Flowers and butterflies provide pure pleasure.

I’m not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the beauty of the flowers that bloom in my own yard. Every morning when I get up and first head outside, I take a moment to peek at the colors they provide.

Right now, the bright pink of the towering bougainvillea is fading, and the white Confederate jasmine is pretty much gone for the season. But there’s rich red hibiscus to admire just steps from my back door, along with a reliable profusion of purple ruellia—a plant I only became familiar with a few months ago. In the front yard, my shrublike blue plumbago plants are doing better than I had any reason to expect when I planted them where a tree formerly stood; they’re surrounded by bromeliads, whose red spikes have just started popping out.

I’ve never attempted a butterfly garden, but even so plenty of the colorful insects (I don’t even try to identify their types, sorry) grace my property. Here in Florida, it feels as if there’s always something blooming for them to hover over.

When I need more of a flower fix, I head to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens or the tranquil, shaded setting of the Garden Club on Boulevard of the Arts, where I can almost ignore all the roadwork nearby. The pros do things better, of course, but my own home-grown blossoms offer that daily blast of joy.

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