Life really is different in Florida. There's a different quality to the air, to the sun, and to the flora. For those of us who live north of Florence, South Carolina, it's like living in a dish garden on steroids - big time steroids!
Think of any dish garden you've had, or the ubiquitous indoor plants in your office lobby - you know philodendron spilling over something, a few palms or dracaena somewhere, an umbrella plant stuck in the back... now multiply that by 1,000 and you have Florida. Here in the Orlando area they are trees - you know Umbrella tree, philodendron that four feet tall, dracaena trees, and those little 10-inch palms are 20 feet tall.
In central Florida you can throw in some pine trees, but as you go farther south there of fewer of them and more types of palms. Likewise the blooming plants jump out and surprise you. I know Crown-of-Thorns, just not as a three-foot tall foundation plant! It boggles the mind and adds to the feeling of magic that exists well outside the Magic Kingdom.
We drove from Naples to Orlando on Monday in the rain, but when we arrived it was still warm enough to sit on the porch and enjoy the warm, rainy afternoon. Children were playing in the swimming pool outside, and I saw plenty of adults coming from the heated pool, too. Yesterday it poured rain all morning, while Mitchell slept in. I grabbed the opportunity to pamper myself and sought out a pedicure nearby. Was it the vacation spirit, or really the best one I've ever had? It's all in the perception!
When it cleared up after lunch we drove to nearby Lake Wales to visit the Bok Tower and Gardens. Very interesting, but you will have to visit It's My Garden next week for the details and pictures.
Back in Orlando, we spent the early evening scoping out the roads to the various places we need to go today and tomorrow for the conference. Our first event is tonight, so we only have one more day to enjoy the sun, and we plan to make the most of it.