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Gardening Saturday: The Art of South Florida Gardening

Only the female papaya bears edible fruit, and the only way to tell a male from a female is by the tree’s blossoms. The male’s flowers bloom on long racemes that are lovely in arrangements. The female’s single flattened bell-shaped blossoms appear above the leaf joints just before the fruit begins to form. There are  >> READ MORE

Nature Friday: Barrier Islands of the Florida Gulf Coast Peninsula

Barrier islands are present all over the globe, from the Equator north to the Arctic and south to the Antarctic, accounting for some 15% of Earth’s coastline. In the United States, they are present to some extent on the Pacific Coast, while nearly the entire lengths of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are lined by  >> READ MORE

Cracker Thursday: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and the Florida Crackers

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings loved to tell stories, even when she was a young child. When she learned how to write, she wrote stories on anything that was handy. If she couldn’t find a sheet of paper, she would write on paper bags! Her parents were delighted by her interest, and told her that she didn’t  >> READ MORE

Ghosts Wednesday: Ghost Tales from the Oldest City

Just north of the City Gate lies the Huguenot Cemetery – also known as the Public Burying Ground. This half-acre plot was established in 1821, the same year that Florida became a United States Territory. That year people began to come south in droves to this semi-tropical land; to put down roots, improve their health  >> READ MORE

Travel Tuesday: The Springs of Florida

In the center of springs country, a spring with the largest known flow in the world and Florida’s first famous spring attraction—Silver Springs, in business now for more than 150 years—is now a Florida State Park. Perhaps Spanish explorers were the first tourists to Silver Springs where the hull of a small boat thought to  >> READ MORE

Fiction Monday: Havana, Cuba, Tuesday evening, February 15, 1898

Though it was the middle of February, the Cuban night was unseasonably warm and quiet. As if the island were exhausted from the tragedies endured by its inhabitants, only the tiniest breath of humid air ruffled the water from the far side of the harbor. Above me, a fleeting glimpse of constellation Leo could be  >> READ MORE

History Sunday: Discovering the Civil War in Florida

The Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park commemorates the largest Civil War battle fought on Florida soil. On February 20, 1864, the Battle of Olustee resulted in the third bloodiest Union defeat of the entire war based on the ratio of casualties to troops involved. In 1899, the Florida state legislature selected a commission to raise  >> READ MORE

Gardening Saturday: 100 Orchids for Florida

Want orchids to adorn your home and garden with color and beauty? Try the oncidiums. These are a large diversified group of orchids, most plants in the genus are warm growers, suitable for Florida’s temperature and light. While the flowers are smaller than cattleyas, the plants produce a wealth of bloom, as many as one  >> READ MORE

Nature Friday: Florida’s Uplands

Like most of the scrub’s other animals, the mammals are mostly burrowers. One, the Florida mouse, uses the gopher tortoise burrow as a main chamber and creates its own dwelling in the tunnels that branch from it. Over years of evolutionary history, the Florida mouse has become a light tan color that closely matches the  >> READ MORE

Cracker Thursday: Classic Cracker

This is important to note. From the configuration of the simplest pioneering cabin, the single-pen house, down through its double-pen or dog-trot offspring, the homes of the Crackers had maintained a formal dignity. The ubiquitous I-house, the Cracker plantation house and, finally, the “late Cracker” four-square Georgian – in all these the classic principles of  >> READ MORE