In the pink

I have a secret to tell that may shock you.  Even though I don’t do romantic comedies (unless Sandra Bullock is in them and they are more comedy than romance), don’t sit around reading romances, spend my days shopping, cry at movies or expect jewelry for all special occasions, I do have one very, very girly trait.  You see, my favorite color is pink, and despite being a lifelong tomboy, I will actually admit it.  I love pink in all its incarnations, from the most delicate petal pink to the most vibrant fuchsia.  I have been known to skip dinner because I was waylaid by something pink that caught my fancy, and I don’t skip dinner lightly.

That means that there is the one thing that I have to admit that I really love about Florida.  Because if Florida had an official state color, it would have to be pink.  Yes, I know, the water is so blue and the palm trees are so green!  Surely those are the colors of Florida?  Of course they aren’t!  There is probably more pink in Florida than anywhere else in the world outside of Bermuda and its pink beaches.

In Florida, you can paint your house pink and nobody will bat an eye at it, even if it is not in trailer park or on the beach. Pink houses fit in even the nicest, oldest, most stately neighborhoods, without looking the slightest bit out of place.  The one at the right is in the Duck Pond, which is one of Gainesville’s oldest neighborhoods, and is filled with beautiful historic homes like this.  In most of the world, the color scheme of this house would be pretty shocking, but somehow it works down here.

One of the reasons that a pink house fits in so well is that there is so much pink in the landscape.  There may be a week or two that flowers don’t bloom around here, but most of the year you will find blossoms in all different shades of pink.  Here, pale pink camellias peek out from between the dark green of the leaves, shyly showing their beauty.

Just around the corner, early azaleas, brought on by cold weather a couple of weeks ago, bloom in brilliant fuchsia.  These early blooms tend to be sparse, just a few flowers on each bush, allowing each one to stand out.  Later on, the bushes will be thick with blooms, showy and lush, but the individual blooms will be lost in the masses.

Redbuds are another early delight. These trees grow along the edges of forest, frequently nestled among oaks and maples.  Their blossoms grow along their branches, each one small, but together they make a big impression.

Later in the year, when it has gotten very hot again, there will be big, waxy white magnolia blossoms all over the place.  Those are the magnolias that people most associate with the south, and they are absolutely beautiful.  But right now, while the weather is still cool, there are many other varieties of magnolias, such as these early blooming pink ones.  If I were a gardener, I could tell you exactly which variety these are, but I’m not.  I’m just a blogger who likes pink flowers in January.

The petals on these flowers are not as thick and glossy as the later ones will be, so they don’t have that perfect shape, which adds to their charm.  The large magnolias are elegant flowers, but the pink ones are more playful, with layers of petals that vary in shade.  These more delicate pink magnolias are generally found on smaller trees than the white ones and aren’t as abundant as the standard variety, but they make me happy.

Of course, this is Florida, and some stereotypes are well-earned.  I had to laugh at this tableau, not only because it is pure Florida, but because right across the street sits the largest and grandest house in the neighborhood, which is not at all pink.

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