Volume 11 | November 2021
November Piece Of Paradise:
Selby Gardens (Downtown Campus)
Selby Gardens has been the subject of much debate the past few years. What's the hub-bub about? The desirable waterfront location, nestled among historic homes near the heart of downtown Sarasota, isn't without its drawbacks. This unique botanical attraction is endangered by sea level rise and constrained by water on three sides. In 2017 the non-profit presented a Master Plan that would create a more environmentally and financially sustainable operation. The plan included taller building structures and a rooftop restaurant. Neighbors felt the Plan would ruin the character of the surrounding community, and the development proposal was subsequently denied by the City Commission. Selby Gardens regrouped, revised the Plan, and rallied to success. This summer they broke ground on Phase I. The highlights of the drama are recapped in this article.
Now that you're armed with local knowledge on this one-of-a-kind attraction, let's get to their current exhibit! The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens feature rotating exhibits that merge plants and art into an immersive experience. Their current exhibit, The Orchid Show: Aerialists from the Tree Top to the Big Top!, runs until November 28. Whoever curated this exhibit is delightfully creative with an eye for sumptuous floral displays that playfully nod to Sarasota's circus past.
Orchids gracefully performing on the silks.
Orchids executing a skillful ladder routine
Orchids poised for a death-defying jump on the trapeze
Orchids tiptoe, turn and twirl on the tight ropes
Bromeliads: the loyal fans watching from the bleachers below.
Believe it or not, the orchid circus is only one very small part of the grounds. We were told docent-led tours would soon be resuming from their COVID-19 hiatus. Even without the docents, there is plenty to learn through audio tour segments played on your QR-code enabled smartphone.

Other areas of the gardens include native and exotic landscapes, large banyan trees, a butterfly garden, a children's play land and the historic Selby House Cafe.

Bonus: if you are a Bank of America cardholder, you receive free admission the first weekend of every month through the bank's "Museums on Us" program.
Nearby Considerations
The exhibit website lists June 1 through September 30 for this exhibit, but it was definitely still visible at the time of this newsletter. The website for the hosting organization (Sarasota Chalk Festival) lists the dates as June 1 to January 1.
It's an easy walk across Mound Street to the historic Burns Court District. This small neighborhood is a mix of residences, shops, and restaurants. We were going to recommend heading this way for a Sunday brunch after a Sunday stroll through the gardens, but it turned out our destination (The Fountain Kitchen and Wine Bar) is no longer open on Sundays. Our disappointment quickly dissolved when we observed a new distraction/attraction emerging at our feet.

The Avenue of Art is a painted sidewalk tribute to Sarasota County's one hundred year history. Throughout the exhibit, each block of sidewalk is adorned with a visual homage to Sarasota County and a smartphone QR code. There are over 140 blocks to enjoy and (virtually) explore.
Circus Performers by Riley Farlow
Shark Teeth of Venice by Annie Crouch
Homeowner Tip
Welcome Yourself Home with a Colorful Yard
A floral arrangement awaiting you on your countertop is nice (we can arrange that!), but what if your yard was full of colorful blooms when you returned for the winter season? Installing Florida native plants (Zone 9B) can mean your landscape survives with little care while you're gone, and rewards you with color when you come home. Need some inspiration? This video highlights plants that we verified were in bloom in our own yard this November. The UF/IFAS Extension is also a great starting point for landscaping tips.
Coastal Haven Home Watch of Sarasota delivers peace of mind... for your piece of paradise. Share your Sarasota pieces of paradise with us! We'll include them in an upcoming newsletter for other Home Watch clients to consider during their next stay in Sarasota.