As I approach four years of being a Floridian, I am proud to say I have come to understand the shift of the seasons in our subtropical state. Not long ago, spring shoots, summer scents, fall foliage and snow storms were the obvious markers I knew to gauge time’s passing. In Sarasota though, the transitions between seasons are more nuanced. Fall means fruit trees are blooming on property and winter signals orchids to bloom in our trees. Springtime is of course noted by flowering trees (jacaranda and tabebuia!), and summer’s lushness I enjoy, too!
The proverbial seasons of Selby Gardens are on the move and in this issue are marked by the welcoming of new staff and members of the Board of Trustees, as well as the gifts made toward our new master site plan. Ample nods to our past are explored in the stories of a private botanical research collection related to our founding, and how – thanks to philanthropic support – improvements to the historic Selby House will anchor our future.
On the traditional calendar schedule, we look back at the summer camp experiences offered at the Gardens to get a glimpse at the environmental challenges upcoming generations will face. The biggest “seasonal” push this time of year comes in the form of our annual fall Orchid Show. This year’s exhibition, “The Orchid Show: Endless Forms,” draws from a famous writing by Charles Darwin whose own admiration of orchids influenced his studies. Curator Dr. David Berry provides context for the plant species’ infinite popularity with his essay on pages 6-7 of the current Tropical Dispatch. I hope you will join us for the many events and lectures associated with this special show that will be highlighted by a magical display in our Tropical Conservatory.
Finally, as we head into the holiday season, be sure to note the expanded dates for Lights in Bloom, our holiday light display. In honor of the 15th anniversary of what has become a Sarasota tradition, this year’s event has been expanded to 15 nights! Volunteer support is critical to this and all our events, and we welcome additional help preparing for this big celebration. After all, the gifts of one’s presence is always the best present.
I wish you and your friends and families a fantastic season ahead!
Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President and CEO