10. May 2011 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 11: Magnolias, Oleander and Other Florida Flora · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

We moved here in November, and by then most of the growing season was over.  So we’ve been greeted with all sorts of surprises over the past several weeks.  I’ve been taking lots of pictures of the pretty flowers blooming around here.

Unfortunately, these past few days all my photography has been with my iPhone camera, which is pretty good quality (for a smartphone camera)…but doesn’t give me the same flexibility as our Canon.  Dave had taken the Canon to Pennsylvania last weekend.

Magnolias are blooming here right now…so when I’m running in the neighborhood, I will pass a magnolia and enjoy the delightful fragrance…that awesome smell of “The South”.  On a run this past week, I decided to snap a few pictures of a pretty magnolia flower.

Any magnolia flower.  Anyone?  Anyone?

Oddly enough, after my run during my cooldown, when I decided to pull my iPhone from the sleeve and get the camera ready, I couldn’t find any easily-accessible magnolia flowers on the couple of blocks near my house.  I saw several in the distance in peoples’ backyards (I don’t walk through peoples’ yards to get photos), or else deep in the woods.

So I gave in — I went traipsing through a wooded lot towards a HUGE tree in full bloom. You can see the tree in the first picture, with the large oval dark glossy leaves.  It smelled wonderful!

I was wearing shorts and a tank top walking through this thick brush.  My skin wasn’t happy with me after this little adventure.

Isn’t it pretty there?  There’s a reason why those creamy white flowers are so popular in hotel room art…

This flower is about the size of my fist.  And it smelled SO GOOD!

I can’t wait to get out with my good camera for some photos!  This simply isn’t cutting it.  We’re totally missing the petal detail here…

As the title suggests, I’ll also be talking about oleander.  The first time I really encountered oleander was in Eastern Florida in 2002-2005, I was dealing with an infant/toddler all the while never forgetting “Oleander is poison!”  There were oleander hedges everywhere!  But I didn’t pay it much mind…

We now have a tall hedge of oleander in full bloom as a boundary between my yard and my neighbor to the right:

For the first time, this week I got up close and personal with these flowers and was impressed with the detail in the blooms! We have white, pink and fuschia flowers.

Who here has read the book “White Oleander” by Janet Fitch?  I remember reading it when it was an “Oprah’s Book Club” selection.  Who remember’s Oprah’s Book Club?  Ha ha!

Loving the ragged-edged inner petals!

Finally, enjoy some other flora I’ve seen around…

Loquats, anyone?  This was in full production on the edge of a house’s yard that I run past at least once a week.  Thanks to a couple of Facebook friends who helped me verify what these are.
Gardenia!  This is in my front yard — I cannot WAIT for it to open!  I’ll be out there as soon as it does — with our good camera!