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Botanical Gardens rife with blooms after recent rains

LARGO

At the Florida Botanical Gardens, bird baths are overflowing with rainwater. Fountains, filled to the top, are bubbling with extra fervor. Tricolored herons and white ibis can be spotted wading deep in McKay Creek.

Locally, close to 9 inches of rain has fallen in August, according to the National Weather Service.

And if you're one of the lucky ones who get a chance to be at the gardens soon after a rain, you get to walk under the giant leaves of the trees in the tropical fruit garden, checking out how the sun gives a glisten to the droplets.

According to Andy Wilson, a horticulturist for Pinellas County, the rain has helped in the recovery of plant damage done during last winter's freezing temperatures. "Among the plants that have made a surprising amount of recovery are some Mammey crotons that had frozen nearly to the ground and are now more than a foot tall, fully clothed in brightly colored leaves,'' Wilson said.

Other months on the calendar seem to garner more attention when it comes to horticulture. April has its orange blossoms. October conjures up visions of squash and pumpkins.

But don't dismiss late August. Between the storms and 100-degree searing heat, there are flora and fauna worthy of recognition, too.

"Right now, we've got quite a large blooming angel trumpet to see,'' said Wilson. "It's past the wedding garden, beside the wall fountain. And if you look out the back of the Extension building it's easy to see a large amount of purple queen blooming.''

Cheryl Korschek, a master gardener, agrees that the Botanical Gardens have benefited from the wet weather, but she's got a few issues with August.

"Well, it is true that the rain does wipe away the heat, for a little while,'' she joked. "I work here in the gardens because I love plants, but let's just say summer is not the most fun time of the year here.''

When she thinks of late summer at the gardens, are there particular flowers that she things of?

"You might have to look a little harder, but you do see certain things this time of year that you don't ordinarily get to see. The bromeliads are stunning.''

After she pointed out the bromeliads with their long lavender and orange blooms, Korschek also pointed out another mark of summer — a container of weeds near the Patio Garden.

They love rain.

582-2100.

If you go

Florida Botanical Gardens

The Florida Botanical Gardens are located at 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo. The gardens are open to the public seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, they are closed on major holidays. Visit www.flbg.org or call (727) 582-2100.

Botanical Gardens rife with blooms after recent rains 08/28/10 [Last modified: Saturday, August 28, 2010 1:03pm]
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