Floridata Article

Winter Solstice Poem

Salvia's red flowers are lonely in winter: hummingbirds have flown south. Photo by Ginny Stibolt
Wild salvia (Salvia coccinea) is still red in December.

Two weeks before solstice and all through the beds,
Mother Nature wows us with salvia so red,
But hummingbirds all flew south for the season,
Her holiday wishes must be the reason.

No partridges are sitting in my prickly pears,
The plum-colored fruit that this succulent bears,
Could be in dreams with those dancing sugar plums,
Be careful or those bristles could hurt your tongue!


Prickly Pears. Photo by Ginny Stibolt
Prickly pear fruit.

I thought I'd done all of my shopping, but wait,
There's a neighbor who's new to the sunshine state,
I'll buy the Everglades book, "River of Grass",
That Florida classic by Marjory Douglas.

My friend, just retired, has new gardening plans,
She needs Gil's book, 200 best native plants, 
Perhaps I'll give her a year's membership to,
Florida Native Plant Society's group.

Then there's the old lady who lives down the road,
She has a hard time bending or carrying a load,
I will offer her my gardening labor,
It's a pleasure to offer this favor.


I wish you riches: a dollar 
		  for every dollarweed pulled from your ditches. Photo by Ginny Stibolt
Dollarweed (Hydrocotyle umbellata)

I'll offer some slips from my favorite weeds,
or my dead flower heads with all those seeds,
I will smile when they grow in a neighbor's yard,
My plant bank deposits: it's not very hard.
In the future if my plants start to dwindle,
I'll ask that neighbor for slips to rekindle.

I wish you a great Christmas season and,
Good fortune in the year 2000 and seven,
And for each dollar weed pulled from your ditches,
May you get a real dollar: untold riches!


River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas is the classic book every Floridian should read. The beginning of this 50-year old book where she describes the Everglades' natural history is some of the most beautiful prose ever written about the natural world. The end of the book is a sad and bitter story dealing with man's attempted destruction of this unique environment. The 50-year edition includes an update on the state of The Everglades co-written by Douglas when she was 98 years old.

Florida's Best Native Landscape Plants by Gil Nelson was written in conjunction with The Florida Association of Native Nurseries. This unique book is not an armchair guide, but a thoroughly useful compendium for anyone who wishes to increase his or her use of native plants in the landscape.

Florida's Native Plant Society: There are 37 chapters (Including the Ixia Chapter here in Jacksonville) and this organization is an active group of knowledgeable and interesting people who wish to learn and do more. Join us: www.fnps.org.

Ginny Stibolt moved to northeastern Florida in 2004 and even though she's a botanist and lifelong gardener, Florida gardening was a shock. She started writing The Adventures of a Transplanted Gardener columns for the Times Union newspaper in Jacksonville. This is one of those columns archived here on Floridata.com for your enjoyment. Now she's written three Florida garden books published by University Press of Florida: Sustainable Gardening for Florida, 2009; Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida with Melissa Contreras, 2013, and The Art of Maintaining a Florida Native Landscape, 2015. Check out her blog for the latest news and articles: www.GreenGardeningMatters.com

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