February 24, 2015
When Les at A Tidewater Gardener announced he was hosting the Winter Walk-Off meme again, I paused a bit. Instead of walking, I'd decided to "fly off" this year--spending the end of winter along the Gulf Coast of Florida. But Les said it was OK to participate, even though I'm posting far from home.
So, the other day as I walked to church, I snapped some photos along the way. It was a beautiful, sunny day, with temperatures in the mid-70s (24C). The path I walked was paved most of the way--along a residential street, interspersed with some "wilder" areas.
One of the first displays I noticed was a tree trunk, with climbing cactuses and Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) growing up the side. I don't know if this was intentional, but the "mixed media" of the pine cones and needles at the bottom--combined with the moss, the cactuses, and the interesting bark--created a pleasant effect. I believe the cactus is some species of Selenicereus.
Most of the plants along the route were tropical--unsuited or uncommon outdoor plants in my part of the country. But I did notice Common Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia), which also blankets the Midwest during the growing season. Seems it will grow anywhere.
I was surprised to see this small cactus (some species of Opuntia?), growing in the middle of someone's lawn. I would think this would make lawn-mowing a bit challenging.
This agave and cactus combination was dramatic. I've included the surrounding large trees to show the scale. I'd estimate the agave was about six to seven feet tall, with the cactus nearly double its height at the top.
Fan Palms (Sabal minor?) were everywhere. This small grouping was attractive--I imagined it growing in a pot on a patio somewhere. The light here makes it look brighter than it really was.
Even more prevalent was the Spanish Moss, hanging from huge trees,
Along the path,
Coexisting with epiphytes,
And, actually, draping just about everywhere. For those who see Spanish Moss all the time, you're probably chuckling at my fascination. I can't help it--I find it incredibly beautiful.
From a distance, as well as close-up.
At several points along the mile-long path, there were large swatches of preserve or private property. I kept noticing the beautiful clearings and meadows, surrounded by tropical plants.
I thought this grouping of epiphytes, ferns, trees, and mosses was enchanting.
Another view of the private "wild" property on one side of the route.
As I drew closer to my destination, the path wound through a beautiful forest clearing.
A bench, framed by Bougainvillea (B. glabra) outside an artist's studio welcomed travelers to sit and rest a spell.
Also welcoming was this very tame egret. He was hanging around the church grounds, and paused long enough for me to capture a few mugs.
I snapped many more individual plant photos, which I plan to share in a future post. This was an unusual winter walk-off for me. I'm starting to feel a little guilty for spending the end of winter in such a pleasant place.
Visit Les's A Tidewater Gardener blog for more Winter Walk-Off posts from interesting locations.