I am currently still editing the 400+ photos I took of the interiors in the John and Mable Ringling mansion, Ca’ d’Zan (House of John) in Sarasota and will post soon. But today seems perfect to share the gardens. I had arrived quite a bit before the first tour of the day which was scheduled to begin at 11 am so I decided to explore.
I took the time to stroll the extensive estate.
The gardens, like the house, are Italian in style. The showcase is the rose garden which was completed in 1913 while the Ringling’s were still living in a cottage on the property. Mable loved roses. She was also a founding member of the Sarasota Garden Club.
The rose garden features beautiful sculptures.
Many of which are courting couples which now makes this location a prime spot for weddings.
The Ringlings must have loved sculpture. The property is dotted abundantly with them.
My favorites were the wee cherubs that lined the driveway.
Also on the estate are 14 Banyan trees, the largest collection in Florida. This type of fig tree have seeds that germinate on other plants and send its roots toward the ground rather than rising up from it. The trees can grow to be quite a massive extension of roots. Here is one that seems to be swallowing up a wee cherub.
On the north side of Ca’ d’Zan is The Secret Garden.
This garden was also created by Mable. It is made up of plants given to her by friends and neighbors.
I sat for a moment on one of the benches to appreciate the God given beauty.
I think perhaps Mable liked to contemplate the beauty too.
This is where Mable, John and his sister, Ida Ringling North, are buried.
The Ringlings had a sad sort of ending to their lavish fairytale. Mable died in 1929, just three years after her beloved home was built, from complications of Addison's disease and diabetes. John never fully recovered from this loss. Coupled with the stock market crash and ensuing Depression he lost virtually his entire fortune. He was able to retain his home and its accompanying museum which features John and Mable’s extensive art collection. When John passed away seven short years later, having no children of his own, he left the entire estate to the state of Florida.
In the end the Ringling’s found in one another a shared love of travel, art and cultures. They left a rich legacy and through their generosity it can still be enjoyed today. The grounds are open every day and are free of charge. I would definitely say they left this world a little bit better off which is something we all can strive for.
"And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” ~ Isaiah 58:11