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.
The other day, Joe and I were in the front yard. He had clippers and I had a rake and a bucket — we had assumed our gardening roles. Although the plants and place were different, the scene was remarkably similar to one that inspired one of my favorite posts from a few years ago. In honor of gardening, roles, Labor Day, and weekend chores, I thought I’d share that post again and throw in some pictures from the present as proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
It’s funny to write that headline, “Honey, I’m Home,” because I’ve never really gone away. There have been a few trips — all crammed into a short span of time — but for the most part, I’ve been home.
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.
After Joe and I purchased our house in 1992 — one month before Hurricane Andrew — we traveled to South Florida during December and February school recesses to get our yard-work fix.
The somedays were the conversations we had as we trimmed palms and imagined: “Someday, the pool will be here.” “Someday, there will be a hibiscus hedge.” “Someday, we’ll be able to get a bottle of water from our refrigerator and use our bathroom.”