I have been negligent about writing the blog on a weekly basis. I have NOT been negligent about accumulating material for the blogs–particularly photos. I have done quite a bit of travel in the past five months from coast to coast and in the Midwest hitting botanical gardens, many arboretums, and everything along the way while remaining a stickler for trying to capture photos NOT in the heat of the day. Please look forward to new posts. Oh, I also added a grandchild and survived a tropical storm that dropped 20 inches of water in just one 24 hour period.
As the holiday season approaches don’t forget that Zen of Watering Your Garden is a great gift book. The best price is on Amazon $21.45 compared to a list price of $30.00.
This morning’s post office run yielded something that I’ve been rather impatient to receive. The book pictured above contains my first published photograph! The fact that it’s a gardenia flower makes the basic accomplishment all the more satisfying and meaningful to me.
I met Matt Cohen through his wife via Flickr. The way he described his book really intrigued me and I was thrilled when he decided to include my photograph of a very special petal-friend. The book is LOADED with truly gorgeous images and I think it would make a lovely holiday gift for any flower lover/gardener. The text contains musings from a variety of sources including Frank Lloyd Wright, Marc Chagall and Matt himself. Click on the photograph to read the poetic fragment that compliments my picture. Quoted poets range from Emily Dickinson to Allen Ginsberg. There are also applicable insights from prose writers of antiquity through to the present present tense. And yes…the list includes my special-favorite local boy, Thoreau.
Matt says this about the book: Zen of Watering Your Garden took me several years to produce, and demanded considerable intensity and focus in the past six months…many kind and generous people…were a part of helping me complete this project, some in ways I anticipated and some I never thought of when I started…The collective generosity of so many from around the world has greatly enhanced my pleasure in the project and I hope now that the book can do the same for them and many others.
When Matt first let me know he wanted to include the gardenia photograph, I was struck hard by the fact that this allowed me to resurrect a dream I had buried in my late teens - a dream about communicating through photographic images. The incident, and my delighted acceptance of it, opened the doorway to other interest in my images and some creative collaboration that’s as nourishing as it is invigorating.
Click here to explore the book further through its Amazon profile. Said profile is quite well done and worth seeing for yourself. Now I’m off to properly savor this treasure…
The State of Florida Official Tree, oddly, enough the orange tree is not. Instead it is the sabal palm known botanicallyas the sabal palmetto. These are found state wide. They grow under most any Florida conditon including in sandy and salty ground. They Can grow over 60″ feet tall . These are also known as the scrub palm or cabbage palm. The picture is not on my property but in my area as one approaches the Gulf coast they are abundant in pine uplands. Additionally, theya re used every where as landscape addition. depending on the situation they may be 5′ to 60′ tallwide
The orange tree though associated with Florida is not the official State Tree. Politics. What else would explaine that a picture not dissimilar to the one I am posting is on every Florida license plate. Instead , the blossom is the official state flower. In my area of north Florida it is possible to grow certain types of oranges and other citrus. If we are having a hard freeze which is not very often you just put a blanket over the tree. One of the best things about these citrus plants is their fragrance. They require special fertilizer to get them to bloom an fruit. I keep mine mulhed ut then I do that with everything, just some mulch materials are more appropriate.
Florida has adopted more things as official State this and that then any other state. For example as a child in elementary school we sang the Orange Blossom song daily.
I want to wake up in the morning where the orange blossoms grow,
Where the sun comes creepin’ into where I’m sleepin’,
and the song birds say hello.
I want to wander over yonder, Pick the fruit that’s hanging low,
I want to make my home in Florida where the orange blossoms grow.
But surprisingly the orange tree is not the state tree. In the next week I will reveal the name of the currently Official State song, tree and flower. And l’all can see what happens when politics fools with common sense.
In our area of North Florida there are two very unusual trees that occur naturally–the blue hophornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana ) and the hop hornbeam ( Ostrya virginana). I believe this is the former. They never grow very big maybe 25 feet tall. What distinguishes them is nothing during the Spriing and Summer or at least that is how I view them as just some understory tree. But in the Fall and particular the winter, they are the only understory trees that retain their leaves which hang downward and stay that way. Until one day in the Spring when they drop all the leaves and the new leaves start. i have never been able to catch that day. I’m not a botaanist and ca’t tell them apart except that I thinned my front forest and have two of each as part of creating some diversity. You can tell this is the Deep South because the photo above has a bit of Spanish moss–which is not a moss but I will discuss that some other day. The treesare known for their very strong trunks as “ironwood.” They established themselves quickly when planted out of 3 gallon pots and receive no special care.
Nandina is a plant introduced in our area for landscapes in the 1970’s. It comes China and Japan. It is called heavenly bamboo because its stems are long an bamboo like but the leaves are small and splotchy reds to green so it is attractive. It does not get dense dense growth like the Burford holly. It is planted for its showy bloomis, unusual foliage contrast and its racemes of abundant green berries that turn to bright orange and last months. Each about 4mm in diameter. The plant can get as high as 8 feet though now their are dwarf varieties tht grow onl to 5ft or ultra dwrf to just 2′3 feet. It can grwo in shade or full sun and tolerates various soils. There are numerous hybrids to show off different leaf colors and even different berry colors.
The problem with nandia is not that it sends rhyzomes a spreads locally (filling in an area of landscape or
more ) but that birds love the berries and they seed lage areas. It has become quite invasive. But because it isnot as dense it does not cause the same problems as ardesia which I will discuss next.