Thursday, January 11, 2018

Marie Selby's Little Eden

We'd gone past the entrance many times and never actually visited. It's not cheap to get in and you need enough time. But the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, right in urban Sarasota, is one of the must-see places in our area. So we finally picked a day to do it thoroughly. The first exhibit we saw  saw was inside the glass house.

An exquisite orchid display.

I just couldn't get enough of those orchids.

Each one was different. I loved this spotty specimen.

And these were gracefully languid.

The vibrant colours fitting right in with the tropical temperatures.

I couldn't tell you what they were all called. Labelling was something they could do a little better.

But there were plenty of volunteers on hand to explain things. One of them did say that too many labels might detract from the display, so they have to strike a balance. How's this one for an interesting colour?

The Gardens specialise in epiphytes (see the Christmas tree in a post below) - plants that grow on other plants without harming them, getting their nutrition from the air and water (just like that Australian woman who thought she could do the same, without success.) Which goes along with their dainty, aristocratic look. No parasitic chomping for them - that would be vulgar in the extreme.

Here was a very politically-correct ice cream van.

The sign on the side read, "All Natural Gluten Free Low in Sugar Low in Calories Vegan Options." To paraphrase someone else, c'est magnifique mais c'est n'est pas ice cream."
  While on the subject of foodstuffs, this was my first sight of a coffee bush. An arabica with origins in Ethiopia and Yemen.

Marie Selby was one of those typical wealthy Americans who gave her home over to a good cause after her death. This, however, was not her, more unassuming, house but one belonging to a neighbour, who also bequeathed it to extend the Gardens.

The house, built in the 1930s, would have suited me down to the ground.

Especially as it had a beautiful view over Sarasota Bay. But I could console myself with one thing - unlike ours, it's not near the beach.

to be continued.

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