It feels as though I have traveled through time now that I am back on Maine soil! I left winter and came back to spring! (At least in southern seaside Maine...) The snow drifts are gone, the red wing blackbirds, robins and yes the funny looking woodcock have all returned in droves! My backyard is alive with the creaks, bleeps, and songs of these warm weather visitors. My gardens are humming with bees visiting my early snow bells and crocus. I am sure the witch hazel is in bloom in the wood swamps. I drive by the maple stands and silvery plastic tubing hangs from the trees and empties it's sweet sap into buckets! The cry of the fox calling in it's mate at night makes my hair stand on end as my hens shiver in the coop! Ah, yes, spring is in the air!
Florida was delightful! Warm sun on the skin, bright colors everywhere, greens of all shades and textures filled the landscape. The ocean in the Keys was resplendent with aquas, lavender, white, yellow and gold! The amount of birds boggles the mind! The grasslands of the everglades are remarkable in their size and variety, you expect to see great herds of grazing animals wandering through them...The fact that there is no elevation is also remarkable, it's very hard to get a lay of the land as you drive through the thick, jungle-like landscape. So unlike our hills, valleys and mountains another world, another time!
I made the observation that the colors in the natural landscape of our northern tier of the world are made up primarily of the of the first two hues of the color chart, the primary and secondary colors, such as red, blue and yellow, giving way to green, blue and violet. Of course there are still many colors in our environment that range into the tertiaries and quaternaries in the warmer time of season, but not as boldly as I have seen in the warmer, tropical climes. The tertiaries, such as aqua, rose, coral, gold, chocolate, chartreuse, etc. just resonate from the landscape, water and sky! No wonder the homes are so gaily painted, the clothing bright and flowing, the furnishings light and airy, we mirror our environment!
What I also enjoyed as far as a landscape designer was concerned, was the wonderful use of plant material texture used instead of floral color. Layers of plant leaf texture made up the bulk of the plantings, which did not focus so much on the bloom of the plant. Good garden design, and use of structure was evident! Flowers are used as the "flavor of the month", a point of interest, not the main focus of the planting.
Of course I was there in the dry season, and I am sure when the spring rains hit, the place will be in full bloom, just as we are here. A similarity that goes beyond climates.
I also enjoyed the different architecture of the buildings, the high ceilings of the homes, that allows that hot air to rise and vented out the second story. The use of shade shutters, just like our counterparts, but hung so they are pushed out from the bottom of the window, to again, allow air to circulate in and keep the sun out. Large porch overhangs against the sun, brick that insulates against the heat and holds the cool and the warmth, when needed.The use of cool, rich colors inside to create a retreat from the relentless heat of the sun, tile everywhere, and lots of materials used that can resist deterioration from the humidity and sun.
It was a wonderful trip, full of inspiration for all my sensibilities, it's always good to refill the cup with another point of view.