Selby Gardens Announces 2017-2018 Season of Events, Exhibitions and Lectures

July 17, 2017

“The Orchid Show: Earth, Air, Fire, Water” kicks off the Gardens’ activities starting Oct. 12

SARASOTA, Fla., July 17, 2017 – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has planned a variety of events for the upcoming 2017-2018 season to support its mission and inspire an appreciation of plants and their contributions and importance to our daily life.

A major orchid display show kicks off the season in mid-October and perennial favorite community events like Lights in Bloom, the holiday light display, return once again. Musicians from as far away as Cuba will perform, and speakers and presenters include floral experts, acclaimed botanists and even a former White House decorator.

“The Orchid Show is a continuation of our living museum model, which brings changing exhibitions to Selby Gardens,” said Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President and CEO of Selby Gardens. “This encourages guests to come explore Selby Gardens repeatedly to be amazed by stunning horticultural displays and also realize how essential plants are to life on earth.”

In February, the Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series features the Gardens’ major exhibition for 2018, “WARHOL: flowers in the factory.” This interdisciplinary, multi-sensory experience combines dramatic horticultural displays and original, botanically-themed artwork by the artist Andy Warhol who had a surprising interest in exploring and celebrating the natural world.

Exhibitions and lectures included with general admission unless otherwise noted. Admission is Free to Members, $20 Adults, $10 Ages 4 – 17, Free 3 and younger. 


The Orchid Show: Earth, Air, Fire, Water
“The Orchid Show: Earth, Air, Fire, Water” opens Oct. 12 and celebrates the diversity of the largest family of flowering plants on the planet through dramatic horticultural displays. Stories and artefacts of orchid discovery past and present will accompany the horticultural display in Selby Gardens’ Museum of Botany & the Arts. The Museum exhibition will feature the “all stars” of botany who contributed to the “orchid mania” of the 1700s – 1800s. Materials included are an autographed pamphlet of Charles Darwin‘s “Notes on the Fertilization of Orchids” (1869), and a colored lithograph of Stanhopea devoniensis, originally named in honor of the sixth Duke of Devonshire. Also of note will be volumes from Selby Gardens’ complete set of Curtis‘s Botanical Magazine (dating to 1787) and early editions of the work of Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus who developed the system of naming all living organisms.
Daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Oct. 12 – Nov. 26

Orchid Evenings
Experience the Orchid Show in a whole new light during these orchid-inspired cocktail receptions that include live music, hors d’oeuvres and wine and craft beer tastings.

6 – 9 p.m., Wednesdays, Oct. 18 – Nov. 22
$60 Members; $75 Guests

Wine & Design
Floral design workshops hosted by local floral experts paired with food and wine set overlooking Sarasota Bay.

6 – 8 p.m.

  • Oct. 19: Orchid Showcase. A behind the scenes tour of the Orchid Show with Selby Gardens’ Orchid Show designer, Angel Lara, Director of Glasshouse Collection.  Create your own orchid arrangement to showcase in your home.
  • Nov. 8: Farm to Table. Guided by Ian Prosser of Botanica International Design Studio, learn where to source unusual, locally grown botanical materials and how to combine them to create beautiful, memorable centerpieces.
  • Dec. 7: Holiday Splendor. Create “imperfectly perfect” holiday arrangements in this hands-on workshop with Dion Roberts of Beneva Flowers.

$115 Members; $125 Guests

Lunch in the Gardens: “Sex, Lies & Orchids” with Dr. Antonio Toscano de Brito
With more than 20,000 species spread around the globe, orchids are the sexiest of all plant families. In this fun and playful discussion, learn what makes orchids so seductive and how intricate and promiscuous these flowers are, relying on enticement and deception to lure their pollinators. Chaired by Jean Weidner Goldstein, Teri Hansen and Margaret Wise. Event Chairs Pauline Joerger and Ariane Dart.

11 a.m., Wed., Oct. 18
$150 Guests; $75 Friends of the Gardens Associates

Garden Music Series
Sunday afternoon outdoor concerts on the Great Lawn. Grilled food, drinks and beer and wine available for purchase. Special appearances by Dynasty Dance Club.
1 – 3 p.m., Sundays, Oct. 22 – Nov. 12

  • Oct. 22: The Curious Bedfellows. Blues folk, jazz, country, rock and even classical music.
  • Oct. 29: Renesito from Cuba. Virtuoso Cuban tres guitar.
  • Nov. 5 (2-3 p.m. only): Perlman Music Program/Suncoast. An exceptional PMP alumni classical music experience, showcasing the next generation of world-class musicians.
  • Nov. 12: Bird Tribe. A soulful journey through the spectrum of sound.

A playful, family-friendly event.  Daytime activities include traditional, wholesome Halloween happenings like trick-or-treating and pumpkin decorating, fun and educational activities like seed planting, as well as more frightening (but not too scary) options for older children like a mad scientist experiment center.  Food and beverages will be available for purchase through the Michael’s On East grill.

10 a.m. – Noon, Oct. 29

Orchid Mania: The Orchid Craze in Victorian Britain
Hear from curator Dr. David Barry about the prized exotic plants in Victorian Britain, which became the craze known as “Orchid Mania.”
Noon, Nov. 15


Friends of the Gardens Holiday Luncheon featuring Coleen Christian Burke
White House author and decorator Coleen Christian Burke served on the holiday decorating teams under First Ladies Laura Bush and Michelle Obama. During this luncheon she will share about the inner workings of the most well-known home in America, including the holiday decorating history and techniques from Jackie Kennedy through Mrs. Obama, inspiring guests for the holiday season.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Dec. 6
$75 Friends of the Gardens Associates; $150 Guests

A Brief History of Botanical Art
Artist Olivia Braida discusses and demonstrates the 40,000-year-old art form of botanical art.
Noon, Dec. 13

Lights in Bloom
Lights in Bloom is a Sarasota tradition for residents and visitors alike to celebrate the holiday season in our lighted tropical wonderland decorated in more than one million lights. Each evening will include live music, and food and beverages available for purchase from the Michael’s On East grill.

6 – 9 p.m., Dec. 21 – 30
$20 Members; $25 Guests; $7.50 Children ages 4 – 12; Free under age 5.

New Year’s Eve Gala
Sarasota’s most sophisticated black tie New Year’s Eve experience includes a private tour of Lights in Bloom, passed hors d’oeuvres, a four-course dinner, fireworks and entertainment at Michael’s on the Bay at Selby Gardens.

8 p.m., Sun., Dec. 31
$250 per person


Bromeliad Tree Sale
Several hundred bromeliad plants that made up the Gardens’ Bromeliad Tree will be available for purchase.
11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Jan. 4

Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica
The hand-carved decorative masks made by the native Borucans of Costa Rica return to Selby Gardens in this 14th annual sale and display.
Jan. 7 – 18, 2018


The Orchid Ball: Warhol’s Floral Playground
An evening of floral play inspired by the artist Andy Warhol supports Selby Gardens’ community education programs, international research, conservation and beautiful world-class horticulture displays. Chaired by Liebe Gamble, Katie Hollingsworth, Ashley Kozel and Emily Stroud.

Feb. 10, 2018; prices vary

WARHOL: flowers in the factory

Explore a combination of stunning horticultural interpretations of Warhol’s nature-based work with an exhibition that includes six original Warhol botanical pieces.
February 11 – June 2018


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