A notable example of the generosity of Sarasota’s wealthy patrons, the Selby Botanical Gardens is a legacy of William and Marie Selby. Selby’s father had founded an oil and gas drilling company that later merged with Texaco. The Selbys loved Sarasota and the gardens surround the modest home they once shared here. The gardens are particularly mesmerizing in the spring when the weather is perfect for strolling this peaceful retreat on the bay, with its gorgeous plant life and endless photo ops. Specializing in the preservation, study, and research of epiphytes, or plants that get their nutrition from the air, such as orchids, the Gardens are home to more than 20,000 exotic plants, among them thousands of orchids, a bamboo pavilion, a butterfly and hummingbird garden, a medicinal plant garden, a waterfall garden, a fernery, two tropical food gardens and more. Marie Selby’s home and the Payne mansion, both of which are on the National Registry, are also located here.