Plants. Not a day, not an hour, not a second, goes past without human dependence on plants. These chlorophyll-producing, light-absorbing, oxygen-disseminating organisms are found everywhere on earth (even in the water), and all too often we as humans pass them buy, not even acknowledging their basic, life-giving value.
Perhaps that is why botanical gardens are so uniquely positioned to make people sit up and take notice of what has become generally undervalued. At Selby Gardens we host exhibitions, special events, lectures and classes to encourage our guests to take a “time out” and reconnect with the natural world.
Our hope is that a child coming here on a field trip will be inspired to protect the environment as they make their way in the world. Or an adult’s walk through our conservatory will ignite a curiosity about how to care for and grow plants. These small stones on the path of awareness can lead to greater support long into the future for all living things.
I think you’ll be inspired by the voices of adults and children alike in the new September-December 2017 issue of Tropical Dispatch who are sharing Selby Gardens’ mission throughout the world. The camp counselors featured on page 16 offer hope for the latest generation and those to come after them. Our featured volunteer Wade Collier demonstrates that it’s never too late to make a contribution to the world of plants and science, even following an already impressive professional career. And of course the trees planted by Marie Selby herself included in our “Treasured Trees” article showcase the ultimate future-planning proverb that the “best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago,” (or in Marie’s case, 80 years ago).
At Selby Gardens we will continue planting trees – both figuratively and literally – to ensure all who connect with us expand their appreciation for plants, especially epiphytes. On page four of the September-December 2017 issue of Tropical Dispatch, be sure to read about the beginning stages of our master site planning process. We’ve also included in this issue an annual review of our successes for the past year to show the Gardens’ reach and impact. There is much work to be done, but nothing excites a gardener more than fertile ground to be sown.
For those in search of more inspiration, please join us during our 2017 Orchid Show, which opens on October 12 and is sure to be another spectacular horticultural show created by our horticulture team. This display, along with an accompanying museum exhibition on orchid hunting past and present in the Payne Mansion’s Museum of Botany & the Arts, will prove that plants are just as important to matters of the heart and creativity as they are for air, medicine, clothing, shelter and food.
That is the point. Plants are important. Let’s pay attention and celebrate them.
Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President and CEO