If the transition from winter to spring in South Florida is subtle, the one between summer and fall is practically invisible. While autumn is already a few weeks old — according to the calendar and posts from northern gardeners — the weather forecasters in Zone 10 say that anything resembling fall (temperatures below 70) will not arrive until sometime in November — and that will most likely happen while I’m fast asleep.
Still, there’s something in the air. While daytime temperatures have “cooled” by a hot degree, evenings have become slightly more comfortable — and that makes for very enjoyable sunset walks.
That, combined with two very long posts in a row (about an organic farm and a groundbreaking book) and another on the way (with a giveaway), has brought me to this autumnal interlude of what’s blooming here and now.
Yellow Shrimp Plant
This is one of the newest addition to the garden. When I spotted it in a local nursery, it looked as if it had experienced heat stress. Now that it’s had some extra care and water,it seems to have bounced back. These are the first blooms since planted.
Australian Tree Fern
Two fronds are getting ready to unfurl. This plant adores hot and humid weather, so growth will probably slow down in the next few months.
This bromeliad still looks amazing, weeks and weeks after blooming!
Coconut Palm Tree Sprouts
I have to give a special shout out to Vinca, which behaves more like a perennial here. It can handle the heat and iguanas seem to ignore them — so now I have a flower option for the backyard.
Earlier I hinted at an upcoming giveaway. It’s on its way and will be part of a long-form post, an interview with The fascinating author of a New book about an equally fascinating gardener.
For decades, Joe and I — first, as tourists; now, as residents — have looked around South Florida and said, “Florida, my Eden.” We’ve said it as we’ve marveled at the lush tree canopy of botanical gardens, as we’ve gazed at tables of flowers and fields of shrubs and trees in local nurseries, as we’ve walked about and worked in our own garden, and as I took photos for this post.
When Santiago Arroyo (left) met Jason Long (right), it was the start of a bountiful friendship. When the two men worked side-by-side in a Florida-farmer apprenticeship program, they not only cultivated a friendship but they shared a common vision of how farming could change the way people live, eat, and think about food.
I’m still dreaming of watering in the garden center.
It was during that time, before the sun rose and I was pretty much alone in the nursery, when I did my best talking to myself. I put together a little Q&A with myself and paired it with photos from work. Here we go . . .
As some of you know, I’ve spent a little more than two years working as a water boy in the garden center of a local box store. It was a bucket list kind of a job, something to do part time, something to fill up a few hours of the day.
I really just wanted to water plants.
The pot of hyacinths arrived in my life nearly a year ago. A delivery of them had arrived at work as a precursor to Easter — a highly scented way of reminding South Floridians they too could have bulbs heralding the arrival of spring, which actually feels more like summer.
The thing is, South Florida weather is not kind to hyacinths — and so many other spring-flowering bulbs like tulips and daffodils. When pots of blooms are purchased, they’re meant to be houseplants and then trashed.
I think I have fall envy.
That thought first occurred to me as September 21 was approaching and all of the local and chain coffee shops and microbreweries started touting their pumpkin donuts, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin beer, pumpkin everything.