Spring in South Florida is plant sale season. Cities and garden clubs throughout the region are hosting sales of flowering shrubs, palms, exotics, and native plants — and very often, gardeners drive a long way to find their perfect plant, a great deal, or both.
This is the time of year when I feel the most out of step with my fellow gardeners and the readers of this blog. You see, this is the start of South Florida’s growing season — the orchids (above) are currently blooming in my garden. Nurseries are overflowing with plant selections and cold fronts bring delightful weather rather than snow and ice.
I’m kicking myself — again. This time, it’s all because I forgot to bring my camera to a July 4th fireworks show. It would have been a great opportunity to play with the fireworks feature on my camera.
That’s what I was lamenting when I noticed these white begonia blooms. Kaboom!
The begonia story actually began last summer, when they were planted in a narrow strip along the north side of the house. Fast forward through a hurricane, freezing winter temperatures, a blizzard that dumped three feet of snow, and spring, when I noticed small green leaves poking up in a bed of dead begonias.
Aaaahhhh. The Summer Solstice. For me, it’s a reminder of just how little we are. Just think about it. As we go about our ordinary lives, our giant orb revolves and rotates in a celestial dance, rewarding northerners with the longest day and shortest night. (Of course, the pessimist in me says, “Great, now the days start to get shorter, the nights longer, and winter is just around the corner.” Quite a jump, I know.)
In any event, it’s no wonder that ancient Druids to modern-day beachgoers celebrate this day. That’s why I took up my friend Rachel’s invitation to attend a judged flower show, hosted by her Three Village Garden Club on Long Island and scheduled to coincide with the Summer Solstice.
Although I do consider myself a gardener, I am of the backyard variety. Garden club members, though, are a whole other breed of gardener. I mean, I like to garden, usually for myself and Joe. Garden club members take it to a competitive level, and the Three Village Garden Club is no exception. These gardeners know latin and common names, and they carefully drive their entries, each in small glass vases, to the competition. I get upset when my grocery bag with the milk falls over when I make a left turn — can you imagine if my hydrangea entry took a spill?