Originally the home of William and Marie Selby, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens today is an urban, bayfront oasis showcasing a living collection of rare and beautiful tropical plants. The Gardens is also a respected world leader in the study and conservation of plants, particularly epiphytes–plants adapted to live in the tree canopy, including orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns.
The more we know, the better we understand the importance of plant preservation and habitat conservation. Since 1973, scientists from Selby Gardens have ventured into some of the world’s wildest places to identify, study, collect and learn from these resourceful, remarkable plants. As a result, we’ve developed a rich body of knowledge to share with present and future generations.
Collaborations and partnerships are an invaluable way to share knowledge as well as advance our mission. Just as plants in the wild adapt to an ever-changing environment, we know we must constantly seek common ground and find ways to work cooperatively. Selby Gardens welcomes the opportunity to partner with individuals or groups working in the areas of environmental conservation.
Just as Selby Gardens is a respected center for research and education, it is famous horticultural showplace that delights more than 130,000 visitors annually. Visitors come to relax, learn, explore and experience the living collection of tropical plants and programs available 364 days a year. The Selbys wanted their home to be a place where they could retreat from the world’s everyday hustle and bustle. Today the property is double its original size and now contains nearly 15 acres housing 12 buidings (including 7 greenhouses) transected by a brick-laid avenue in a residential neighborhood on the shores of Sarasota Bay in downtown Sarasota.
Several horticulture features are among the most popular with guests and visiting scientists alike and include:
Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden – One of the only outdoor, elevated rainforest displays in the world, this feature is designed to give visitors a taste of what it must feel like to live in a tree canopy. Visitors learn about the intricate web of connections between plants and people. Through self-directed exploration and interactive play, multi-generations come together to champion the environment.
Tropical Conservatory – With its lush rainforest atmosphere, this is the only greenhouse at Selby Gardens open to the public and the horticulture displays change frequently as different plants in the living collection come into bloom.
Towering Bamboo Garden – Tropical and sub-tropical varieties are the largest member of the grass family that can grow as much as 40 inches a day during their seasonal growth periods.
Banyan Groves – Planted by the Selbys nearly a century ago, these majestic trees continue to provide a shaded meeting place for conversation and relaxation.
Mangrove Bay Walk – A wooden boardwalk makes it possible to explore and learn about the intricate root system of three mangrove species native to South Florida.
Fern Garden – Prehistoric plants in this garden-off-the-beaten-path invite meditation and provide a silent space for solitude and contemplation.
Koi Pond – Surrounded by an oak grove festooned with a variety of epiphytic plants, colorful (and hungry) Koi fish glide playfully around this Zen-like area of the Gardens.
Accredited institution with the American Alliance of Museums