From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 2002.07.14 at 09:23:33(9106)|
I am sorry I did not respond to this before Brian left on his trip. I have not been working at Selby Gardens for almost two years now so I don't have a lot of input into who can get in. If anyone wants to see the greenhouses, generally they need to plan ahead by calling Harry Luther at (941) 955-7553 ext 13 (his office number), or write to him at 811 S. Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236. He does not usually respond to e-mail messages. If you can't reach Harry you might try to call the main garden number (941) 366-5731, and try to maneuver your way through the recording to get to the receptionist, then ask for the greenhouse and Gail McDaniel. Gail manages the growing houses for the aroids so she might be the person that will actually be there to take you through to the back houses and collections.
There is generally no way to accomodate visitors for private tours on weekends, since this is when the staff are off. It is best to make your plans to arrive at Selby during the week. Fridays are a bad day since they will often water heavily for the weekend, and can't be bothered with tours then. Likewise, Mondays are a heavy watering day.
Harry Luther always assured me that he tries to accomodate visitors who call ahead since Selby does like to have the collections seen by avid enthusiasts and researchers. Many of the more horticulturally significant plants are in the display house on public view, but there are also quite a few very special beauties back in the non-public houses. They do need to water and occassionally have to spray with insecticides, so if you just show up you may not be able to get back for a private tour, since the houses will be closed for 24 hours after a spraying, and they can't interrupt their watering and fertilizing schedules for unplanned visitors. Virtually any place will have some off-limit time in their greenhouses, no matter who you are. There is no way to properly care for the plants in the back houses and also offer 7 day access for visitors.
If you want to get in early to photograph in the display house, perhaps they might be willing to also work something out, since tripods are strictly forbidden during open public hours for safety reasons (people trip on them and if set up on a sidewalk then no one can pass). However, mornings are the only time that the display house can be watered and tended, so it will take making some special arrangements well in advance to work this out.
If anyone is planning to pass through West Florida during the September IAS annual show and sale period, please let me know well in advance and I will make attempts to contact Selby for you ahead of time. If there are enough people interested then maybe some kind of small group tour can be arranged in conjunction with the IAS September show. You can also call them directly anytime you are in the area and try to make arrangements for a private showing. Believe me, it is worth the effort to see it.