Garden 'siteseeing' in South Florida and other warm places

Websites of gardens in warm climates.

There's something about gray, chilly days that makes me dream of colorful flowers, beautiful gardens, and, of course, the warmth they need to stay that way. So let's pay Web visits to gardeners and gardens in places where the weather isn't so dreary.

Getting us in just the right mood is Garden Nauta, which asks visitors from around the world to post photos of public and private gardens. Imagine yourself in Florence, Italy (Firenze), for instance, or strolling along a path in a charming garden in France. I feel warmer already.

In southern California, Sheila Peterson has two one-acre organic gardens -- one in Laguna Beach and another not too far away in San Juan Capistrano. In the Gardens of Petersonville, she grows white variegated bougainvillea, pony tail palm (outdoors! where it blooms, even), and tall palm trees.

I especially enjoyed reading about her quest for a particular reblooming iris she had seen in a neighbor's garden and how she finally found it. I can confirm the fascination these charming irises have for people. I once grew some white ones (I no longer remember the name) and in late October when I ran a photo of it in flower with a newspaper article (in Tennessee), people thought I'd faked the photo! When they saw the flowers in person, they immediately wanted a reblooming iris, too!

In South Florida, Danielle Copeland has a low-chill peach tree growing next to an enormous palm. Both evoke images of hot weather, right? She began gardening two years ago and tracking her progress online in Danielle's Garden. Read about oleander, a variegated pink lemon, a ground orchid that bloomed for more than 75 days in a row, and growing heat-loving basil year-round.

Staying in south Florida, let's visit with Michael at Another Yard in Fort Pierce, where it's 78 degrees F. at the moment and you'll want to break out the sunblock since the skies are clear and the  "real feel" temperature is 87!

Those of us in colder climates generally don't realize the differences among the various types of palm trees -- Zombie palm, Puerto Rican hat palm, and mule palm, among many others. It's interesting to see the pictures. I loved all the orchids, too.

You can even read about alligators and hurricanes, those downsides of living in a tropical paradise. But as winter approaches, Michael makes South Florida sound more and more appealing.

Note: Every Thursday or Friday, we visit the websites of gardens and gardeners around the US and the world. Join us again next week for more garden siteseeing.

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