Tag Archives: Garden

Ca’ d’Zan Mansion at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida

This is the last post in a series on the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida

Did you ever see Great Expectations with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke? Then you’ve seen the Ca’ d’Zan mansion at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The movie portrayed it in quite a state of disrepair, but the real thing is gorgeous! It simply must be on your itinerary list if you come to Sarasota, Florida.

The Ca’ d’Zan represents Venetian Gothic architecture and sits right on Sarasota Bay. It’s an impressive sight with its beautiful orange hue and gorgeous colored windows. There are 56 rooms (41 rooms and 15 bathrooms), all with lovely furnishings and artwork. The construction on the “House of John” began in 1925 and the home was modeled after many sketches and photos that Mable Ringling had saved over the years. In 2002 it was carefully restored to its original splendor. There are tours at various times of the day, but you can always step onto the back terrace to catch a glimpse (unless there is a private party). The view of the bay is also wonderful from the home and they’ve spiffed up the area surrounding the house so you can sit on a bench or take a stroll near the bay.

Leading up to the mansion is the fragrant rose garden, always filled with lovely blooms. (At one time they held the Medieval Fair on the grounds of Ringling Museum, and I always fondly remember that the rose garden was a meeting spot during field trips.)  None of the original plants from 1913 survive, but there have been many wonderful varieties planted in their place. There are beautiful reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, and purples bursting all over it! It’s definitely a fun trip to walk in the rows and read the funny names of some of the roses.

I note that the website mentions the Secret Garden. I’ve never noticed that specifically, yet another thing to take a look at in another trip. I hope our series on the museum entices you to visit soon.

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Filed under Family travel, Sarasota, Travel

Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a fun and unique place to visit. It’s situated along Sarasota Bay in Sarasota, Florida.

The entire property is awash with color. The flowers are gorgeous and it’s hard not to take a picture of each blossom. One of the first stops is the Display House, where they showcase unique and sensitive species. Then you stroll along the pathways where you see other exotic and native species of plants. It’s a nice mix of flowers, views of the water, and lush grass. I think one of the best parts of the gardens is near the water. It’s a lovely spot to relax with warm sun and cool breezes.

It seems to me that they’ve changed the layout and design of the gardens somewhat since my last visit. I noticed a lot more decoration and embellishment this time. They have lovely sculptures and ornamental decor like bells and fountains now. The children’s canopy was neat–you felt like the trees enveloped you. The koi pond was pretty cool–it was so popular I couldn’t even get close because everyone was feeding these ravenous fish. It was really quite incredible, as I’ve never seen such active fish before. The banyan trees are always beautiful and are fun for pictures. I have to say the highlight for me was the tea shop, Local Coffee and Tea.

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Filed under Sarasota