Saturday, May 26, 2012

Flowers From Around Florida

I've been roaming Florida a long time. I have plenty of travel pictures using a variety of inexpensive digital cameras and along the way I've snapped a few shots of interesting flowers. Now that I have some really expensive cameras and lenses, I have hardly taken a single flower photo. After combing through my old pictures, I'm beginning to rethink that. Even though these photos are from across the state, you can take pictures of flowers year round and about five feet from your front door no matter how in town you might be. I won't pretend to know the names of these flowers or even care. From what I hear the most popular flower in Florida is the "Invasive Species". For some reason the native flowers are not all that popular. I'm sure there are readers out there that do know the names of these flowers and care very deeply about helping me identify them. That's why they are numbered. If you think you know what they are and where they are from originally, feel free to leave me a comment. At least I'll know someone is reading. For me it's more about the special memories of where I was and what I was doing when I snapped the shots and that's what I'm planning to share. If you want to visit the places I've been, click the links I so cleverly leave in bold type.

(1) Flamingo Gardens

This first flower is for Red Nomad Oz who has yet again thrown down a challenge.   Australia and Florida share a similar climate it seems. Well at sea level anyway. Red recently posted about flowers from downunder and then asked me to do the same. Challenge accepted. This Red beauty was found at Flamingo Gardens in Davie. Not only are there unusual flowers but also a small zoo and bird show. Any business in South Florida that can claim an 85 year history is doing it right and a must see. Be sure to have a friend feed the flamingos while you take a picture of their expression when they strike.

(2) Anne Kolb Nature Center
I found this prickly beauty at Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood. Don't let those whispy purple flowers fool you. There are three inch spikes right behind them. My favorite feature of this park are the elevated walkways through the mangroves. I have been there numerous times and frequently walk the paths. For some reason they don't seem all that popular with the visitors. You will find more folks at the kayak launch.There are plenty of kayak trails through the mangroves but be careful of the tides. Large portions are actually above the water line at low tide.

(3) Fairchild Gardens

This one will keep the botanists guessing a while. Give up? It's glass. Chihuly glass to be exact. Dale Chihuly brought his unique glass work to Fairchild Gardens in Miami a few years back. Not once but twice which was a first. I actually went to both presentations and was astounded both times. If you have never heard a Chihuly glass, click on the link above. He transforms glass into the shapes of nature. I've seen his work all over the world so it's very likely you have seen a piece or two. His exhibit at Fairchild consisted of hundreds if not thousands of pieces and were intermixed with the live outdoor plants, in the green houses, and floating in the ponds. Truly an unforgettable experience. 

(4) Fairchild Gardens
As far as the living plants at Fairchild Gardens, they have those in abundance. Most are outdoors and the place is enormous. I've been with friends who could simply not endure the summer heat so be careful. They have a variety of events during the year but I prefer the free weekends so keep an eye out for those. On the day I took this photo the sun was not really an issue but it broke through a cloud just long enough for me to get this shot. 

(5) University of Florida
When my daughter was looking into colleges, we paid a visit to the University of Florida in Gainesville.  She was not that interested in the college but we had a great time exploring the Butterfly Rainforest right on campus. It's part of the extensive Florida Museum of Natural History. After a quick tour of the campus, we spent the rest of our visit in the museum.

(6) Markham Park
This entire bouquet is no larger than my thumbnail. This was one of the first successful attempts at using the macro setting  on my old Sony Mavica. I was with some friends riding bikes around Markham Park in Davie when we stopped for a little break and sat in the grass. I fiddled with the camera setting and took this shot not realizing how awesome it was till I got home. Markham is better known for it's gun ranges and mountain biking trails than it's tiny flowers. As exciting as biking and shooting can be, I always like to stop and notice the little things in life. Tiny in this case.

(7) Micanopy

I came across this flower in Micanopy. This is one of the most unusual spots in Florida and I had one of the most unusual visits. Micanopy was built near the shores of a lake. A lake that was once so vast, steamboats would cross it. In 1891, a natural drain opened up and the whole lake disappeared. The area is now known as Paynes Prairie.
I had journeyed to see this marvel not realizing the town is a postage stamp. No hotels, no food, nothing close by and it was getting late. If I didn't spend the night, I was going to head on past it. I lucked into finding a bed and breakfast that was once a mansion and they had an open room due to a cancellation. The next morning I had the most extraordinary adventure spotting a buffalo and watching a pair of eagles feed their enormous chicks for hours. Between flights I took this picture.

(8) Morikami
One of my favorite local spots is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. If you want to fill your camera with beautiful images, this would be the one stop place to do it. Not only flowers but sculptures, water falls, zen rock gardens, and a museum with changing exhibits. There are plenty of events if you like a crowd or on non event days visit for a quiet stroll. They also have the best Bento Box lunch in town at the Cornel Cafe.

