With groves of delicate bamboo and intricate gardens filled with cactus, bonsai, hibiscus and ferns, it’s easy for visitors to forget that the specialty of Marie Selby Gardens is their vast collection of orchids and bromeliads. This Sarasota landmark sends intrepid staff members into distant rain forests in order to hunt out the best specimens for display at the gardens. This attention to quality ensures that visitors will be treated to rare plants they might never see elsewhere.
The sprawling 14-acre garden also boasts seven greenhouses full of thousands of unusual species just waiting to be discovered by curious visitors. The living green roof will fascinate visitors with its innovative rainfall collection system for watering plants. There are also thousands of species growing outside that represent Florida’s intricate ecosystem, including mangrove and palm trees.
There’s also a charming cafe that is perfect for a refreshing break, and visitors should not leave the gardens without a look in the attached garden center, where they may be able to purchase their favorite species to plant in their own gardens. Periodic classes teach budding gardeners of all ages about plant care and there are many programs geared specifically for children that will awaken their love of the natural world. Marie Selby Gardens offers a little something for everyone and makes the perfect getaway for a lovely afternoon surrounded by the lush beauty of nature.