Friday morning was magical. I accompanied several friends out to Monteocha Gardens, a U-pick blueberry farm just ten miles north of Gainesville. I was quite surprised to learn there were eight (yep 8!) varieties of blueberry found in Florida! However, only two are cultivated; Vaccinium ashei (rabbiteye blueberry) and Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry). To learn more check out this IFAS extension page.
The farm was beautiful. Shady and tucked back off a country road. I fell in love. While the blueberries weren't exactly ready, most were still quite green/pink, if you patiently looked and danced with the plant ripe ones were there. In addition to blueberries, the farm was home to several other plants interspersed here and there: Tradescantia ohiensis (common spiderwort), Albizia julibrissin (Mimosa), Rubus cuneifolius (sand blackberry), Passiflora incarnata (purple passionflower), and Vitis rotundifolia (muscadine grape).
On the drive back into town, I was distracted by the beautiful roadside splendor. A hazard of going anywhere with me, or my sister, is we continually check things out and make pit stops. I yield to plants, she brakes for rocks, and we both stop for turtles. We're quite a pair. Luckily I drove myself so there was no one else to inconvenience. I collected some specimens and geeked out over all the botanical treasures.
Rhychospora colorata (fine-leaved, white-top sedge)
Phlox drummondii (Annual garden phlox)