50th Anniversary: Selby’s Orchid Show a Garden of Delights!

Like thousands of other visitors before her to Sarasota, Marie Selby fell in love with Sarasota in 1921 and decided to make it her permanent home.

A philanthropist known for her support of various arts and cultural centers, Selby purchased land on the Sarasota Bay and Hudson Bayou, which would eventually become Marie Selby Botanical Gardens – a sprawling 45-acre waterfront botanical garden dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads, and ferns.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary celebration this year, Selby Gardens honors her memory October  7 – November 26 for their annual Orchid Show,  titled “A 50th Anniversary Celebration.” The horticultural display will abound with orchids of various shapes, colors, and patterns, illustrating the beauty and diversity of one of the largest families of flowering plants in the world. The exhibition will also consist of images and artifacts illustrating the history of Selby Gardens, with particular emphasis on the remarkable people and plants that have contributed to its success over the past 50 years.

In addition to the downtown site, Selby Gardens also owns an additional 29-acre campus at The Historic Spanish Point campus is a 29-acre museum and environmental complex located in Osprey, Florida

The archaeological record at Historic Spanish Point encompasses approximately 5,000 years of history.

Sarasota Events Calendar co-produced this video tribute to Selby’s 50th anniversary, thanks to Candace Carson of Amazing Videos.  Enjoy!

What makes Selby so special?

Selby Gardens is home to the best scientifically documented collection of living orchids in the world.

Orchids are special for several reasons, including their unique characteristics and adaptations. Here are some of the reasons why orchids are so special:

  • Unique morphology: Orchids have a unique flower structure that distinguishes them from other plants.
  • The orchid flower has both the feminine and masculine organ of reproduction fusing in only one body called a column or gynostemium.
  • The flower has an irregular form with three sepals and three petals. Orchid flowers are monosymmetric, meaning that both halves of the flower mirror each other.
  • Orchids have evolved to adapt to a wide range of environments, from the equatorial tropics to the arctic tundra. Unlike most plants, they do not grow in soil, but high above ground in their natural environment. Their roots attach to trees or rocks where they capture moisture and nutrients that wash over them in the rainforest.
  • Biodiversity: Orchids are one of the largest families of flowering plants in the world, with over 25,000 species and 100,000+ hybrids. Orchids can be found in almost 30,000 varieties, and they come in a variety of show-stopping colors and shapes.
  • Symbolism: Orchids are known to symbolize luxury, love, and beauty, and they carry with them a certain mystique and undeniable charm that delights anyone who receives one of these plants. Orchids are also used in feng shui to enhance family and fertility.
  • Culinary uses: Some orchids are suitable for eating, and the Vanilla orchid provides the popular flavoring. The orchid is one of the celebrated four noble plants in Chinese culture

Selby also has one of most beautiful, creative Rainforest Garden for children. The Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden is a unique feature of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. It is an interactive garden designed for children and families to discover and develop a lifelong appreciation for rainforest plants. The garden is elevated to allow visitors to experience treetop living and features a waterfall, swinging bridges, field research station, an epiphyte canyon, caves for exploring, and an adventure trail in addition to an Amazon village with an amphitheater. The garden was opened in November 2013 and is named after Ann Goldstein, a philanthropist who supported the garden’s creation.

Selby’s rainforest garden is a magnificent opportunity for children to interact and learn about the wonders of the jungles of the rainforest.

Membership: Selby Gardens offers unlimited free daytime member admission to its Downtown Sarasota and Historic Spanish Point campuses, free admission for children under age four, and is a member of the American Horticultural Association’s Reciprocal Admissions Program, with over 300 gardens and arboreta across the U.S. and Canada

“Orchid” Book Debuts to Coincide with Selby 50th Anniversary

Published in celebration of Selby Gardens’ 50th anniversary. Author: Dr. David Berry, curator of Selby.
Stunning, intimate photographs bring orchids to life in this showcase of the extraordinary collection of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Written by Dr. David Berry, Selby Garden’s vice-president for visitor engagement and chief museum curator, “Orchid” is the only book available featuring the collection and expertise of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, a leading authority on orchids. Orchid showcases exquisite art photography of orchids in stunning, intimate photographs that bring orchids to life in this showcase of the extraordinary collection of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. As a leader in the study and conservation of orchids and other epiphytes, A fascinating and accessible text by their botany and horticulture experts explores the remarkable beauty and diversity of one of the largest and most admired families of flowering plants, examining their vibrant colors, elegant lines, and sometimes other-worldly shapes. This striking volume is published in celebration of Selby Gardens’ 50th anniversary, and will be a delight for all those intrigued by the unique and complex splendor of orchids.

Orchid was published this year in celebration of Selby Gardens’ 50th anniversary and the opening of the first phase of its new Master Plan, making it the first net-energy-positive botanical gardens complex and a model for sustainable design.



Downtown:  1534 Mound Street, Sarasota

Osprey Historic Spanish Point: 401 N.Tamiami Trail

Andrea Mastrocinque-Martone is Sarasota Event Calendar’s Chief Editor. She is the former A & E Editor for Sarasota Observer Newspapers and is currently a public relations consultant. www.Insightfulpr.com

Andrea Martone

Andrea Martone is a former Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Sarasota Observer Newspaper Group, as well as a former Editor-in-Chief of a Long Island (New York) newspaper chain. She moved to Sarasota 14 years ago after working as an executive in NYC in public relations and marketing. She currently is a Public relations & marketing consultant and President of Insightful PR. She lives and breathes all things art, culture, music food and wine and is proud to be the Executive Editor of Sarasota Events Calendar.

Related posts

Deck the Halls, a Family-Friendly Holiday Tradition, Returns with an All-New Show

Here’s something you and your family won’t want to miss this Christmas & Chanukah season! Florida Studio Theatre (FST)…

Read More

Tantalizing Tortellino: A Taste of Bologna, Italy in Every Bite

The Gulf Gate area of Sarasota (between S. Tamiami Trail and Beneva) has gained significant popularity in recent years, especially for its…

Read More

“Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas?”

If anyone who loves live Christmas theatre and shows doubts that the adjective “Merry” isn’t an integral part of Christmas these days,…

Read More


December 2023

  • M
  • T
  • W
  • T
  • F
  • S
  • S
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
0 Adults

Compare listings