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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens announces 50th anniversary season

Year-Long Schedule of Exhibitions, Programs, and Celebrations Reflects on the Past and Highlights the Future of Selby Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens officially kicks off its 50th anniversary with a year-long schedule of special exhibitions, programs, celebrations, and the unveiling of a commemorative book, Orchid. As Selby Gardens continues its mission to provide bayfront sanctuaries that connect people with air plants of the world, native nature, and regional history, it invites visitors to engage in the exploration of the Gardens today and into the next 50 years.

“Starting with Marie Selby’s selfless gift to our community and enhanced by so many dedicated individuals over the past half century, Selby Gardens has become a botanical garden like no other,” said Jennifer O. Rominiecki, president and CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. “We are excited to present a season-long celebration of our world-class botanical science, unique horticultural beauty, and visionary leaders of yesterday and today as we mark this wonderful milestone.”


The Orchid Show 2023: A 50th Anniversary Celebration | On view October 7 through November 26, 2023
Downtown Sarasota campus

Since its establishment in 1973, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has formed the best scientifically documented collection of living orchids in the world. The Orchid Show 2023, presented by Better-Gro, will celebrate Selby Gardens’ 50th anniversary and highlight spectacular orchids from the living plant collection for which it is known across the globe.

The Orchid Show 2023 will include a horticultural display in the Tropical Conservatory and an exhibition in the Museum of Botany & the Arts. Orchids of various shapes, colors, and patterns will abound in the Conservatory, illustrating the beauty and diversity of one of the largest and most beloved families of flowering plants. The Museum exhibition will present a selection of rare artifacts and historical images to help tell the rich story of Selby Gardens’ first 50 years, with emphasis on the plants and people who have made it such a special place.


Orchid | The Book

Published to celebrate Selby Gardens’ 50th anniversary, Orchid is a stunning coffee-table book featuring 150 photos of vibrant, elegant, sometimes other-worldly orchids in the Gardens’ unmatched collection. The 240-page volume pairs text by Selby Gardens botany and horticulture staff with intimate photographs of fine-art quality captured by talented Selby Gardens volunteers.

Orchid was produced in partnership with arts and heritage publishing house Scala Arts Publishers, with support from Selby Gardens friends Carol Miller and Virginia Miller. The book is an accessible introduction to orchids for a general audience and an essential resource for afficionados and experts. Set for release in conjunction with the upcoming Orchid Show, Orchid will be available for purchase in the Garden Shop at Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota campus and through online and other retail outlets.


Clyde Butcher: Nature Through the Lens | On view November 11, 2023 through August 31, 2024
Historic Spanish Point campus

NO TITLE, 1993 Big Cypress Gallery

NO TITLE, 1993
Big Cypress Gallery

Selby Gardens is excited to present the extraordinary imagery of photographer and conservationist Clyde Butcher throughout the grounds of the Historic Spanish Point campus. Large-scale prints on aluminum of Butcher’s beautiful photographs of plants, animals, and habitats of Florida will be exhibited amid the natural landscape of the 30-acre waterfront preserve, enabling the public to engage with the artist’s work like never before.

In the tradition of earlier landscape photographers like Ansel Adams, Butcher captures the beauty and majesty of America’s natural treasures in dramatic black and white. The unique environments of Florida have been subjects of particular interest to Butcher since the 1980s, when he was first introduced to the magic and mystery of sites such as Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park. Nature Through the Lens will include Butcher’s photographs of regional locales such as Myakka River State Park and Casey Key. This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Clyde Butcher Gallery & Studio in Venice, Florida.


The Return of Patti Smith | November 15, 2023

In the first event affiliated with the 2024 Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition, Selby Gardens Artist-in-Residence Patti Smith will return for a special evening performance. Smith’s program will be tied to the soon-to-be-announced theme of next year’s Goldstein Exhibition, which opens in February. More details and tickets for the performance will be released in October.


Master Plan Phase One Nears Completion

Selby Gardens From its beginnings in 1973, Selby Gardens has matured in tandem with the growth and cultural prosperity of Sarasota and the Tampa Bay region. As theinstitution celebrates its past, it also looks toward the future, with a focus on the Master Plan for the Downtown Sarasota campus. Completion of Phase One, expected by the end of 2023, will create the world’s first net-positive energy botanical garden complex. Features will include a new Welcome Center with Welcome Gallery and orientation theater, a cutting-edge Plant Research Center to house the Gardens’ priceless research collections, a new plant and gift shop, a net-positive energy garden-to-plate restaurant, and a nearly 50,000-square-foot solar array to power the complex.

“With Phase One of the Master Plan near completion, we are thrilled to begin to realize the full potential of our beloved gardens, while also preserving our important history for the generations to come,” said Rominiecki. “We look forward to welcoming visitors from diverse communities across the United States and around the world to join us as we embark on another 50 years of plant exploration, discovery, and celebration.”