My big surprise on this garden adventure was The John & Mable Ringling Estate and Museum of Art. While I’ve been to Sarasota a few times over the years, I had never felt compelled to check this spot out. However, having just seen the movie “Water for Elephants”, and recollections of my parents taking me to see the Barnum and Bailey Circus when I was a boy, I thought, why not? It turned out to be a highlight – a full day of intriguing variety and insightful adventure. Well worth the investment.
The Naples Botanical Garden was highly recommended and although it’s reasonably new, it was well worth the visit. I was surprised how much there was to see. I took some shots of our visit for your enjoyment, and my own. They have a wonderful collection of tropical plants, very well laid out and organized. The various regional gardens are thoughtfully displayed and all of the plants are labeled with both the Latin and English names. Even my wife, who is far less interested in botanical destinations, found it a beautiful place to spend time and enjoy the various vistas. There were many school trips going on while we were there and while we did our best to avoid them, their presence impressed me. Especially witnessing the excitement and level of engagement the kids had in learning more about ecology and botany. NBG seems to be very innovative in using their grounds for a wide variety of events and educational endeavours. What an amazing environment to learn from outside of the classroom. The staff was both enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
One tip that crossed my mind the other day as the courier truck slid off the road while making a delivery to us, landing in our beautifully landscaped culvert, was to put money aside to repair winter damage. This event and the snow plow taking up my guard stones and lovely new sod more than once, will require some concerted effort in the spring.