop

And of course there are shops for purchasing souvenirs and plants, including a huge selection of orchids, bromeliads, and tropical plants.

koipond

If I ever get back to this garden, I think I'll spend more time at the incredible koi pond. And maybe I'll sit down right there and read a good book.

38 comments:

  1. What a wonderful place to visit. I love going to botanical gardens.

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    1. Yes, it was a perfect weather day, too, and I was with family members. So I'll always have fond memories of the place. I try to visit gardens whenever I travel. Each one seems like a little piece of heaven to me. :)

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  2. Beautiful garden and a must-see if I'm ever in Sarasota area. The seating areas look so inviting and the planted fountain is amazing.

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    1. Yes, I hope I can get back there someday. It has a lot to offer for people of all ages. I was with my parents, who enjoyed it, too. And they have lots of activities for kids, as well.

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  3. What a beautiful and amazing garden...if I ever get there, well you never know.

    Jen

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    1. Yes, please do. I think you would really enjoy it, Jen.

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  4. Beth, what a great reportage of this place. I bet you really had great time there, some of the images show plants, trees or flowers that are part of the landscape where I live now, and this is the perfect moment to enjoy all the blooms the spring is bringing. I see that you had fantastic time in the sunny FL!

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    1. Wow, lucky you, Lula! We had a wonderful visit in Florida. It's one of my favorite March destinations. The perfect time to leave Wisconsin and come back to the beginnings of springtime here. :)

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  5. Oh, I love visiting botanical gardens for inspiration! Everything looks so tropical and luscious! That staghorn fern is huge! I share your enthusiasm for bark...really cool stuff!

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    1. Me, too! Regarding the tropical plants, my husband I took a hike on a small trail, and were amazed at the size of some of the plants! Isn't the variety of bark fascinating?!

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  6. What a beautiful and colorful place! It looks so nice and warm and inviting. And relaxing. And exciting! All at the same time!

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    1. Yes, all is true, Holley. ;-) The only problem is that I didn't have enough time there. But that's a good reason to go back!

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  7. I look forward to seeing it some day. I have that same dendrobium growing in my backyard too. That 'Blue Tango' looks amazing.

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    1. Dendrobiums growing in your backyard! Very nice! The 'Blue Tango' had me doing a double-take. Some plants are almost hard to believe unless you see them with your own eyes -- including Eucalyptus tree bark.

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  8. A fascinating garden to visit. Sounds like you had a great trip. Love the koi pond and orchids.

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    1. Yes, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks! I'm sure you and Judy would love it, too.

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  9. If the sun can't come to me - then I must seek out the sun! I thoroughly enjoyed my tour of Selby Gardens.
    The trees trunks are fascinating - like you that Eucalyptus is my favourite. Those Bonsai are lovely too. My local plant nursery holds the National Scottish Collection of Bonsai - I always take time to look around when I'm shopping!
    Maybe one day I could join you in reading a book by that pond!

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    1. Sounds like a plan, Angie! I sped by the Bonsai display because I knew I had limited time. But if I had a whole day there, I'd observe them more closely. And the koi pond--wow! I had several shots of it. The one shown here seemed the best for the blog, but I think I might enlarge and frame some of the others...so I can stare at them in the middle of winter next year. ;-)

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  10. Przepiękny ogród botaniczny z pięknymi roślinami. Miejsce z ostatniego zdjęcia jest bajkowe i pewno bym tam długo stała i podziwiała. Pozdrawiam.
    The beautiful botanical garden with beautiful plants. Place in the last photo is fabulous and I would definitely go a long stood and admired. Yours.

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    1. Yes, Giga, it was stunning. Especially for a northern girl just off the plane from the snow and cold! ;-)

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  11. It really looks like a beautiful set of gardens. Many of the plants are similar to my trip to St. Lucia too. I enjoyed your photography very much.

    When I was in Costa Rica, the indigenous peoples made masks like you probably saw. Colorful like in the post. They also made very cool designs in fabric too. I had purchased some of the art and bought a mask for a friend as a gift. They had unique carved items too made of the native woods - even of coconuts and gourds too.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. That means so much from you! I would love to get to Costa Rica someday. Wouldn't it be great to take a trip to visit our songbirds that winter there? Apparently the masks on display are especially made for the botanical gardens. The original designs are somewhat different--but just as beautiful!

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  12. I just love the bonsai trees. They are well cultivated.

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    1. Yes, I do regret that I didn't spend a little more time observing them. Oh well, another good reason to go back!

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  13. I love that koi pond! There are so many details in that lovely garden, I can see why you need to visit more than once. I also love tree bark. The eucalyptus is amazing!

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    1. I know, it was stunning! The kind of place where you just let out a sigh when you see it...

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  14. Beth you pick the best places to vacation. I will note this spot and the wonderful sites. I think I would spend a lot of time by that pond as well! Glad you had such a beautiful rest!

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    1. Yes, it was a great escape from the cold north. And now that we're back, spring is here! My parents have a place down there, so it was great fun to visit them, too!

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  15. Thank you so much for the trip, I enjoyed it very much!
    It is many years since last time I was able to physically go to a botanical garden, these days I travel by TV and laptop and your photos showed what an amazing garden this is. I wish I could have seen the Bonsai garden, as I have a special interest in them, the trees look really great on the photo.
    And I have a thing for tree bark too! I have a separate section on my website (not my blog) dedicated to trees :-)
    Hope you have a great week-end, take care.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Helene! I will have to check out your website again for the bark section--great idea. I hope you're having a relaxing and fun weekend!

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  16. What a wonderful winter get away! I'm way over due for a vacation and that looks like a fabulous get away. :o) I probably would have spent a lot of time at the koi pond, too.

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    1. Yes, it was fantastic! Perfect time to get away, too. And now spring is in full swing here. Yay!

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  17. Thank you for the tour, it seems a wonderful place! I loved the orchids and the veggie garden :). It looks like you had a really good time on your trip.

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    1. You would love it, Masha. They also had lots of Roses, but I don't think it was the peak time for them--maybe a little earlier in March? It was a great vacation!

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  18. very dramatic and interesting plants and plantings. I'm with you re bark, and I'm also a fan of gum trees! The koi pond photo is really special. i want to just sit there too, with or without a book.

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    1. Yes, and this was just a small peak at the highlights of the gardens. It's really a wonderful place, and there's so much to see!

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  19. Goodness, what a varied array of treasures, hours, if not days, would be needed to really get to know it all. Love the exotic plants clinging to the nooks and crannies of trees. I am a big fan of bark in general and eucalyptus in particular too, though I have learned the hard way not to try and grow the latter myself, I never quite keep up with the pruning required to keep it small enough for a domestic setting...

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    1. Yes, very true Janet! That place is a gem. One of my favorite things to do, any day in any place, is visit botanical gardens. And the Selby Gardens is one of the better ones I've seen.

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