Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Most Beautiful Park in Sarasota

Sarasota, FL      High:  70     Low:  51

The most beautiful park in Sarasota is debatable by anyone who loves this area, Sparky is sure. But she will say, that a botanical garden beats a county/city park any day, more than likely. Sarasota is lucky to have a GORGEOUS botanical garden, the Marie Selby Gardens....WOW! More orchids than you can imagine......All kinds of amazing plants, like hanging pitcher plants, top row, last photo....

A conservatory that you walk through on your way out to the gardens....The conservatory is a lush rainforest full of orchids, bromeliads (like pineapple plants) and other epiphytes (plants that grow in trees, "air" plants). There were many, many wonderful, exotic plants to see there that were so beautiful, and the gardens had plant enthusiasts who were very helpful and knowledgeable. One elderly gentleman pointed out a banana tree with an exotic purple blossom shooting way out, and teeny tiny little bananas starting to grow. It reminded Sparky of that musical "Little Shop of Horrors", that comedy musical/horror movie where the Venus fly trap like plant feasts on human blood and people.

There is a cool bonsai exhibit and a bamboo grove. Sparky loved hearing the clatter of the bamboo trees chattering against each other in the gentle wind. Past the bamboo grove was a koi pond with a statue of Buddha (?) in the water.....The koi fish were HUGE! Aren't they usually?

There is a boardwalk with some steps that lead you into a canopy of trees that looked like Jack in the Beanstalk plants climbing skyward.....And a banyan grove...Here is some kind of ficus tree with AMAZING roots.

There are a variety of gardens--hibiscus, a succulent (cactus) garden, a mangrove walk, a green roof demonstration area, a Carriage House for tea tastings, a tidal lagoon with benches to sit out and admire the ocean views with sailing vessels galore in the harbor. Sparky loved the Wishing Tree on the grounds.....The Wishing Tree was in front of benches that overlooked the bay/harbor of Sarasota and the skyline...

Oh! And there's a butterfly garden, Sparky just loves those but didn't see it today, she was running out of time to explore the gardens...They are only open till five....They are having a Christmas display of lights at night from now through Christmas and a couple days after. Sparky might talk the family into going at night. The light displays set up for the evening were very artsy and wonderful.....
Sparky likes to see the gumbo limbo trees when she is in Florida. You kno, the ones they call the "tourist tree"? Because of its reddish, peeling bark....
Sparky calls this tree the "green bean" tree...Don't know what kind it is, but it sure looked like it was covered with Green Giant green beans!
Can you tell Sparky LOVED the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens? And she didn't even see it all today....17.00 for adults, children 12 and under are free.....What a beautiful place! Don't miss it when you are in Sarasota.....


  1. Thanks for the review and beautiful photos. I will put that on my bucket list. Gardens are high on my list of attractions.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  2. We have never been there...but will put it on our list. Beautiful pictures. Merry Christmas....enjoy the family time. I can't wait to see some pictures of little Barron. I'll bet he's getting big.

  3. Merry Christmas! I know you are so excited to be sharing it with your kids and grandson. To a great 2013 as well.

  4. Awesome pictures, thanks for sharing. And a Merry Christmas to y'all!

  5. Beautiful pictures Jeannie! It was good to see you and Kelly at Siesta Key. Carrie came back and we looked for you but couldn't find you. Have a wonderful time with the rest of your family.