Tuesday, October 11, 2011

M.E. DePalma Park is in Bloom

For 125 miles, from Jupiter in the North, to Florida City in the South, and around 25 miles wide at its widest, South Florida sprawls over some very tightly packed neighborhoods.  Include the Keys and you have another 125 miles although some of those Keys are land only because Flagler put it there building the railroad that was washed away in the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935.

South Florida can be a very unnatural landscape indeed.   Tract homes built in the 1950s and 1960s that are low slung to shelter from those storms, and the newer talller two story buildings that were built to accomodate larger rooms as well as higher profits. 

Imagine trying to sleep on a second or third floor with no air conditioning on a day that is 96F and no electricity to turn a fan.   Foolish.

Homes are build low slung in a hurricane zone for a reason.  Taller buildings are a target.

There are very few places that haven't been paved over in South Florida, at least in Dade and Broward Counties.  Until you get West, the parks are the only place where you see truly natural areas, and those are usually only natural in the margins where the lawn mower can not reach.

On the other hand I consider myself fortunate.  There, in M.E. DePalma Park,  is a small vest pocket area near me that has been planted with native species.  Orange Trees are not native, entertaining and yes, I have one, but not native.  A lawn is an ecological disaster of a "monoculture" that does not exist anywhere but in an artifice.  Yet we have them.

Parks like this one that are planted with native species show that natural can be beautiful places where butterflies dance on the breezes, the scent of blossoms on the air, and the splendor of flowers greet the eye.  They serve to educate us on the beauty that was pushed aside for that 2/1 on a small lot.  They do require care so that the Dragon Flies can dive bomb the Mosquitoes that would take up residence in a controlled landscape.  After all, entropy in a garden left untended would turn anything in the tropics into a riot of Virginia Creeper and stinkweed. 

At this point of the wet season where everything is growing rapidly, the effort needed to rip out all those annoying vines in my own garden is a necessary evil.  The other side of that coin is the beauty of the flowers that are there right now.  Walking by this plot of land results in being dive bombed by Dragon Flies and followed by flocks of butterflies.  Last night all of this happened while there was a double rainbow bright enough to show the seven colors plus the stripe for Ultraviolet.  Needless to say when there was a gap in the clouds, the flowers there gave a riot of color.

This being the wet season, these plants are happiest and thriving.  They are also on irrigation, so it is assumed that without that help in the dry season, most of these plants would end up being annuals.  After all, an empty lot in Broward County Florida tends to be very hit or miss with what can grow there.   Scrub Land unless it is adjacent to a spring or other water source.

Luckily, with a little cropping, the picture can allow the viewer to think they're in a vast tropical garden far away from all instead of standing on the edge of a smaller than usual plot of land planted cheek-to-jowl with these natives.  With a little more maturation, those trees and shrubs may grow tall enough to give a view of nature without interruption.  Until they do, a light crop results in what you see.

I take a retail approach to photography.  Take dozens of shots and see what the computer will give you when zoomed in.  I am fortunate to have scenes to take a picture of.  In this case, the original is now my background on this laptop replacing the bland corporate blue HP thing that came with the machine.

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