Native Florida plants provide wonderland for grandchildren

While I’ll always miss the daffodils, tulips and peonies that are harbingers of spring in the Northeast, I am constantly delighted by the explosion of color in my native Florida garden.

In a five-minute stroll the other morning, I found masses of yellow coreopsis, rudbeckia, starry rosinweed and dune sunflower, white flowers of native plumbago, pearlberry, little strongbark, blue ageratum, wild petunia, bluepea, and porterweed, violet beach verbena , brilliant red salvia, firespike and orangey-red firebush, coral honeysuckle and milkweed, as well as pink Panama rose (not native, but Florida-friendly, as is the firespike). Combined with all the orchids in full bloom growing in the gumbo limbo and sabal palms, this garden is a riot of color.

But more than that, it is such a happy, welcoming oasis in an increasingly urbanized world. My grandkids come here daily, exploring the trails that weave behind the teabush, Bahama senna and live oaks, and wind themselves among the wild coffee, Jamaica caper and cocoplum. They are completely hidden when they are back there, and love searching for caterpillars and their chrysalises. There are always butterflies fluttering about and birds chattering in the trees.

Previously from Kim Frisbie:In our own backyards, we can help heal the planet

More:Green gardening: Add color to your garden with native plants

The deep purple flower of the blue pea vine.

At night, the crickets sing and the fragrances wafting from the Simpson’s stopper and night-blooming jasmine are intoxicating, with a full moon shining through the thatch palms. There is no doubt in my mind that gardens are magical places; they restore your psyche, reduce your stress and make you a healthier person, all while imparting incredible joy and no small amount of awe at nature’s amazing capabilities.

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