A bank of bromeliads and adventurous eaglets

Governor DeSantis issued an executive order allowing most businesses to reopen this week and allowing restaurants to open with 25% indoor capacity and unlimited outdoor capacity. Obviously restaurants cannot open at that diminished level of business – they would be operating at a financial loss and their labor would be better off staying home and collecting enhanced unemployment benefits. So our local leaders are working on a plan this weekend to give restaurants around town temporary use of sidewalks and parking lot space – essentially to move all their dining operations outside.

I have the vague sense that our town is going to be lit for Cinco de Mayo, and I am looking forward to it. How this plan is going to work with regular, intense Florida thunderstorms remains to be seen. But at least they are doing what is necessary to prevent our town from turning into a place with ridiculously high unemployment and a lot of blight.

We have been going to the beach a lot to get take-out and play in the surf. Even without all the bars, Flagler Beach seems relatively normal now. Lots of people get drinks to-go from the restaurants and people just hang around talking on the streets and sidewalks. Occasionally the police drive past, but they aren’t enforcing anything after the protests. I’m not going to complain about all the government-loathing hippies living in beach towns ever again. They are the most healthy-minded people around these days. It is good for the soul to see people hauling around kayaks and paddle-boards again.

It would seem all this drama has been good for our neighborhood farmer’s market financially, as the normals do not want to deal with all the nasty preppers and hypochondriacs in the supermarkets and are going straight to the source for their food now. They are crowded all day long. Frankly, I love to see people eating and shopping local once again.

After hearing about old nutters trying to enforce the one-way signs on aisles themselves by using their buggies to block traffic and having meltdowns because someone is standing only five feet away from them in the checkout line, it’s going to take a miracle for me to set foot in Publix again anytime soon. And I used to love the southern manners that store was managed with. I can’t with the Boomers anymore. If they want to turn grocery shopping into some toxic Lord of the Flies experience, they can have it.

Anyway, the farmer’s market has branched out from selling produce, eggs, and freshly caught fish to selling flowers!

We stopped in to get some pineapple and mangoes to serve with a giant piece of halibut we bought from a local fisherman (a nice pairing, as halibut tastes like candy on its own). They had spread out table after table after table of these beautiful, tall bromeliads in a rainbow of colors. And they were super inexpensive. I love bromeliads – they look like they come from Mars, crazy alien plants. I bought as many as my SUV could hold and then came back for more.

I planted an entire bank of bromeliads on one of the front corners of our property. And they literally stop traffic. I have had so many people pull over their cars or ride their bikes up to our yard just to see what I was doing. And endless catcalls.

My royal poinciana tree finally arrived from Fast-Growing Trees too. It took several weeks to get here, but it is quite healthy and in excellent shape. I would highly recommend ordering plants from that online nursery. Be warned, however: If you live in places with large agricultural operations (like Florida), there are restrictions on what kinds of trees you can buy from their site, however. I had to get my orange, mango, and banana trees from a local nursery.

We fell in love with royal poinciana trees after spending a week down in Key West. Their leaves are closer to ferns than trees and they have gorgeous, flame-orange blooms year-round in tropical climates. Here is what a mature tree looks like.

I planted a bank of freesia and lavender, yellow, and “Qatar” varieties of callas. That was some seriously hard work, because I had to do a lot of soil prep in that area first thanks to all the tree roots. But I made it happen, so now I get to sit back and wait for them to pop up.

My garden project for next week will be a dahlia garden. I have a sprawling live oak tree to one side of the house. I am going to ring it with dinner plate and pom pom dahlias of various colors. I already have an interior ring of purple liatris that are beginning to come up.

Summer around here should be something to behold.

In other news, the neighborhood eaglets are getting braver and braver. I think they will be taking their first flight any day now. One of the pair has started venturing out on the branches around their nest. First step to freedom!

5-2-20-by beach

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