Tropical exposures

There is a softness to the early evening light lately that I really love.  Almost everything looks beautiful in this light, with just a little extra color.  It helps make everything a little lusher, a little more tropical feeling.  The newness of the foliage makes everything a little brighter, and if you can ignore the pollen and keep from sneezing, a little bit happier.  With temperatures warm enough to go swimming and enjoy the springs and beaches, but still in the bearable zone, this is a great time of year to be in Florida, enjoying the tropical landscape.

My banana tree has begun to get its new leaves in the last week, and I hope it will have a flower or two soon.  Banana flowers are weirdly beautiful, not at all what you might think of as a flower at all.  They hide beneath the leaves, and you really can miss them if you aren’t looking, even though they are a rather bright purplish red.  This tree was a rescue tree.  Someone was going to throw it out because it isn’t very productive anymore.  We usually only get a few small bananas from it, but I love the way it looks.  The leaves are huge, almost as long as I am tall.  In the one on the left, you can see how they are striped in nearly perfect parallel lines.  They tear easily along these lines, which makes them bend more easily.  When the weather turns colder, the leaves all die and turn brown, but they don’t fall off.  The brown leaves become papery, and I have often thought that they would be wonderful to draw or paint on.

Right now, however, the leaves are green, and unfurling at a rapid pace.

This succulent is in my neighbor’s yard, and I generally ignore it since they have some other really interesting plants.  Tonight, though, the warmth of the light made it stand out, enhancing the red of its spines.  I love the wavelike arms.  A few days ago, I posted some of the buds of this flower, and finally, I have photos of the flower itself.  I am not sure what it is, but the pinwheel of petals is very appealing.

Where I really love this early evening light is on the birch trees outside my own fence because it absolutely transforms them.  During mid day, when the sky is that bright, bright blue, they look as if they could be in Scandinavia, with their wintry white trunks.  The color of the light in the evening warms them up and makes them look more as if they belong in the Florida landscape.



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