I look for shells, David looks for dinner.
And our grand daughter finds her first fossil shark's tooth.
But a gardener needs to get a garden fix and mine was a visit to the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota. From our campsite at Turtle Beach to the gardens is a very pleasant 10 mile ride on our folding bikes. I mention the folding because with that small wheel it takes a lot longer to achieve this distance. Being unused to the saddle there were a few stops along the way for some derriere relief!
One stop was to admire these hibiscus-like flowers strewn along the sidewalk. Not the hibiscus leaf I am used to though. We would have to wait until we reached the gardens to get an ID.
This is the fourth time we have visited the garden which is a paradise of ficus, bamboo, orchids, succulents, epiphytes and all manner of tropical plants. Fortunately our membership at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center affords us free entry into the garden on their reciprocal gardens program. If you travel and love to visit gardens then I can assure you that this is a wonderful benefit of the membership and paid for itself in this one visit!
Following the death of her husband Marie Selby continued to live in the bayfront home, among the banyans and laurels, until her death in 1971. It was her wish to leave the house and gardens to the community and in 1975 the gardens opened to the public for the first time, as a center for epiphyte display and research. We first entered their beautiful conservatory with displays of orchids, pitcher plants, euphorbias and epiphytes.
|Potinara, Burana Beauty|
Eyes are drawn up high into the trees to tropical epiphytes.
In the bromeliad garden the branches are festooned with plants attached to the tree trunks by their snake-like roots.
The original 7 acre garden has grown over the years with the addition of the adjacent property. The house is now used to display art and the current exhibition is of botanical watercolors with a difference.
You can read all about the exhibit here.
Behind the house lies the butterfly, herb gardens and tropical fruit garden.
The gardens are a perfect place for a wedding venue with the large covered gazebo overlooking the waters of Sarasota Bay.
The pathway winds along the bayfront where the aerial roots of the Banyan have created an archway.
Many flowering bushes of the Brazilian rainforest tree, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Brunfelsia sp.
And a photographic opportunity under the Ficus microcarpa, Chineses Banyan.
Tucked into the far corner a koi pond.
And by the pond's edge the beautiful pendulous blooms of Clerodendrum schmidtii.
The garden shop with a fine display of orchids. Tempted but wise.
And finally the identification of our roadside plant. The sea hibiscus and by all accounts invasive. Another yesterday, today and tomorrow type plant where the blooms begin as yellow and by the time they drop they are that rusty red color.
Then back on the bikes for the 10 mile ride back to camp. We did stop on the way at the wonderful little bakery at Moreton's on Osprey for a shared slice of German chocolate cake. Glad I worked that off with the bike ride.