The Botanical Gardens of La Florida

Can’t get enough of the beautiful La Florida blossoms? Neither can we. With the warmest weather of the year nigh upon us, we’re taking to the open road, bound for Florida to visit some of the state’s many botanical gardens. Come join us!

f-2013-lafloridaFounded in 1938 by a group of horticulturists that included famed plant hunter David Fairchild, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is one of the premier conservation and educational botanic gardens in the world. Located in Coral Gables, Fairchild features meandering paths surrounded by an astounding collection of tropical plants.

The Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo boasts 30 acres of cultivated gardens that feature Florida native and Florida-friendly plants. Its 90 acres of natural landscapes are home to more than 150 types of animals.

Sarasota’s Marie Selby Botanical Gardens maintains a plant collection of more than 20,000 specimens on its 13-acres. The elegant Selby Mansion houses a museum, and one of its eight greenhouses includes a conservatory where unusual flora can be seen all year.

The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden is home to many endangered and threatened tropical flora and fauna. The forest has two of the last remaining fresh water ponds in the Keys and is a major stopping point for migrating neo-tropical birds. It is also home to many rare birds.

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a 62-acre collection located in Gainesville. “Kanapaha” is derived from the Timucua Indian words for “palmetto leaf” and “house,” which refer to the thatched dwellings of the small village that once was located on nearby Lake Kanapaha. Among the gardens’ collection are the state’s largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast.

McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a historic Florida landmark. It is famous for its 18-acre subtropical jungle hammock, which also features several restored architectural treasures.

Notecards

Be sure to take some La Florida cards and stamps with you on your travels this summer. Click the image for details.

If you like a little elegance with your garden, Eden Gardens State Park, located in Santa Rosa Beach on the Florida Panhandle, might be just the thing for you. The focal point is a beautifully renovated, two-story house surrounded by moss-draped live oaks and ornamental gardens where camellias and azaleas abound. The park also has a heritage rose garden, butterfly garden, and reflection pond.

Roses grace the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando—home to the largest rose garden in the state. The 50-acre garden also has palms, cycads, azaleas, bromeliads, tropical philodendrons, and a variety of flowering trees, among many other tropical and semi-tropical plants.

Each garden’s website includes additional information on plants, events, and classes, and most include a “what’s in bloom” feature so that you can time your visit just right. Several of the gardens are also dog friendly! (Check the websites for more information on visiting with your pet.) Find other Florida gardens here.

Share the joy these gardens bring by using the lovely La Florida stamps on letters and cards to your friends and loved ones. The four La Florida Forever® stamps were issued April 3, 2013, in St. Augustine, Florida. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate, which is currently 46 cents.

Summer Is Here! Let’s Give Away Another Vintage Seed Packet

Let’s kick off the first full week of summer with another vintage seed packet giveaway! Today’s prize is the phlox packet.

IMG_6801The front of the seed packet depicts clusters of phlox in red, pink, and purple. The back of the packet describes the flower in more detail:

Phloxes are among the most satisfactory of garden plants. Their bright colored flowers, profuseness of bloom and ease of culture make them favorites everywhere. They grow to a height of 6 to 18 inches and are very handsome massed in beds.

Indeed they are. To win the phlox seed packet, all you have to do is answer one question: Phlox blooms in late spring. True or false?

Notecards

This charming set of Vintage Seed Packets note cards includes 10 blank note cards, 10 envelopes, and 10 Vintage Seed Packets stamps. Click the image for details.

Send your answer, along with your name and mailing address, to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com. One winner will be selected at random from those who answer correctly. The deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. EDT Thursday, June 27. Good luck! (Note: No seeds are included with this vintage packet.)

This contest is now over. The correct answer is true, phlox generally blooms in late spring. (Some varieties may bloom earlier or later.) Congratulations to our randomly selected winner, Randi Schmechel of Eugene, Oregon. Thank you to everyone who entered.

The Vintage Seed Packets stamps are Forever® stamps. (Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.) Find them in your neighborhood Post Office, call 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), or order them online today.

