Post last updated: October 10th, 2018
I have lived in Florida most of my life and was certain it was paradise on earth. Now, cough—choke—sputter, I’m not so sure.
Those signs proclaiming “Welcome to Florida, the Sunshine State” really don’t tell the whole story. “Sunshine State” sounds like Paradise, of course, but I’m here to tell you that it’s possible to get too much of a good thing. All that sunshine creates heat and humidity that make Florida summers the frying pan of the South. The August heat nearly wore out my skin. I was taking two showers a day even when I wasn’t working in the yard. I can’t stand sticky skin. Even my cat, Whiskey, howled at the door for admission to Blessed Air Conditioning.
“Sunshine State” also means you won’t be able to grow even half of what you see in gardening magazines. Cross the state line and you enter Zone 9. Just forget about blue spruce, astilbe, hosta, peonies, and that’s just the short list. Down in these parts, there is an encyclopedia of plants who pull up their own roots and commit suicide because there is no air-conditioning in the great outdoors. Bugs, on the other hand, love the tropical heat. We have a plethora of bugs and critters sufficient to creep out the most committed Bugologist. Thus, it would technically be more honest for the State of Florida to revise that welcome sign to “the Bug and Sunshine State.”
I just about gave up gardening the past two months. The August heat nearly finished me off then all that sunshine turned liquid in September. We had ten inches of rain. My fall veggie seeds were probably washed away to the next county. Glub, glub … water everywhere … wall to wall mushrooms…
I hope to feel better about the Sunshine State in November.