Monday, July 28, 2008

Jane: Plants in Florida

Thought I'd write a bit more about the flora of Florida! As I said in my last post, Wendy and Dave took me to Selby B0tanical Garden when I was in Sarasota, and I saw amazing tropical plants. I'll share some with you.

As you can see, everything was just lush and green. OK, granted these plants ^ were in the greenhouse, but in general, there was a jungle feel.

I loved these flowers (above) which hung on thin strands of vine, like pendant lights (I just wrote a story about pendants for the local paper!).

These ^ make me think of fox faces, pointy and bobbing on long stems.
And of course, the pitcher plants. "These plants don't just wait patiently at the bottom of the food chain" read the sign. Nope, they are after their nourishment, and they'll kill for it.

The pitcher plants made me start to think about Florida's Fierce Flora. Wendy and Dave regaled me with stories about trying to garden here and getting scratched and poked and irritated by the various plants in the yard. The beautiful palm tree? It has sharp one-inch-long spines. That pretty succulant? The edges are serrated, saw-like. Even the grass is sharp and tough: full of silica--Dave eventually gave up his mowers and hired a lawn service. And Wendy says she always wears heavy gloves now when she gardens.

"When we first moved to Florida, it was like the prettiest girl in the class asking me over for cookies and lemonade," said Dave. "But then after I got there, I realized that she wasn't just out for lemonade; she wanted me to do her homework for her, too."

I think Dave referred to the entire experience of moving, mid-life, to this new place. But it also refers to their experience with the plants.

"We were seduced by that palm tree and beach, but the palm tree had spines," he said. Maybe what we think of as a paradise could actually being dangerous . . .

But back to the botanical garden. Buddha was there.

And here he is again, below!
Oops, that's Dave, pretending to be Buddha receiving enlightenment under the Bo tree! I guess Florida has the right climate for that enlightenment-inducing tree to grow. And I don't think it's fierce, either.

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