Back to Nature (Published on - Dec. 7, 2006)
Who says Florida doesn’t have seasons?
Photo by Rick Tremmel
Take pleasure in the beauty of Florida’s seasons.
Did you miss it? For those of you that didn’t get out of the city this past week you may have missed Florida’s natural changing colors. Perhaps because of the earlier than usual cold spell, the leaves on the trees remained in colorful display longer than usual.

They were beautiful. Reds, oranges and golds splashed among the trees along highways and country back roads. Backdrops of Spanish moss and orange orchards exaggerated this colorful display. In every direction was a picture postcard.

A common complaint about Florida is the claim that there are but two seasons. This is really untrue, but to view the seasons one needs to get away from the manicured, hybrid, every blooming, ever green gardens. Although Florida is certainly known for its pleasant, near all year round, weather it does get the infrequent frost, overnight layer of ice, and frigid temperatures.

From time to time, we receive visitors from the frozen north. They are somewhat surprised to see warm jackets, gloves, toques, scarves and hoodies on sale at our local

department stores. “When would anyone in Florida ever need these?” Although surprising to nonresidents, Florida has four seasons. Fall and spring are brief and winters generally mild, but the changes are beautiful all the same. Southern Florida winter temperatures average 68.5 (F) degrees.

Here’s how the University of Florida defines Florida’s seasons:

Spring: When danger of a freeze has past. This usually occurs in March for north Florida and the third week of February for central Florida, with freezes being very rare in south Florida.

Summer: A period of very high temperatures (90° during the day) and the beginning of the rainy season. While northern U.S. states may experience similarly high temperatures, Florida differs by not having cool nights.

Autumn: The rainy season ends, the temperatures become cooler and days are shorter. Frost becomes a danger that requires careful consideration of planting dates to extend the flowering period.

Winter: Freezes may take place. Frost tolerant plants should be considered, but in south Florida, frost sensitive plants should generally survive through the winter months in south Florida.

These definitions and descriptions are based on those included in the document “What to Plant When – A Florida Bedding Plant Guide,” by Teresa K. Howe and W.E. Waters. Bradenton GCREC Research Report BRA1995-8.

This is a beautiful time of year to go hiking on one of Florida’s many trails. As well, the weather couldn’t be more perfect for kayaking and canoeing. Ah, gently floating down a river watching golden leaves reflect in the mirrored waters … what a way to spend a lazy afternoon?

We are fortunate to live in this magnificent place called Florida. Unfortunately many residents’ only panorama of Florida is limited to a car window, an umbrella upon a beach, or an aerial view from an ascending plane. Because of this limited observation few appreciate the natural beauty Florida possesses. Because of this lack of appreciation few are aware of the need to maintain and protect this special place. Ignorance is bliss until the stark realization can be no longer kept at arms length; Florida is disappearing at an alarming rate by over development.

Come with me and take a walk down a ferny lane. Come with me and glide down a soothing river. Watch the reds, tangerines and yellows spill across the water. Watch golden leaves fall upon the bayou swirls like miniature sailing ghost ships headed for the sea. Take a moment to bridge the gap of time between what is and what used to be … back to nature.

Karen can be reached at

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