Today’s assignment led me to Selby Gardens…not a bad week. I couldn’t help but take the long way out to snap a few extra photos.
Tag Archives: selby gardens
Stop and smell the roses, literally, it’s National Garden Week. Plant some seeds, visit a local garden, or simply appreciate the flowers, trees, fruits, and vegetables around you. If you’re local to the Sarasota/Manatee area, here are a few places to visit this week:
The club is hosting an open house on Tuesday. At 10 a.m., Mayor Wayne Poston will proclaim the week National Garden Week, and members will be offering tours of the grounds including a beach-themed garden. At 1 p.m., there is a workshop on floral design. It costs $20, but you get to bring home your work.
Bring a picnic and stop to smell over 1,200 roses. Admission to the art museum is free on Mondays, but the grounds are always free. Take five minutes or five hours to wander under the banyan trees and stare out at Sarasota Bay.Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
It’s well worth the $17 admission. I’ve visited and blogged about the gardens on more than one occasion, but here’s something about Selby I didn’t know until today: they offer yoga classes on Monday mornings. At $55 for members and $75 for non-members, it’s a lot pricier than on Siesta Key Beach where yoga is free four mornings a week, but it sounds positively dreamy to inhale floral scents on the upswing of a sun salute.
Barring a rainy day, this is the cafe for all occasions. Stare at your boyfriend under the stars, have lunch with your best friend or bring your little girl for a tea party. Shoogie Boogies covers the gamut, and it truly is a garden room. Outside, succulents line the entry wall; flowers bloom in an old-fashioned claw tub; and the brick patio is uneven due to the roots of a 20-30 year-old tree that shades the whole far end of the seating area.The Sarasota Garden Club
In my experience, you can stop by any day of the week, but Fridays are encouraged. Members are on hand until noon to answer questions in the butterfly garden, identify mystery clippings and offer gardening advice. The garden club is located by G.Wiz and the Van Wezel where the recreational trail runs along the bay. It’s one of my favorite quiet spots to walk Luke. I had walked through the butterfly garden outside the club several times, but the flaming red and orange tree flowering next to their building drew me inside. The volunteer was so nice that not only did she identify the tree as a Royal Poinciana, she gave me a tour right there on the spot. They have a pretty elaborate indoor garden with a bridge and water features. People get married there…a bride could only look more beautiful standing in front of this tree.
I’m now working weekends at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. I’ve been freelancing for them for a few years now, and although it is still freelance work, it’s steady writing. And instead of writing about parking garages and mall expansions during the week, and of course barring the occasional psycho who buries someone in his yard, I’m paid to visit local attractions and attend festivals and parties.
It’s a dream job and the anecdote to my recent handwriting discovery. A couple weeks ago, I came across an article from Real Simple magazine, “What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?” It was shockingly accurate for both my and John’s handwriting and personalities. Here’s what it said about my S’s:
Open at the bottom: You might not be following your heart. For example, you always wanted to be
an artista writer, but you have a career in financeinsurance.
There are no plans to leave insurance, just plans for some fun on the side to close my S’s. The editor handled the the terrible real-life news of murder for my first weekend while I stayed in dream land floating from one beautiful place to the next. It was Five Points Park on Saturday for the Harvey Milk Festival and Selby Gardens on Sunday for Mother’s Day. I had about ten minutes to waste in between brunch seatings at Selby, so I couldn’t resist wandering with my camera.
I may be wrong, but I think that staghorn fern is a new addition since my last visit, not to Selby because the sign reads 2008 but to that particular spot. The enormity of it is amazing. It hangs like a grand chandelier in the archway, and those archways I never miss. The tree limbs have twisted and turned into these gorgeous open door frames over the walking path.
Under the trees were clusters of bright pink bromeliads dotted with purple buds that had me wishing for a lot more shade in our yard. Between the shade from the banyans and the breeze off Sarasota Bay, it must be ten degrees cooler at Selby Gardens than in the rest of Sarasota.
Moms, here’s your garden freebie for next year: Selby gardens offers free admission to moms on Mother’s Day – no proof of children required, so don’t feel obligated to bring them along. Happy Mother’s Day!
We didn’t splurge on the $17 times three for admission, but we still spent the afternoon enjoying much of what Selby Gardens has to offer - a waterfront view and a variety of plants and trees. Good thing there were no picnic tables left at Marina Jack or I would have never thought of this spot. Just beyond the parking lot for Selby Gardens is a surprisingly serene spot overlooking a canal and totally shaded by exotic trees.
Maybe in other cities, the parking lots are drab, barren slabs of concrete, but this Sarasota lot is complete with a grassy area and wood bench, so it’s basically a miniature park. Luke and I have been there before because it’s a stop on the recreational trail that runs along Sarasota Bay. Even when not visiting Selby Gardens, it’s nice to walk the sidewalks outside. The plants are marked the same as they are inside, and sometimes there are plant displays outside the horticulture building.
