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Salvia's red flowers are lonely in winter--hummingbirds have flown south.  Photo by Stibolt.

Wild salvia still red in December.

Winter Solstice Poem  
by Ginny Stibolt

Two weeks before solstice and all through the beds,
Mother Nature wows us with salvia so red,
But hummingbirds all flew south for the season,
Her holiday wishes must be the reason.

No partridges sitting in my prickly pears,
The plum-colored fruit that this succulent bears,
Could be in dreams with those dancing sugar plums,
Be careful or those bristles could hurt your tongue!

Prickly Pears.  Photo by Stibolt.

I thought I'd done all of my shopping, but wait,
There's a neighbor who's new to the sunshine state,
I'll buy the Everglades book, "River of Grass",
That Florida classic by Marjory Douglas.

My friend, just retired, has new gardening plans,
She needs Gil's book, 200 best native plants, 
Perhaps I'll give her a year's membership to,
Florida Native Plant Society's group.

Then there's the old lady who lives down the road,
She has a hard time bending or carrying a load,
I will offer her my gardening labor,
It's really easy to offer this favor.

I wish you riches--a dollar 
		  for every dollarweed dug from your ditches.  Photo by Stibolt.

I'll offer some slips from my favorite weeds,
or my dead flowerheads with all those seeds,
I will smile when they grow in a neighbor's yard,
My plant bank deposits--it's not very hard.
In the future if my plants start to dwindle,
I'll ask that neighbor for slips to rekindle.

I wish you a great Christmas season and,
Good fortune in the year 2000 seven,
And for each dollar weed dug from your ditches,
May you get a real dollar--untold riches!


River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas is the classic book every Floridian should read. The beginning of this 50-year old book where she describes the Everglades' natural history is some of the most beautiful prose ever written about the natural world. The end of the book is a sad and bitter story dealing with man's attempted destruction of this unique environment. The 50-year edition includes an update on the state of The Everglades co-written by Douglas when she was 98 years old. 

Florida's Best Native Landscape Plants by Gil Nelson was written in conjunction with The Association of Florida Native Nurseries.  This unique book is not an armchair guide, but a thoroughly useful compendium for anyone who wishes to increase his or her use of native plants in the landscape.  

Florida's Native Plant Society: There are 37 chapters (Including the Ixia Chapter here in Jacksonville) and this organization is an active group of knowledgeable and interesting people who wish to learn and do more.  Join us:

Ginny Stibolt would like to hear from readers who have suggestions and questions. After all, there are more than a few transplanted gardeners Florida trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t in planting zone 8/9. She's wrote, "Sustainable Gardening for Florida," published by University Press of Florida that was released in 2009. Now she's written "Organic Methods for Growing Vegetables in Florida" with Melissa Contreras in Miami. The new book will be released in Feb 2013. You may contact her or read extra details on her articles and other information posted on her website:

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