Monday, November 8, 2010

Two Gardens

Fall has certainly arrived if not winter. The weather has been cold and the gray that I hate so much now tarnish the skies over my garden. My NJ garden is falling apart rapidly and with the impending move to Florida I have not taken the time to do much work on it except to bring indoor all the potted plants that will perish or that I don't want to be cracked by the cold weather.

There is a little bit of color all around. The hydrangeas are on their last legs but still display marvelous hues of the season. Similarly the Fall Sedum is so covered in flowers that you can barely make out any of the leaves.

Probably the most striking plant in the fall garden is Amsonia hubrichtii pictured below at my friend Carmen's garden. No flowers just gold threads to fall all over. Here she has contrasted it with cobalt blue glass which even intensifies the gold and the cobalt more.

Just 18 hours by car south of my Collingswood garden in Tarpon Springs the gray is entirely different. It can be seen in the sky but as moss hanging from the branches of the Live oaks.

As you can see the skies are rich blue and sunny and the flowers are as brilliant as ever. Everyone here is complaining that the weather is too cold. Yes, there is a cold spell going on, but temperatures are hovering in the sixties! People I have talked to from Nebraska, Michigan and upstate New York said that when they first got here they found temperatures in the 60's warm, now after years in exile they find it cold and stay indoors. For me that is an experience yet to come.
I am still enthralled with the discoveries of so many wonderful and fresh experiences, like hedges of mixed hibiscus plants rather than hedges solid stalwart puritanical privet.

A Clerondendron vine locally called Bleeding heart vine has surfaced on my privacy fence and may make contact with the mango. I am not sure if these two are to meet as I don't want the fence destroyed over time, but for now it looks exotic and strange to me.

Bromeliads are everywhere, they are used as groundcover and as I use liriope up north. People plant them as ground cover and then they bloom! Wow! There are so many different types of inflorescence that defy description. I look forward to working with them. I have many around my garden scattered here and there.

Walking the edge of the bayou is slightly different than walking around Newton Creek in Collingswood. As I mentioned before waters here can mean gators and manatees, but then there are plants you can only dream of like this baby red rooted mangrove getting a foothold along the banks of Spring Bayou.

There are many trade offs that take place leaving the sophistication of northern living and coming to this very laid back relaxed environment where nature is so prevalent and people contemplate creation in a different manner than northerners. For one, I thought that during the previous election Florida was showing good progressive signs away from the days of Terry Schiavo in which Governor Jeb Bush intervened on behalf of Christians and right to life groups to prevent the husband from disconnecting his wife to the machines that kept her alive for 12 years in a vegetative state. Of course there were the hanging chads and if you dig even further back you can find Anita Bryant banging the drum of intolerance. Yes, most of the blue to be seen in the area has certainly disappeared in the current election. Tampa's Hillsborough County is the only blue left along with a few other spots near Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale. While I think of it, back home in Collingswood it is still blue in Camden and Philadelphia Counties in a sea of red just like here.

I left Cuba because of the conditions of intolerance, lack of freedom and opportunity faced by my parents. Regardless how I may feel about all the red around me, this country will recover and the tide will swing in another direction. I will help, as the area has just gained another Democrat. For now, I will concentrate on surviving the best way I know how and in the process enjoy the tropics. Happy gardening!

1 comment:

  1. As a dyed in the wool conservative, the moment I move down there we'll cancel each other out! Loved the pic of the amsonia hubrechtii in my garden, never thought about the blue accent next to it which indicates that your eye is much better educated than mine. That clerodendron has to stay and prosper by that wall, please. Eveything I see reminds me of home, too, after tall those Caribbean islands are pretty much interchangeable and the people have moved freely around that area for eons. Three of my four great-grandfathers were from Cuba.