In 2006, I was offered a dream job. The director of Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, had been carrying around my first children’s book, Unseen Rainbows, Silent Songs: The World Beyond Human Senses, for over a decade. He said that he loved the way the book brought science alive. Would I be interested in writing new signs for the gardens?
Would I? Of course, it didn’t hurt that I had received the call during a snowstorm. And that while I was staring out my window at a horizontal blizzard, I was told that if I wanted the job, I would have to come to Sarasota to get to know the gardens.
I got to know the gardens. I walked around them again and again. I sat under the mangroves and walked through the bamboo. I came to realize that, through my signage, I could create a living 3-D picture book about plants and how they fit into the world. The first two signs below greet visitors as they enter Selby, setting up a point-of-view that would carry through on the rest of the signs.