BY: PATRICIA SICKLES
As a native of southwest Virginia, to me December meant snow men, sleigh riding, ice skating, snow days and icy streets. On my first visit to Florida for Christmas in the late 1970’s I was astonished at the beautiful blue skies, flowers, sunshine and spring like temperatures. The place where I stayed then even offered a steamy outdoor hot tub that I still fondly remember.
It is, in fact, sometimes hard to remember that much of the country is now experiencing the December of my earlier years as I enjoy the balmy temperatures here in Green Cove Springs, Florida. Flowers,especially the native ones, having survived the hot, humid summer, are abundantly blooming now. The Fire Spike is still hanging around as are the Salvia, Golden Dew Drop, Impatience and a Poinsettia just in time for Christmas.
Angel Trumpet is a real “show stopper” right now but beware of its poisonous leaves and just enjoy looking at its amazing coral flowers.
Walking beneath the Loquat trees you will wonder who is wearing that wonderful perfume. The fragrant white flowers will become sweet tangy fruit in February if the squirrels don’t get them first!
Thriving on neglect, the yellow orchid on our porch is about to bloom and the succulents are splendid in their fuscia.
I have to be honest though, since it feels more like springtime than winter, it is challenging for me to get in the holiday spirit. So for a genuine Christmas experience, I visit the park across the street from River Park Inn. It is host to the annual “Parade of Trees”. Over 100 artificial trees have been adopted and lovingly decorated by individuals, businesses, churches and other groups. Many of them are dedicated to service personnel who can’t come home for Christmas or other loved ones past and present.
The trees are on display until the end of the year.
So if you have already had enough of the December of my early years, plan a balmy holiday visit to Green Cove Springs to add a little “spring” to your step. Book a room at River Park Inn and enjoy the “Parade” and blooms.