Today’s most talked about tree was the Sausage Tree, more formally known as Kigelia pinnata. The large orchid-type blooms hanging from the branches are what caught our attention initially, but then we remembered the tree from our visit to the Edison Estate.
We couldn’t figure out the connection between the common name and the tree until we spotted some fruit hanging. They look like giant sausage casings and are apparently quite dangerous. The fruit can weight up to 15 pounds and have not only knocked out car windows but animals and people too.
Lunch was as good as the spot thanks to an old and new menu favorite. The old favorite, ham and basil pinwheels, are an appetizer I make for parties because they’re such a cinch. Spread cream cheese on a tortilla and top with raddicchio, basil and Black Forest ham. Roll, cut and done. The new favorite, Daily’s Daquiris, are a freezer to cup insta-cocktail. I said it in my last post, and I’ll say it again…it’s going to be a long, hot summer. Daily’s will be helping me get through it.
Lucky me because I have a friend who volunteers at Selby Gardens, and she gave me her guest pass today. What a treat! It was far more enjoyable than my last free visit to Selby when the rest of Sarasota was also invited for free. I’ll shell out the $17 admission before dragging my family to that mob scene a second time. But lucky me again since John and Cooper are always such good sports.
The white flowers in the first photo are commonly known as Musical Notes. Their less fitting scientific name is Rotheca incisa. I’ve never seen them before, one reason to never tire of visiting Selby Gardens or any other garden for that matter. You never know what will be blooming.
Sea grapes have always bugged me. It’s weird and I don’t know why, they just always have. There’s a hedge around the corner that seemed more and more out of place and pointless every time I walked by it…until recently. My visit to De Soto National Park has had me rethinking my stance on the sea grape. I gained a new appreciation for them that day - their history, appearance and usefulness. Now I can’t stop noticing sea grapes…in a good way.
An odd tidbit of history is what initially drew me in. Apparently, long before the stringent postal regulations of today, sea grape leaves were used as postcards. Tourists would write messages on them and mail them home. You could affix the stamp straight to the leaf. And before tourists, it’s believed that DeSoto and his comrades were using them as playing cards.
As sea grape leaves die, they harden. They’re as thick as heavy paper and easy to write on or decorate. The one flaw is that they become brittle and can snap. The live leaves won’t snap, so they open up a whole other realm of craft possibilities. First I found this how-to blog post on crafting the leaves into plates and bowls. Then I saw a Q and A in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune with local Master Gardener Jane Smith:
Q: What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever done with a plant?
A: I was invited to create a costume for a fashion show at the Art Center Sarasota. I made a dress out of sea grape leaves, which I embellished with gold leaf and some paint. The last I heard the “dress” made it to another fashion show at Selby Gardens.
I tried to find a picture of the dress somewhere but no luck; surely, it was gorgeous. The live leaves are so much prettier than I ever gave them credit for. Before they die, they turn red. So for living in the South, sea grapes are as autumnal as they come.
The trunks are equally as impressive in all their multiples.
Sea grapes are salt-tolerant and wind-resistant, so they’re often found along shorelines. That explains the “sea.” The “grape” is derived from the fruit it bears, which forms in grape-like clusters. They’re edible too; this link will take you to a recipe for sea grape jelly.
Sea grapes line the pathway between Bayfront Park and Selby Gardens.
But sometimes living in Florida is so much cooler than sea grapes and sunshine. I got to experience a sonic boom today! I heard and felt the space shuttle Discovery reentering our atmosphere for the last time ever. Incredible! If only I had know what it was at the time. It wasn’t until an hour later when a friend asked me if I had felt it that I knew immediately I had. It stopped our conversation the clap was so jarring. Our office is on a busy street, so the initial thought was that someone got rear-ended at the stoplight. It’s funny now to know what it actually was. Oh, and the high was 82 degrees today…it was a good day to be in Florida.
I’ve been talking up the Venice farmers market lately, so I need to cover my bases and let everyone know that it’s not running tomorrow. If you venture to downtown Venice in the morning, you’ll find the Venice Art Classic instead. The festival is in its ninth year; expect a variety of paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and photography. It runs Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free!
It may still be a little chilly, but the sun will be shining all weekend. Get out and enjoy it! There’s been a long, loud statewide groan over this cold weather lately, but the news is reporting that this could be the end of it. Before we know it, we’ll be shoving our faces in front of AC vents again, panting from the humidity. Enjoy the cool weather while you still can!
Here are some garden-related activities going on around town:
Environmental Art Workshop at Clair M. Mitchell Gallery in Towles Court ~ Free ~ Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. ~ (941) 706-1308
Organic Vegetable Gardening Class at Orange Blossom Community Garden ~ free ~ Saturday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. ~ (941) 861-9900