I don’t think I have ever chosen a vacation around a botanical garden. But…botanical gardens usually take shape on our travel agenda. I have 5 reasons to visit botanical gardens and some reflections that just might have you searching for one near you.
Selby Gardens Downtown Sarasota
On our recent visit to Sarasota, Florida we visited the Selby Gardens Downtown Sarasota. It is located on 15 acres along the Sarasota bay and is so peaceful-even in the heat of summer. The visit was not planned but you probably know by now that I can’t resist a garden. Not to mention, a break from the beach is welcomed when the temperatures are stuck above 90!
One of the best parts about this botanical garden is its ease and convenience. It was a nice surprise to see that this was nestled within the community. If you go, be sure to take a few minutes to drive the surrounding streets. There are so many amazing homes. I loved that there were modern homes mixed right in with historical homes. The garden campus spills out into the streets and parking lots. It is obvious that they take pride in their community and work hard to keep it beautiful. I sure wish I had taken pictures as we drove in!!
A Look Inside The Selby Gardens
Like many botanical gardens, Selby was created for our enjoyment. On top of that, they contribute to research that helps us all better understand plant diversity, which is essential to life. Sounds technical, but really boils down to preserving life.
Tropical is exactly what this is! You can feel it as soon as you step inside. It is quiet and almost surreal. There are plants growing from top to bottom. Many plants grow on other plants…these are called epiphytes (I just call them air plants).
The Koi Pond is just outside the conservatory and the breeze from the palms felt so cool after walking in the tropical air. There is a waterfall that would be easy to miss as it is nestled behind some palms and bamboo. I love a water feature in a garden-the sound is so relaxing. While we were visiting, there was an exhibit called In Dialogue with Nature: Glass in the Garden featuring glasswork by Duncan McClellan. There were beautiful pieces in the conservatory and koi pond.
Banyan grove was stunning. The size of the trees stopped us in our tracks. We expected to see amazing plants and flowers but were not expecting to be so stunned by the trees! The peaceful walks by the Sarasota bay were cool and relaxing.
The succulent garden is also called the desert garden. For some, this may not be impressive but it certainly caught my attention since I don’t see many succulents in Georgia. It really interested me to see the ground cover and precise layouts. Cacti are amazing creations!
5 Reasons To Visit Botanical Gardens:
- Escape for a day. No matter your lifestyle, an escape from the everyday is essential. A botanical garden is not a huge commitment of time but offers big rewards. There are no expectations unless you create them. Relax, take a deep breath of clean air (thanks to the plant life!), enjoy friends or alone time, and leave technology behind. I like to find a bench in one of the gardens that grow in other countries and take in the experience.
- Find inspiration. Plants are not the only things that inspire me when I am in a new garden. Often I walk away with creative ideas for my own space such as…
- adding a unique piece of art or sculpture to my garden
- build a trellis as a focal point and grow something unique (maybe beans, trumpet flowers, or jasmine)
- buy that worn down bench or chair at the thrift store, give it a coat of paint, or don’t-and set it right in the middle of your garden.
- put up a fence or gate- this could also be a second-hand item- nothing fancy!
- add a birdhouse or windchime -all of your senses will thank you.
- Discover a new hobby. Botanical gardens are becoming known for their class offerings. The cost is usually low and sometimes free. I have seen classes on bee keeping, building koi ponds, Plein air painting, and even cooking with your harvests.
- Broaden your knowledge. Like me, you may go to what you know year after year. Visit a botanical garden and gather details on a unique garden style. Gardens I have enjoyed are herb, edible, succulent, picking/wildflower, water, and Zen gardens.
- Rethink date night. Public gardens offer events throughout the year. Look for concerts, wine tasting, art exhibits, dining alfresco, or simply walking the gardens with a friend at dusk. Something as simple as choosing a new time to visit can become a “date”.
The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.Hanna Rion, Let’s Make A Flower Garden (1912)