The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is one of a select few in the US where tropical plants can be grown outside all year round. The garden is built around a series of lakes and a collection of palm trees and many of its vistas are superb.
HeyJude prompted my first picture by suggesting we look for a blue seaside or harbour view. While the lake does not exactly fit the brief, it has that getaway spirit and it’s certainly blue.
Meanwhile, Becky is asking for trees and I’m offering one of the many unusual ones we saw at the Fairchild garden.
Used to British trees, I was not sure what I was seeing. This tree had many strong, slender stems, like aerial roots, that hung vertically down, almost reaching the ground. Or was that some kind of vine clambering through its branches? A few gourd-like fruits hung from the stems high in the canopy.
Luckily, the Fairchild takes its educational mission seriously, so I was able to solve the mystery by searching online. Kigelia africana produces spectacular, hooded crimson flowers that dangle on the ends of these long stems. Opening at night, the blooms are pollinated by bats lured in to drink their nectar. The flowers are followed by heavy sausage-like fruit that dry to grey-brown.
The sausage tree reminded me of the candle tree we saw at the Fruit and Spice Park, also in Florida.
Few British people can expect to visit the US any time soon, thanks to what Mike Ryan, the WHO’s head of emergencies, has described as ‘epidemiological stupidity’, so this takes its place in my pictures for dreaming series.