Friday, April 29, 2005

Thanks For the Flowers, Lady Bird

Evinston roadsides and yards are flooded knee-high with a solid mass of yellow and pink perennial flowers right now, thanks in part to Lady Bird Johnson's highway beautification efforts in the mid-1960's. Coreopsis and pink Garden Phlox were so successful in Texas and elsewhere that Florida's highways were soon seeded with these and other species as well.

Evinston lies off the beaten track at the south edge of Alachua county and so its county-maintained roadways are conveniently just off the radar for the Public Works Department's mowing and trimming rotation. And that is just how Evinston residents prefer it. So every spring the unmown roadsides and swales are a solid tide of wildflowers that bloom for a few weeks and then go to seed. Locals don't mow their yards until the wildflowers have disappeared, so the flood of color extends into yards and pastures and waste places. Its a stupendous, gorgeous sight. The flowers have been allowed to run rampant over the years, thanks to a group of old-timers who have always taken the long view when it comes to preserving their land and peaceful way of life. Now folks drive in from miles around to see the sea of flowers.

This year the Coreopsis display is especially stunning (sorry no photo) in the vicinity of the Wood and Swink store and post office. The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places. The store/post office is a community gathering place where locals pick up their mail, buy Freddy’s fresh citrus and vegetables in season (red potatoes, green beans, and onions are in now), and catch up on local news and gossip.

This week Freddy Wood met with a documentary film maker who is making a film that treats land conservation in this area. Freddy has entered into negotiations with a local land trust to put his 200 acres or so under a permanent conservation easement.

No comments: