In the Garden:
Tropical South
August, 2004
Regional Report

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The Gourd Garden in Santa Rosa Beach, FL is worth a stop. They recently were awarded the S.J. Blakely Award for excellence in design and landscape.

Garden Watching When You Travel

Some people make special trips all over the world to see and taste what grows there. There are travel companies that specialize in such trips. Check the internet and you'll find advertisements for tours to see the tulip fields of Holland, the tropical fruits of Costa Rica, or the wonders of the Amazon jungle.

But if you or your traveling companions are not into quite that much garden watching, don't worry. A gardener will see gardens no matter where he goes or what kind of a trip he takes. My spouse enjoys gardens to a limited extent, but I wouldn't dare plan any trip that was all gardens. That might be too much for me, too. Gardens are the dessert of my life, not the whole meal. But I'm better than I ought to be at working in extra helpings of dessert.

Take Plant Gifts and Bring Cuttings Home
There are always, no matter where we go, some plants that we can exchange. You can do that easily, even on a plane, when traveling within the country. When I visit other gardeners, we both make lists of what we want, and we exchange bags of small potted plants and cuttings. Mostly I bring home what I know will grow here, but I never can resist bringing a few to try and see if they will survive. You can do that less painfully when they are free.

With foreign travel there are rules against transporting live plants and fruit, so you have to settle for ideas and perhaps seeds, unless you get a special permit ahead of time. There is a new law that allows
certain seeds to be imported without any requirements. Check before you go.

There is no reason to buy plants on the road that you can buy at home, but if you find something unusual that you may not find again, buy it and carry it along. Consider it decoration in your motel room.

I was very impressed by the husband of one friend I was visiting. He claims he is not a gardener, but he kept sneaking out to her garden to do a little pruning or such. He suggested different places and plants, by name, that I should be sure to walk by and see. He is so advanced as a garden watcher that he is very close to crossing over the line completely from spectator to player. Having watched my spouse at a similar stage, I suspect both of them will always be able to control their enthusiasm way more than my friend and I do, but even the smallest serving of garden appreciation is good for the soul. And you can find it wherever you go.


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