Saturday, 29 January 2011

Galloping Gardener Walks © - A weekend in the sun seeing Sarasota Gardens

There's nearly always a wonderful sunset in Sarasota!
Sarasota is a great place to base yourself if you want to soak up and the sun and enjoy some Florida gardens. There's something for everyone - old and young; orchid and rose lovers and even a taste of history down at Spanish Point. And in the first of my regionalised posts I've been experimenting with maps, so I can show readers where different gardens are located - especially if you're planning to visit more than one in a day.

The garden that really surprised me here was Mable Ringling's Rose Garden, which I first visited last November. I'm not really a rose lover, but this little jewel is filled with some of the finest roses I've ever seen, which came as quite a shock to me given the climate here, because I mistakenly thought that it would be too hot for roses. Well ... I was wrong and can assure you I saw more fine blooms here than I've seen at many gardens back home in England! 
There's many different roses on show in Mable Ringling's rose garden in Sarasota
Move onto the Jungle Gardens if you've got the kids with you, because they'll love the parrots and reptiles on show here. This is a charming "olde worlde" place, with fine gardens and lots to see, ranging from the colourful macaws to the lazy reptiles that look at you with one eye. There are more than 100 different palms here if you're interested in trees and there's also the flamingoes, which will provide hours of entertainment for the kids, especially if you buyfood for them (the birds, not the children).
One of many macaws on display at Jungle Gardens, Sarasota - a great day out for parents and children
For ideas for your own garden, drop in on the Sarasota Garden Club - run by volunteers - and  one of Mable Ringling's interests besides her own garden during her time in the city. You'll see a mini tropical world here, immaculately tended and with a special butterfly garden; lots of local plants and, if you visit on a Friday, you'll find volunteers at work who can answer your questions. 
If you want some ideas for your own garden, visit the Sarasota Garden Club
Next day head off to see impressive plants at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens including one of the finest orchid collections in the continental US - to be found in the glasshouse. And there's a lot more than orchids here - there are also many unusual trees and plants outside in the immaculately tended gardens; impressive collections of bamboo, bromeliads, epiphytes and much, much more. Spectacular views over Sarasota Bay too and a mangrove board walk where you'll see many shore birds at low tide.
There's always something in bloom at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - an orchid lover's paradise
If you're in the area, don't miss Historic Spanish Point - heading south towards Venice, you'll find this waterside estate off the Tamiami Trail in Osprey. Former home of wealthy socialite - Bertha Palmer - widow of a Chicago magnate, this is another garden with lovely views over the bay, a sunken garden and lots of history. This garden doesn't seem to feature in the tourist blurb about Sarasota, so you'll find it   very peaceful and uncrowded - a good place to take a picnic.
Spanish Point, south of Sarasota, is well worth a visit if you fancy a walk on the coast and some history


  1. You have gotten some great photos. The first image with the egret? is beautiful. And so it the macaw preening.

  2. I've just added to my list of must-see's. If only I could go galloping around the world as much as you. I enjoyed the complement of colors in your photos.

  3. Charlotte, hi
    I am very happy to see your fantastic photos and your gardens !!!!!!
    Thank you
    Have a nice weekend !

  4. I am not very familiar with Florida so I appreciate all your posts on the various gardens there. I may just have to make a trip down there to explore some of these beautiful places.

  5. The Marie Selby is just a stunning place, and not just for the bloomers - amazing specimens of unusual trees, and that mangrove boardwalk is heavenly!

  6. ♥ Sarasota. So glad I live here!!

  7. It all looks lovely over there - enjoy!

  8. My dad likes to go to Sarasota but I bet he doesn't know about the gardens you've showcased. I will definitely tell him, thanks and have a great weekend.

  9. Sarasota gardens are beautiful. you out did yourself on the photography.

  10. Wow! Gorgeous photos. The gardens are beautiful and the photo of the Macaw -well...outstanding!

  11. Hello dear Galloper. Very happy to discover your blog today! I'm from now on one of your followers!
    Gabriel, from Paris.

  12. Beautiful photos! I love the first one - he looks like he is admiring the sun setting as much as we humans do! I'll have to check out that garden if I'm ever down in Sarasota - thanks for the "tour"!