But Florida! Aaaaahhhhhhh…. In the middle of March, the bougainvillea was in full bloom. A single tangerine hibiscus petal was later than my hand. Brugmansia flourished. Fruit hung from the trees. Plants that I had only known as houseplants grew outdoors as weirdly oversized landscape features. The jungle pressed in from all sides.
People who winter there told me, "When I leave for the summer, I just hang my orchids in the trees." And sure enough, every house had a tree decorated with orchids the way you'd hang birdseed-covered pine cones on your evergreens at Christmastime.
And so it was not long before I was thinking, "Why, yes. If I lived here, I would surely hang orchids in the trees." And collect giant hibiscus, and grow bougainvillea in every one of its crazy colors, and plant a citrus grove. And because gardens in Florida can be overwhelmingly green with all that jungle foliage, I was already imagining how I'd fill the garden around the pool with insane,over-the-top color by using all those crazy new coleus, lots of variegated canna, and Setcreasea 'Purple Heart,' among others. And of course, I'd put in an herb garden with enough mint and lemongrass to keep me in fresh cocktail ingredients all year long. And I'm pretty sure there are a lot of interesting datura and salvias they could be growing around there, so I would surely try those too.
I mean, I was making plant lists! I even went so far as to page through Hot Plants for Cool Climates when I got home, foolishly imagining that I might just go ahead and disregard the chilly grey weather entirely and just get tropical, right here in the Pacific Northwest.
But I'm over it. Really I am. Because we all know what would happen if I ever did get my fantasy tropical Florida garden.
I'd start complaining about how the salty air makes it impossible to grow anything. And the hurricanes. And the bugs. You know I would. So I return, with some regret, to my regularly-scheduled garden, but not before pausing for a minute to wonder if it would be legal to have some flamingos and peacocks in this fantasy garden of mine. Because they're probably no trouble to take care of at all….