by Karen Kauffman
Summer on Useppa is extraordinary. Yes, it’s warm and it rains every evening, but that also brings evening clouds that create extraordinary sunsets.
If it’s June, then it’s also time for night blooming cereus. All year long strands of cactus slowly grow down the trunks of cabbage palms. During the month of June, long park red blossoms emerge. After dark, these burst open into glowing white blossoms nearly a foot wide. They only last for the night and then pooof – they’re gone. The next night, the magic repeats as new blossoms open.
It’s also a time for our resident butterflies to enjoy their garden. With the rainy season comes an explosion of plants and also of butterflies. Beyond the colonies of black and yellow Swallowtail that live here year round, we have have a profusion of others. These orange Gulf Fritillary have been fluttering around each other, doing a mating dance. Eggs will be laid, and a few weeks after, the resulting caterpillar will be munching through a passion vine before starting the process all over again.
Florida is not just a place to escape the winter. It’s a place filled with hidden and exotic beauty all year round – all you need to do is come and explore. Okay, and bring sunblock and maybe a little bug spray – but it’s worth it. Promise!