Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Fall Plant Festival at USF Botanical Garden

The Fall Plant Festival organized by the USF Botanical Garden was scheduled on Oct 11-12, 2008. We were planning to go on the first day, which fell on a Saturday, but that plan was derailed when I found out that the level of the engine oil in our Minivan was low, for seemingly no apparent reason. I was actually acting on a hunch after I noticed that the low engine oil indicator on the console would light up whenever I was braking, and would then disappear when the Minivan had come to a stop, much like the sloshing fluid motion in a less than full enclosed glass jar when it decelerates from uniform notion whence part of the jar will bottom out. So before we boarded the Minivan that morning, I decided to look under the hood and removed the oil dipstick for a visual examination. Lo and behold, the oil level was even below the first bottom mark on the dipstick. After apologizing to Wify for having to shelve the trip of wonderment at the Botanical Garden, I drove straight to the nearby Toyota Service Center. They needed to do a thorough examination and sent me home with a rented car provided for my convenience, at their cost.

The next day, I delivered the promised trip, in the rented Toyota Camry. Our experience sauntering among the many stalls, each presenting a unique floral/fruit offering showcasing the toasts of plant species found in Tampa and Florida, amidst the many visitors pulling little wagons behind them stuffed full with the purchase of the day, interspersed with plant taxis (these are buggies transporting goods for those patrons who found the trip back to the car park too onerous with their prized collections), is best narrated in a sequence of Kodak moments captured for posterity. Join us then for a flower extravaganza.

The Pitcher Plant, one of the few plants that trap insects alive, and then dissolve the helpless prey for ingestion. I have known it as a plant found in the wild but have not been aware that it has since been elevated to its present decorative status. I guess it can double as house pest control too.

Most of these fruits are actually common back home like durian, mangosteen, jack fruit, rambutan, etc. I was in my elements when I undertook to enlighten fellow visitors, some of whom have only seen these in pictures, on the different tastes of these fruits based on first-hand palate experience.

These caterpillar-like flowers are Chenille plants.

These upside-down gems of a flower are Angel Trumpets. How befitting.

These are the Philippine Violets. No prize for guessing right where they originated.

I was intrigued by the word, Soroptimist, on the banner, thinking that it must be a branch of botany or something. Boy was I wrong. Here's what Wikipedia says: "Founded in 1921, Soroptimist ("best for women") is an international volunteer organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world."

These belong to a class known as Philodendrons. They are the dwarf species, somewhat like bonzai. At first I thought they are related to another plant the leaf shape of which is fondly referred to as Horse Face becuase of its elongated shape, like the face of a house.

Antique roses! What do you know. And I thought antique is a moniker reserved for things dead and like fossilized.

Plumeria. Sounds like a blossom of plumes.

Good old Bougainvillea, always a favorite decorative plant, spotting different shades of pink.

A soothing cascading stream to caress the tired mind engendered by the hustle and bustle of city life.

Cactus plants with their unique pink buds striking out at mid-section.

And to conclude the journey, Elkhorns.


Lee Wei Joo said...

Excellent photos! Must be really a nice trip.

Hilton said...

A really nice post, Say, and beautiful plant pictures. You're making me miss my USF days.

PS: I'm adding to my blogroll. This is definitely a blog my readers will enjoy.

Say Lee said...

Hi Hilton,

Bee was actually thinking that we might bump into you.

Anyway, we are honored to be added to your blogroll. And we enjoy your blog too.