Gaining a Little Green

Upon touching down in Fort Lauderdale, Florida last week on the way to an even warmer climate, my first response was, “It’s green”.  It doesn’t take long to miss the color, at least for me and gaining a little bit of green in the winter is the goal of every spring breaker, in addition to another part of the green equation…the sun.  I can sometimes have a one track mind taking one too many floriferous photos on vacation, but now I can have an excuse, sharing them with all of you.

We took a cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and lastly the Bahamas.  The plants were not my only concern.  Among many other things like Rum punch, gourmet food, and dessert atleast twice a day, I had found some interesting greenery and was among good company of other plant lovers (in-laws).

Becca LaBarre

Becca LaBarre

Being that I didn’t study these beauties in the pictures above, I am only taking an educated guess on this tree.  I believe it is Acacia.

Becca LaBarre

Near the edges of a rain forest in Puerto Rico, you find this native Caribbean flower called Queen’s Wreath, Petrea volubilis.

The rain forest also held another tree that had a very interesting job…rain prediction.  Move over Tom Skilling, if this tree was native to Chicago, you might be out of a job.  The tree has white undersides to the leaves.  About 15 minutes before it going to rain, the leaves turn over.  They receive water through the leaves instead of the roots.  A story only a plant nerd could love.  I unfortunately didn’t get to take a picture myself because it got too dark, but I found another example.

Denis Alexander Torres

This is called the Yaruma tree or Weathervane tree.

Becca LaBarre

The above is a Tropical Hibiscus related to Rose of Sharon.  I wish this one would grow in the Chicagoland area.

Becca LaBarre

This is Bougainvilla Vine that was in bloom all over St. Maarten and the Bahamian beach, Princess Cays.  This one is an annual in the northern climate.  The very showy fuchsia pink, orange, yellow, red, purple or white bracts around the white flowers are well worth replacing each year due to our cold winters.

A retreat to greener pastures in the Caribbean meant much needed inspiration for bolder, brighter, and leafier landscape designs for me.  If nothing else, it was a reminder that the sun does shine somewhere in January and we won’t be frozen forever.

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