Spring is here. On my morning stroll along the beach, I notice that the grass is growing — not the green grass on the lawns that when freshly mowed has that wonderful fresh smell, but the grass underwater (better known as seaweed or kelp). Some of this is edible, but not knowing which ones are, I think I’ll just keep using lettuce in my salads. I never knew prior to living here that when the water cools off in the winter months, the seaweed dies. It washes onto the shore with the waves and makes quite a mess during storms. Attached to the ocean floor, it is now back growing in lines across the sand. Looking down over it I am reminded of Levittown. I suppose in a way it is a neighborhood for the small fish and coral that live within its green strands.
The flowers too know it is spring. They are back to blooming constantly, sharing their luscious colors — bright and vibrant red, orange, yellow , purple and my favorite, fuchsia. Here are a few of my favorite flowers.
Hibiscus. The flowers are large, conspicuous, trumpet-shaped, with five or more petals. This is also a primary ingredient in many herbal teas.
Bougainvillea. It is sometimes referred to as "paper flower" because the bracts are thin and papery. The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colors associated with the plant.
Yellow Elder or Esperanza, which is Spanish for “hope.” It has sharply-toothed, lance-shaped green leaves and bears large, showy, bright golden yellow trumpet-shaped flowers. It is drought-tolerant and grows well in warm climates. This flower attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Periwinkle. It has dark green foliage and conspicuous blue flowers, but among the many cultivars are those with pink, red, purple, and white. Here’s an interesting tidbit: It is also the name of a ship. The USS Periwinkle (1864) was a steamer procured by the Union Navy during the final months of the American Civil War. She served the Union Navy’s struggle against the Confederate States of America as a patrol gunship. After the war, this ship was retained by the U.S. Navy and sent on an expedition to the Arctic Ocean, and during this voyage — under her new name Polaris — she proceeded into Arctic waters (only to have her hull crushed by the ice). Sad that something named for a tropical plant used to the warm Caribbean Ocean was “crushed “by ice in the cold waters of another sea. I can relate. I absolutely loathe cold weather, and the only crushed ice I like is in my glass.
Vivid and picturesque, our surroundings make us feel like we are living in a postcard. A picture perfect postcard of a sun filled landscape with coconut palms casting shade onto vanilla colored sand, framed by tropical foliage overlooking the aqua marine water off the coast of our island.
Yes indeed! Spring is here!