The big box stores are full of plants, some of which will grow in Florida, and some of which are nothing but heartache. They SAY these plants are all zone specific to our area – it’s a big fat lie. Many of the plants they sell will last a short while, but were never meant to grow here.
I planted a lot of seeds last year, and got tomato plants of many varieties, but only one actually produced fruit, a golden drop tomato. I bought plants, and one plant, bought from a local gardener at an annual gardener’s fest, produced copiously – the Black Krim. We tried growing crook neck squash and zuccini, but one day our plants looked healthy and fabulous, and the next, they would be withered and broken, eaten from the inside by some boring insect. Literally boring, not figuratively speaking.
At a meeting this week (which I am so glad I attended) the director of the local Manna Food Pantry program was telling us about the Manna community gardens, and he mentioned a squash that will grow, the Seminole squash or pumpkin.
I’ve spent two days touring nurseries and open markets to see if I can fine one. One nursery had heard of it but said you usually see it later in the season, you plant it like in July so that you will have first fruits in September.
The rules for gardening are so different in Florida. I am learning, but it is all counter intuitive, except that in Kuwait gardening was similar – people yearned for October, when you could set out plantings and hope they would not be destroyed by the heat.
Bougainvillea is an exception. You would think it would grow beautifully in this heat and humidity, but I am told that the cool winters kill it off. It doesn’t really get that cold for that long, but it seems it is cold enough and long enough to kill bougainvillea, which breaks my heart. I love the flamboyant lushness of bougainvillea.
Meanwhile, we will be planting other zone-hardy plants, and we will see what works. If you see a Seminole Pumpkin / Squash plant for sale, let me know, will you?
Tonight the full moon will be closer to the earth than at any other time for many years to come. AdventureMan and I are heading out with a little picnic to watch the moon rise from a tiny park we know.
When I got back to Kuwait, I had to regain my driving courage all over again. I remember growing up, when we would go to fairs and carnivals, where I loved to ride the bumper cars. We were all aggressive; we wanted to win. It never occurred to me that there would be countries where people would drive real cars that way. Touch wood, I never had an accident in Kuwait, and I learned how to drive aggressively but somehow stayed safe.
Driving in Pensacola is a piece of cake – most of the time. Suddenly, we have some TRAFFIC. There are cars on the road from all over, never fewer than two or three in every car, usually dressed in beach gear, and full of high spirits. It is Spring Break. People are flocking to the gorgeous white beaches of Pensacola, spilling out of the lively beach restaurants, and even some of the restaurants in downtown Pensacola. College students, families (local schools are also on spring break) and the snow birds are filling our roads, not entirely sure where they are going.
In one of our favorite nearby restaurants, we saw some college age kids come in, and then another group, all greeted familiarly by the owners, and then their tables were joined so they could all sit together – locals, back home from university for Spring Break.
It’s a sweet time of the year. The weather is in the high 70′s, cooling down at night. We have the a/c off, we keep it off as long as we can.