Gingers in bloom and a truly magnificent seafood pot pie

The beginning of June is one of my favorite times of year in the garden (even though it is scorching hot outside here in Florida). This is when the gingers begin to bloom!

In addition to orchids, ginger plants are some of the biggest showstoppers of tropical gardens. I plant as many varieties as I can get my hands on, including culinary gingers. I have planted quite a few orchids too (reed orchids and hardy ground orchids). I am trying to work up the nerve to plant some dangling from my trees.

My Persian shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus) plants have grown quite enormous. They’ve formed a large bank in the shade of one of my crepe myrtles. I had read that if you plant these in deep shade, the purple foliage would become more and more radiant. I underestimated how much.

We found a local restaurant that we inexplicably had not already dined at. This is the best dish I have had lately: a seafood pot pie! It is stuffed with fish, shrimp, clams, with a giant lobster claw sticking out the top. Served with tempura green beans and a Dijon aioli.

I am also pretty excited about having new neighbors. They moved here from New York City, but the woman is originally from Puerto Rico. As we have started family Spanish language lessons in the evenings, we now have a Spanish-speaking neighbor to practice with in conversation (and Latin American Spanish specifically). And we can talk to her about the Caribbean before we get our boat. What a tremendous blessing.

She’s also terrified of reptiles, which is kind of hilarious considering they now live in Florida. She and Elise are already best friends. Every time she shrieks, Elise darts over with her net and reptile box and catches the offending intruder. The poor creature passes quickly from someone who hates it to an aspiring herpetologist, who perhaps loves it more than it might wish to be loved.

Finally, she’s a retired school teacher. The first thing she said to me was “your child is brilliant, with such an incredible vocabulary.” When I told her that we homeschooled our daughter, she replied with “fantastic, that’s exactly what I would be doing with my kids now too.” This got her going about how Common Core is failing students, leaving many unprepared for college work, and how she’d read the encyclopedia to her kids in the evenings after work. (Her daughter is now in medical school.) I don’t know why, but it is always surprising to me when experienced school teachers are the biggest advocates for homeschooling.

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