Before & After


Before

This post should have been posted weeks ago. My initial plan was to list it as a Wordless Wednesday piece featuring before and after photos of my Florida garden, courtesy of Google maps.

But as I often do for a Wordless Wednesday post, I like to add a few words — only this time, the words were making a wordless post a bit wordier. So Wednesdays came and went, and as I stared at the two photos — the before and after of a landscape — I thought of my own before and after.

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I Won A Tree


Frangipani

At each monthly meeting of the local garden club, a raffle is held. For one dollar, members can win something — usually a plant — donated by another club member.

In the past, I’ve won a sturdy plastic hand rake, a sprouting Everglades tomato plant, and an orchid — small items that don’t take up a lot of space in the shed or garden.

Mostly, though, purchasing a raffle at the meeting is a chance to support the club.

Club raffles are an interesting beast — or rather, the club members themselves are. Some members like to stack the basket and so they purchase five to ten dollars worth of tickets. Others, like me, are more conservative — just a dollar and a dream.

The thing is, I’ve never dreamed of winning a tree — especially this tree — and yet, here I am with the winning ticket and my new tree.

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Small Town, Big Heart


Beaver Island

A package arrived in the mail recently. It came from Cindy Ricksger, a long-time reader and frequent commenter on this blog.

It also came all of the way from Beaver Island, Michigan.

I must admit, I had never heard of Beaver Island before “meeting” Cindy. It’s not the sort of place that comes up on my analytics page, the feature in which the WordPress folks add color to all of the home countries of readers and visitors.

While the United States is certainly in color on this analytics page, as are South Africa and India and England, Beaver Island is a bit too small to receive any colorized treatment.

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Wordless Wednesday: Under The Rainbow


Rainbow Eucalyptus

When it was first founded decades ago, Eucalyptus Gardens, a property in Wilton Manors, FL, was a full-scale nursery. The business eventually folded, and the land fell into disuse.

In recent years, though, some enterprising entrepreneurs have attempted to repurpose the space as a neighborly gathering place for dining and coffee and shopping.

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The Ghost Of Spring Present


Bougainvillea

At last, I’m able to sit down and concentrate on part two of my south Florida spring post. You see, for the past week or so, numerous northern friends have traveled south for spring break so they can get a taste of northern summer.

Such is the state of spring in the Sunshine State. Even as I write this, the outdoor thermometer reads 90 degrees in the shade.

Still, my Florida gardening friends have assured me — on more than one occasion — that there are, in fact, subtle signs of spring in zone 10, and if I want to see them, I have to know where to look.

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Bloomin’ Update 56: Going Bananas!


Banana

Ever since Joe first noticed the flower stem emerging from the crown of our banana tree, I’ve been singing the song “Going Bananas.” Madonna sang it during her Dick Tracey years and it pops into my head whenever I walk by the tree and observe the changes in the inflorescence.

Actually, I don’t even know the words — just the chorus, and even that’s a bit shaky. So all I really ever sing is “I’m going bananas” and then I add a few la-la-las and a couple of boom-chick-a-booms.

Simply put, I’m going bananas because I’m growing bananas.

Banana

Within a few days, the flower stem is pulled downward by the weight of the inflorescence, so that it’s peeking below the dark green foliage and looking a lot like the Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.

Banana Fact: This flower stem is actually the plant’s true stem, growing from the rhizome below the ground and pushing its way upward through the false stem or pseudostem, a very fibrous, water-filled stem of tightly packed leaf sheaths.

As it grows, modified leaves or bracts curl back to reveal rows of young fruit.

Banana

Each of these are tipped with a pale yellow female flower. The male flowers are contained in the reddish-brown bud at the end of the flower stem.

Banana

Soon, more and more bananas are revealed. Each bunch is called a hand, and each single banana is called a finger.

Banana Fact: Each hand can have between 10 and 20 fingers.

Banana

I’m so enamored of the plant’s structure, I find myself wanting to photograph it each day.

Banana Fact: because they are derived from a single flower with more than one ovary, bananas — like tomatoes, kiwi, and pomegranates — are berries.

Banana

Banana

The pale yellow flowers begin to fade.

Banana Fact: A banana plant is actually classified as a perennial herb.

Banana

Banana

And all that’s left for me to do is wait for the harvest.  (Notice the smaller male flowers at the bottom of the photo below.)

Banana

Banana

I’m not exactly sure when that harvest will be. All I know is the flower stem will continue to elongate, creating more space between the hands. At some point after that, it will be time to not only remove the fruit, but also the plant itself to make room for the pup that’s already sprouting next to the mother plant.

Banana Fact: Until then, rest assured, I’ll be going bananas.