(9) Morikami
As many times as I've visited the Morikami, and all the photos I've taken, a surprisingly few are of flowers. I have an abundance of walkways, bamboo, tiles, bonsai, bridges, water features, drummers, a dragonfly, and a turtle. Next visit I will try and round out the collection.

(10) Silver Springs
Silver Springs in Ocala is better known for their glass bottom boats and crystal clear spring water rivers. They also have a wildlife park, botanical garden, and a few rides for those of you who want a little more out of a nature park than nature. I took this shot soon after my daughter was handed a baby alligator to hold. I remember decades ago Silver Springs was pretty much a boat ride. Now it's a full day experience.

(11) St Augustine

St Augustine is one of those magical places that once you visit you are always drawn to. I've been several times for the "romantic getaway" visit but my last trip was all about exploring. Starting with the tram to get the entire overview of the city, proceeding to the lighthouse, carriage ride, fort, and museums. A non-stop weekend totally worth the drive up and back. If you are forced into an afternoon of shopping, be sure to negotiate for an evening ghost tour as payback.

(12) Edison House
I think everyone will guess this is a rose but since it was found at the Edison Winter Estate in Fort Myers it may be a special breed. Thomas Edison was certainly a breed apart. His invention engine defined our modern world. Some 100 years ago we were still lighting our homes with whale oil. We have Edison and his lab to thank for the light bulb, recorded music, film, and thousands of other inventions that set our future on the path it has taken to bring us this amazing present. The grounds and museum take a look back at those early days and how it all began.

(13) Fairchild Gardens

Back to Fairchild Gardens. When I think of ponds I don't really think of flowers. I'm not sure where this beauty is a native of but it didn't seem to concerned about the blazing Florida sun. Most of it's fellow flowers were not holding up as well so I'm going to guess this was a very recent bloom. I have plenty of flower pictures from this visit but only a few floating on the water.

(14) Butterfly World
Butterfly World in Coconut Creek is one of those must see once places that you will likely visit again and again. It's been a while since I've been last and since then my camera collection has improved vastly. Although the butterflies are interesting, my favorite exhibit is the hummingbirds. I have a few good photos but with my new lenses I'm betting I can get some outstanding ones.

(15) Butterfly World

Of course Butterfly World has an outstanding array of flowers that the butterflies use for food. Since I was distracted by the butterflies, humming birds, and lorikeets I took very few flower pictures. If you don't know what a lorikeet is, you will be in for quite a treat when you have one on your finger, shoulder, or landing on your head.

Yet another fun challenge and chance to sort through ten years of photos with all the associated memories. Now a challenge to my readers. If you know the names of these flowers, pick a number and send me a comment. Remember Blogger is a Google product and comments work best with Google Chrome. If you have trouble leaving comments, send me an email and I'll post it for you.


  1. That is a very big collection of beautiful flowers. Great shots.


  2. I have my first email. #6 Lantana, #11 Dianthus, #12 Camellia, and #14 Zinnia. Thanks Debbie.

  3. Better late than never, huh?!?!?! Awesome collection!

    Of course you just HAD to post more than I did to show me up, right?!?! But I bet you haven't made a calendar out of yours ... so I'm still ahead!!

    Some of those look familiar - some SO NOT!!!

    Here's what does: #1 Anthurium (LOVING that RED!!!!); #2-Bougainvillea; #4-not sure, but I've seen it in down here, maybe in the botanic gardens; #5-Impatiens (???); #6-Confirm Lantana; #7-Flag Iris (?-pretty sure!) #9-Hoya; #10-Canna; #11-Confirm Dianthus; #13-Waterlily/Lotus; #14-Looks more like an Echinacea flower, but wrong colour for downunder!!; #15-Passionfruit!!

    So your latitude theory worked then!!!

  4. @ Red - Ummmmm.... I did make a calendar one year out of a lot of these a few years back.... I only made 3 copies though. You are one serious blogger. Everyone go right now to and see how it's done. As always, thanks for pushing me to do just a little bit better with my own blog.

  5. I'm pretty sure you don't live in Florida, but rather on Mars. Those flowers are awesomely alien. Love them! Hope the beginning of your summer has been nice. And hope everything else is going great for you too!

  6. @ Tex - Sometimes I think I live on Mars as well. The nice thing about living here is that the whole world comes for a visit. The bad thing is they bring their alien plans and creatures that grow bigger, better, and faster then they do in their home land.

  7. Beautiful pictures.
    Got to this page late and was disappointed that the three I knew were already named :(
    With regard to #6, the Lantana, many nurseries sell them to be part of butterfly gardens. Supposedly they attract them.
    # 2, the bougainvillea, are more commonly a deep pink color and common along trellises around so. fla.