Florida in the Fall
It is officially Fall now, and I have seen a leaf or two change color, but what Fall really means in Florida is that the weather is not too hot to bear, and there are flowers everywhere. It was almost exactly a year ago that I told you, my faithful reader, about my son’s sunflowers and ginger. He has since moved out to his own apartment with some of his friends, but his garden is still here.
The sunflowers mirror the sun itself, turning to face it and lifting up their golden heads. Throughout the course of the day, they move their faces to soak up its warm rays. These have much smaller heads than the sunflowers we usually think of, with longer petals and nothing in the way of seeds. Every year, their gawky stems grow in an ugly mass, and every year I think I need to get rid of them. Then suddenly, one day I look out the back door, and there they are! The profusion of blooms makes the earlier ugliness all worthwhile.
In another part of the yard, my son planted bitter ginger. This is not the kind you eat or make ginger ale out of, it is just for beauty. Ginger loves slightly swampy soil, which means it grows very nicely in Gainesville. It’s an amazing plant, with bright green leaves, which unlike the sunflowers are always pretty.
Less obvious are the ginger flowers. Around this time of year, a cone emerges, which oozes a gingery-smelling liquid when squeezed (imagine that, ginger smells like ginger!). From that cone, a small pale yellow flower grows. Like many tropical and semi-tropical plants, the blooms are tucked away like secret treasures beneath the large leaves.