Fifty years ago, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens was formally established. But the creation of this world-class institution and cultural jewel in Sarasota’s crown didn’t happen overnight. It took many imaginative people, numerous bold decisions, and countless hours of hard work to make Selby Gardens what it is today.
Of course, it all started with Marie Selby’s selfless gift of her property to the community she called home. She intended it to serve as a botanical garden “for the enjoyment of the general public,” a place to appreciate “the splendor of the plant world in one of the most lovely settings in Florida.” To her honor, Marie’s namesake Gardens are indeed that—and so much more.
Our 2023 Orchid Show highlights the stories that got us from there to here. It also celebrates the plant family for which Selby Gardens has become internationally known, with a profusion of beautiful orchids to admire throughout our Tropical Conservatory. We even have a new book about our peerless orchid collection; it’s a must-have for anyone who loves Selby Gardens or simply loves the plant family Orchidaceae.
Many chapters have been written in the story of Selby Gardens, and we are about to turn the page on the next one. Or maybe we should call it a whole new volume. We are finalizing details on precisely when and how we will dedicate Phase One of the Master Plan for our Downtown Sarasota campus, which opens this season. Look for more on these festivities soon!
Phase One will set Selby Gardens even farther apart as a leader among botanical gardens. It also will bring visitors—from Sarasota and around the world—closer than ever to our vital and fascinating work in plant research, conservation, and environmental education. From the outset of our master planning process, we said that we would grow the gardens, reveal our hidden treasures, and safeguard the future of this special place. We also said we’d responsibly preserve and steward our unique history in the process.
Together, we are creating a botanical garden complex unlike any other. It remains a place to enjoy the “the splendor of the plant world” in one of Florida’s “most lovely settings,” just as Marie Selby intended. And, as a Selby Gardens member, I hope you are proud.
Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President and CEO