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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, which front Sarasota Bay, are a lovely site for a stroll, even if you’re not a garden expert. The 15-acre grounds are punctuated by peaceful sitting spots where you may relax and take in the surroundings. You may also wander through mangrove trees on a wooden boardwalk and enjoy stunning views of the bay. One of the world’s most stunning displays and collections of orchids and bromeliads are among the botanical attractions. Bamboo, ferns, cycads, and gorgeous old banyan trees that are about 100 years old are among the other stunning examples. Marie met William Selby, a partner in the Selby Oil and Gas Company, which later became Texaco, shortly after she finished her musical studies. Sarasota was a frequent stop for the Selbys. It was the ideal location for her and her husband to discover Florida’s natural splendor. Marie had a tremendous fondness for gardening. Several of the plants she planted are still in bloom and available to the public. Mrs. Selby died at the age of 86 in 1971. Marie gave her house and property to the community after she died, intending to establish a botanical garden. The gardens were opened to the public in 1975, and have since grown from seven acres to approximately 15 acres. The gardens are dedicated to collecting and displaying epiphytes like bromeliads and orchids, as well as their ecosystem. The gardens include the world’s largest collection of bromeliads. The Gardens have about 20,000 live plants, including 5,500 orchids, 3,500 bromeliads, and 1,600 other species, as well as conserved epiphyte collections. An herbarium houses dried and preserved tropical flora specimens, as well as the world’s second-largest spirit collection, which consists of vials of primarily orchid blossoms in preservation fluids and a library. These collections are the result of more than 150 journeys to the tropics and subtropics. Botanists at Selby Gardens have found or described approximately 2,000 plant species that were previously unknown to science. On a plot overlooking Sarasota Bay, the Gardens preserve banyans, bamboo, live oaks, palms, mangroves, succulents, wildflowers, cycads, bromeliads, a butterfly garden, a fragrance garden, an edible garden, and a koi pond. The interactive Ann Goldstein Youngsters’ Rainforest Garden is intended to foster a lifelong love of rainforest flora in children. The Children’s Rainforest Garden will appeal to both children and adults. Its tropical forest setting allows children to freely explore and play. In addition to an Amazon town with an amphitheater, there is a 16-foot waterfall, swinging bridges, field study stations to engage curious minds, caverns to explore, and an adventure path. There is also a cafe and gift shop on the premises.

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