Traveling the Old Florida Heritage Highway

LaFlorida-Forever-pane-BGv2It’s amazing to think that 500 years ago, Ponce de León stepped ashore on land that became the state of Florida. Things have certainly changed since then! Now when people think of Florida, they might picture laid-back Key West, the colonial architecture of St. Augustine, or the hustle and bustle of Miami and Tampa. Few imagine a forested and pastoral countryside. But that is exactly what can be found along Scenic U.S. 441, the Old Florida Heritage Highway.

The unique landscape of the area has inspired naturalists, writers, and painters for centuries, including William Bartram, America’s first naturalist, who visited the area in 1774. Travelers can still visit this well-preserved area to see more of Florida’s natural, scenic, recreational, historic, and cultural heritage.

Fans of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Yearling can visit Majorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park in Cross Creek, a few miles from Gainesville. Visitors will experience 1930s Florida farm life at Rawlings’s home, which has been restored and preserved as it was when she lived here.

Press sheet with die cuts

Perfect for framing, this colorful 14½ x 36¼ -inch press sheet with die-cuts contains 10 sheets of 16 La Florida (Forever®) stamps. Click the image for details.

One of the jewels of the area is Micanopy, the oldest inland town in the state. Micanopy is a former Seminole Indian town settled in 1821 as Wanton’s town. Today, the town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Because of its authentic Old Florida ambiance, the movies Cross Creek and Doc Hollywood were both filmed there.

In 1971, Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park became the state’s first preserve and is now a National Nature Landmark. The preserve’s habitats are home to alligators, bison, horses, and more than 270 species of birds. The observation tower at the visitor center offers a panoramic view of the preserve. Visitors can also hike, ride horses, bicycle, and fish.

You can learn more about other treasures along the Old Florida Heritage Highway on the Micanopy website.

No matter where you go in historic Old Florida, don’t forget to use the beautiful La Florida stamps on your cards and letters to remind you of your trip. La Florida Forever® stamps are currently available online and in Post Offices around the country.

Think Pink! Vintage Seed Packets Giveaway

It’s time to give away another vintage seed packet! Today’s prize is the pinks packet.

DSC03811The front of the seed packet depicts two shades of pinks, one pale, one dark. The back of the packet describes the flower in more detail:

A great variety of rich, brilliant colors, shades and markings; plants in bloom constantly from early summer till after severe frosts.

To win the pinks seed packet, all you have to do is answer one question: Pink is a common name for which genus?

Send your answer, along with your name and mailing address, to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com. One winner will be selected at random from those who answer correctly. The deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. EDT Saturday, June 1. Good luck! (Note: No seeds are included with this vintage packet.)

This contest is now over. The correct answer is Dianthus. Congratulations to our randomly selected winner Marta van Dam of Lexington, Massachusetts. Thank you to everyone who entered.

The Vintage Seed Packets stamps are Forever® stamps. (Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.) Find them in your neighborhood Post Office, call 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), or order them online today.

We’re Giving Away Another Vintage Seed Packet

It’s time to give away another vintage seed packet! Today’s prize is the digitalis packet.

DSC03546The front of the seed packet depicts stalks of yellow, pink, and coral digitalis. The back of the packet describes the flower in more detail:

A very beautiful and interesting old fashioned plant whose culture is very simple. The bell-shaped flowers borne on long spikes make an exceedingly handsome and stately border.

To win the digitalis seed packet, all you have to do is answer one question: What is the common name for digitalis?

Email your answer, along with your name and address, to uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com. One winner will be selected at random. The deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, May 15. (NOTE: The digitalis seed packet is empty; no seeds are included.)

The correct answer is Foxglove. Congratulations to Chad Crabtree, the lucky winner of the vintage digitalis seed packet! Check back next week for another chance to win.

After today there will only be four more chances to win. Check back next week for another vintage seed packet giveaway.

The Vintage Seed Packets stamps are Forever® stamps. (Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.) Find them in your neighborhood Post Office, or order them online today.