Florida may have gotten its name from the Spanish adjective for "flowery", but when it comes to a scorching summer afternoon in Orlando, we are not always so optimistic we will see the rainbow of blossoms that the state is famous for in the wintertime.
I decided to take a look around at the flora landscape in July and discovered that the Sunshine State has an equally colorful season of blooms when the temperatures are high and the humidity higher.
Armed with just my pocket point-n-shoot camera, a Canon S90 Powershot, I spent about a week snapping blossoms wherever I saw them: at the beach; in the neighborhood; at a local park; in front of the Orlando Sentinel building. I finished my decidedly unscientific study of central Florida's floral scene with a visit to the renowned Harry P. Leu Gardens, a few miles northeast of downtown Orlando, where I found, of course, an astounding explosion of floral colors and varieties.
There's just one problem.
While I can identify some of your basic flower types -- you know, the popular box-store versions of hibiscus, bougainvillea, crape myrtles, impatiens, etc. -- I am certainly no flora-genus genius. So if you've got a few minutes and want to put your inner-horticulturist to the test, help me identify the flowers in our flower photo gallery on the Fla360 blog at OrlandoSentinel.com. You can email me at email@example.com; I'll update 'em next week. (Sorry, no prizes for participating. Just the satisfaction of helping out Team Fla360.)
UPDATED, Aug. 10: Thanks to our Fla360 readers, especially Christine of Orlando; Steve of Orlando; and Kim in Orange Park, Fla., for providing the names of the flowers in this gallery!
Incidentally, Leu Gardens is run by the City of Orlando and offers an incredible collection of tropical and temperate plants in the summertime, with hundreds of varieties on display, including in its legendary Rose, Butterfly and Home Idea gardens. The gardens, founded by Harry P. Leu, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Leu and his wife traveled the world to bring his extensive collection of exotic plants and flowers back to central Florida throughout the 1940s and '50s. Leu Gardens has been open to the public since 1961. For more information on park hours and admission: http://www.leugardens.org/
Photographer Joe Burbank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the Sentinel photo staff on Twitter @OSPhoto. Like us on Facebook: Orlando Sentinel Photography.
Central Florida's blooms of summer - UPDATED
The Sunshine State has a colorful season of blooms when the temperatures are high and the humidity higher.
Central Florida's blooms of summer on full display (JOE BURBANK, ORLANDO SENTINEL)