Greetings from Tahiti ... the rainy season. Humidity is as close to 100 percent as it can get without thunder. Isn't it amazing how a place on the planet that can get a foot of snow in less than 24 hours can also mimic a tropical jungle? I suppose it's what people miss when they move to the California coast or those other boring paradise-like places. In fact, if someone were to do a survey of the number and geographical region of people who complain about the weather, the largest number of gripers would be in the Midwest. Sure, those people on the ocean have tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes, but it takes a Midwesterner for sheer daily carping.

The weather whining gets so bad here, in fact, that we all take Pollyanna pills whenever we can't stand listening to ourselves anymore. Which is what I've just done so I can write this blog.
Southern Magnolia 'Edith Bogue'
Our Southern Magnolia has opened a bloom today. The first photo was taken before I realized my camera lens was still fogged up even after wiping it dry. I'm sure that amount of humidity is very good for my camera.
Magnolia grandiflora 'Edith Bogue' through a fog-free lens

If this Magnolia could talk, it would be kvetching all day long. Planted in 2007, this southern belle survived a Midwest winter before producing one bodacious blossom the following year. Now, just five years and one day later, we have another bloom. Pollyanna would say it was well worth the wait. She would also point out that there is another flower bud waiting to burst forth in a few days, for a total of three flowers in six years!

Gardenia 'Miami Supreme

We have more plants with a penchant for sultry air. Whether you call it cloying or caressing, the moist atmosphere brings out the best in those hailing from the tropical regions of the world. Our 'Miami Supreme' Gardenia is aptly named and producing a new blossom after each daily rainstorm.

From the late June sales at Chesterton Feed and Garden, I created a mixture of nine plants (seven varieties) in one huge pot. The one standout in this crowded community is--you guessed it--a tropical native also known as taro.

Colocasia esculenta 'Mojito' holds its own among its pot partners.
Crocosmia 'Limpopo' in bud
Just about ready to begin its colorful spectacle is Crocosmia 'Limpopo', which I'd planted in spring of 2012. I'd pretty much forgotten about it, as it didn't bloom last year, but I know I'll be pleasantly surprised based on the descriptions of the plant. This genus hails from Africa, and if you think you can't grow exotics like this one, visit The African Garden, where you'll find photos that will whet your appetite and send you in search of more.

My source for Crocosmia cultivars is Digging Dog Nursery, which I've mentioned before as a good place to find Kniphofia, Salvia and other plants that thrive in California, which is where they're located.

I can feel my Pollyanna pill about to wear down, so let me just say this: It's Pollyanna who looks for unusual (for the Midwest) plants to try in our garden, and it's me who routs them out when they don't work out. Life's too short to harbor slackers.

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