It's 42 degrees in Pure Florida as the sun rises.
Yesterday I walked through my woods looking for the Halloween Tree. There were a lot of gnarly candidates, but I couldn't seem to make up my mind. This could be the last Halloween tree with all of us home and I wanted it to be a good one. I walked through the planted pines, behind the never miss pistol range, down the go kart trail, into the unknown corner, past the pit of paleontology, and was about to turn towards the pond of dessication, when ... there it was!
Along the fence of leanoverness, a scrubby turkey oak was sporting a twisty branch just begging to become this year's Halloween tree. I whipped out my Razorback pruning saw and soon the tree was in place.
Some of you, (probably those of you in the front row who pay attention), may remember my illegal dump scavenging post and the amazing jar of wonder I pulled from beneath the "Scavenging Not Allowed" sign. That jar is now clean, filled with pebbles and is the support base holding up our Halloween tree. The tree is behind me as I type this morning. I roughed it up some yesterday to give it "the look" and now all it needs is Emma the Halloween sprite to direct it's decorating. She is our holiday cheerleader, always the first to dig stuff out and start decorating.
This isn't really the Halloween tree post, it's just that all that searching yesterday made me think about plants and the memories associated with them. The Halloween tree is just one example. The wishing leaf from a few posts back is another.
We all have them, here are a few of mine ...
Aunt Florence's guava tree. Aunt Florence was my Dad's sister and loved her plants. The tough, cold tolerant guava in her yard would occasionally make fruit, a rarity in North Florida, for this is a very tropical plant.Mostly it was just a green shrubby bush. Not too long before she died, Dad gave me some suckers off her plant, and they are now growing near my porch steps. Aunt Florence, her husband, son, and two daughters are gone now ... an entire chunk of my extended family that is no longer with us. My Aunt Florence guava never bears fruit, but it is laden with memories.
Horsemint and gaillardia take me back to those heady days, just out of college, when I was going to be a famous freelance nature photographer/writer. This picture was part of my first paid, published article in Florida Wildlife magazine back in the '80's. There were a few more, but as responsibility crept in, there was a need for more reliable paychecks.
Datil peppers will forever make me think of my grandfather who was THE datil pepper man in St. Augustine for decades. Everyone in town knew where to get the best datil pepper plants ... and a story. He could tell a tale. At his funeral, datil peppers were slipped into the open casket by my uncle. I have always thought that simple gesture of love would have made Papa very happy.
The pindo palm above is a descendent of a pindo that grew outside my first classroom. One day after school,I heard a thump, thump, outside my room so I went to investigate. A small pack of little kids were tossing a broken brick up into the tree to knock down the edible fruit. It was a moment out of prehistory. This could have been Lucy and her tribe on an African savannah a few million years ago.
This modern tribe thought they were in trouble, but I took the brick and knocked down a shower of fruit (after a warm up toss that didn't count). It was kind of like a palm pinata scramble at that point, but I did manage to grab a few of their cast off seeds and plant them later. This one grows at my Mom and Dad's place. The parent palm was cut down along time ago, the little kids are all grown, but I can see them clearly when I see this tree.
There's alot more of course. Lucky for you Blogger will only let me post 4 pics at a time.
Of course, it would be alot more interesting to hear about your memory plants.
As soon as the Halloween tree is dressed in it's finest, I will post a pic. Just remember, it's not a Martha Stewart frufru thing. It's more ...
... rustic ... yeah, like us, very rustic.