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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist the naturalist



Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, was the first to arrive for a gathering of legislators at the Governor's Mansion this evening and got an unexpected tour of the grounds.

"Come on," Crist waved as he started across the front lawn. He pointed to a mockingbird, the state bird.

"Isn't it Arbor Day soon?" Crist asked, approaching a small tree. "It was like that tall a year ago," Crist said, taking hold of the pine he planted. "Look at this thing. Isn't it unbelievable?" (video here)

Crist led his guest around side of the mansion and wondered aloud what was the name of the aromatic white flower growing nearby. He bent over the diminutive flower and inhaled. A gardenia.

Heading around front, Crist spotted two doves. "They must know they're safe here," he mused. He turned around to a security agent and asked if he ever hunted doves. "Yes, sir," the man replied.

Inside the mansion, as guests arrived, Crist swung open glass doors overseeing a verdant courtyard. He pointed to a bird house and a bird feeder. A squirrel hung onto the feeder, gorging.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:35pm]


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