Did Dr. Seuss take a walk in Boca?

About a year after we redid the landscape at our house, Florida native style, the landscaper we worked with sent Eric the classic book on environmental thinking for the young: Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. You remember it, I’m sure: truffula trees, brown bar-ba-loots, swomee-swans, all cavorting in a pre-development paradise.

Well, one of the things I’ve always sort of enjoyed about south Florida is how Seussian the landscape is. Even more than southern California with its joshua trees (although those are native), the flora here in Florida seems to have come straight from the pages of Dr. Seuss.

[…]

Wet season = swim season

The rainy season began last week in south Florida, a full 10 days ahead of schedule. But the swim season, which coincides pretty closely with the rainy season, officially began this weekend, courtesy of our friends Jennifer and Mark, their backyard pool, and their collection of pool toys.

Everyone’s first swim can be tough, but Eric seemed to take to the water fairly nicely. After a while, that is. Quite a while…

[Show as slideshow] Related Images:

Cubans in Florida

With Fidel Castro’s health in serious decline the last few years, the media here in south Florida are waiting with bated breath to hear of the long-reigning leader of the island nation, and its communist government, to expire. Waves of human and animal exodus from the island have marked Florida, though. I discovered one in my garden this morning.

[…]

The wet season is upon us!

After a long, dry winter, it looks like the rainy season has come to south Florida a bit early. May 21 is the median date of onset of the summer season, with a good chance of it being up to 10 days early or late. Yesterday the house rain gauge showed nearly a tenth of an inch, and it rained again today, so perhaps our long dry spell is coming to an end. Rain is forecast for the weekend, too:

The rainy season arrives at last

[…]

Limbless lizards

It was a dry winter here in subtropical Florida, with quite a bit less rain than normal since November. The temperatures haven’t been too unbearable, but the weekend before Easter brought a taste of summer: mid-80s, humid, and plenty of sun. That weekend also happened to be one of the few that I had time to get my hands a little bit dirty in the garden. So, there I was, weeding the cocoplum/palm/oak islands in the front yard. And then, when I couldn’t take it any longer and moved over to a shady corner of the house, I discovered […]

Science, big and small

Aaron E. Hirsh’s guest column yesterday in The Wild Side, one of the New York Times‘ science blogs, touches on a subject near and dear to my heart: the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, one of the longest-running experiments in Citizen Science this country has ever seen. I’ve participated in the last 5 years of counts in Palm Beach County, and look forward to doing many more.

The CBC is an example of how to do “big science” in ways that involve the people who pay for it. On the one hand, it’s blatantly self-serving: without a public that is […]

What’s in a name?

Really, I’m asking. What is in a name? Tarflower is a beautiful plant of Florida’s scrub and pine flatland areas. It’s a large wildflower or good-sized shrub in the Ericaceae, or heath, family. The flower is distinctive, with its 7 pinkish white petals, completely free (i.e., not joined together), arrayed around those central pistils. The common name gives a good idea of its strategy to deter nectar snatchers (ants, houseflies, etc., who might be tempted to take its nectar without “paying” for it–that is, without performing the pollination services for which plants evolved their nectar-facilitated reproductive strategy): it traps freeloaders […]

Petals, golden. Leaves, shiny.

Today at Fern Forest I was able to confirm the identity of yesterday’s mystery wildflower: Crotalaria pallida. And today’s gallery has a few more pictures of it, along with some more familiar friends: Golden Aster and that perennial party-pooper, Toxicodendron radicans. Poison Ivy. See the gallery below.

[Show as slideshow]

It rained yesterday

at Fern Forest. And when you visit this place after a recent rain, you have to be ready for anything: resurrection ferns bursting out all over the place, in various stages of rebirth:

[…]

Park substitutes

Broward County parks are closed on Tuesdays, so Fern Forest is off limits. On my intermittent searches for a substitute park, I’ve run across some pretty nice places. Windmill Park, on Lyons Road just north of Atlantic (less than a mile from Fern Forest, actually), is OK. Today, though, I went back to the first park I visited when I started working at the soon-to-be-vacated office location: Hampton Pines Park, in North Lauderdale. It’s just a few miles west on McNab Road.

[…]