Snowbird Gardener Inspiration – Vacation to Sunny Florida!


What does a snowbound northerner crave after a brutal winter? GARDENS!

I’ve had the good fortune to be able to visit the fabulous Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida during spring break for several winters. Many of the tropical plants grown at this garden inspire my gardens in Maine in the summer time. Here are a few of the plants that got my attention this year.


Caladiums – Who needs flowers with leaves like this? I’ve had good luck growing them in Maine as long as I give them a head start in the house. They detest cold soils and may fail to sprout if planted directly in the ground in spring.


Staghorn Ferns make fabulous houseplants. Several of my friends grow them in Maine.


I’ve grown plenty of Alocasia in my garden in the summer but I’ll be looking for this very different one. I love the white markings. Envy!! I start these in a warm area in the house to give them a head start.

Tropical pitcher plants

Tropical pitcher plants will become a conversation piece houseplant.
(Nepenthes sp.)

Tropical pitcher plants

Tropical pitcher plants love the warm greenhouse at the Marie Selby Botanical Garden.

Tropical pitcher plants

Tropical pitcher plants.

Australian Tree Fern

I have a love affair with fern leaves. This Australian Tree Fern towered over me – beautiful, lacy, sculptural leaves. I’ve got to try it as a houseplant.


The Marie Selby Botanical Garden is know for its world-class orchid collection.


This tropical orchid is related to the beautiful lady slippers that grow in northern areas.

For more information about growing these beautiful tropical plants go to the Marie Selby Botanical Garden website:

I highly recommend a vacation to a warmer area – for gardening inspiration and to recharge your creative energy. When I return to Maine, I’ll be ready to put my hands in the dirt and start my gardening. My suitcase will certainly have room for a few “green travelers” from Florida! (An Australian Tree Fern, perhaps?)


5 thoughts on “Snowbird Gardener Inspiration – Vacation to Sunny Florida!

  1. I am always so inspired when in southern areas and vow to recreate something similar in Maine. But, it does not work out. Maine is for dandelions and spruce trees. I have orchid houseplants here, grown by a little local Asian man who is passionate about his orchids. He always greets me with a big hug, and I always admire his ability to grow these magnificient and “easy” plants. We enjoy, In Northern Florida, native grasses, pine trees, assorted palms and other plants, even if invasive. I brought my geraniums to Florida and am growing them in my daughter’s garden. They wre quite beautiful and hopefully will survive summer’s heat. They have wintered well.


  2. I winter down in Charleston SC & find if I start my flowers/plants there. Then transplant them in my Maine garden… … we travel back with our car full of small pots…..Sometime I may forget to bring home a hubby because I’m so excited to have a new plant.


  3. Last year I flew back to Maine with a suitcase full of cuttings from my Florida garden. This year, I’ll be bringing more of my amaryllis bulbs to Florida when they’re done putting on their holiday display in Maine. Snowbird gardening at its best.


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