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.

Let’s Play Ball!

As baseball season heats up and the First Day of Issue ceremony for the Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps in Cooperstown, New York, creeps closer, you can satisfy your craving for the national pastime by pre-ordering stamps and some great baseball-related philatelic products.

In addition to the four Forever® stamps honoring legends Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby, Willie Stargell, and Ted Williams, think about adding the Play Ball! book to your collection. Featuring vivid paintings by artist Greg Kreindler, the 40-page keepsake is perfect for baseball and stamp enthusiasts alike, celebrating some of the game’s greatest moments. The book includes 16 baseball stamps—2001 Legendary Playing Fields (10), 2010 Negro Leagues Baseball (2), and 2012 Major League Baseball All-Stars (4)—as well as quotes, player stats, and fascinating history of Major League Baseball.

You can also pre-order all of the commemorative first day products for the new baseball issuance, including First Day Covers, ceremony programs, and specially designed Digital Color Postmarks, all of which include postmarks with the date and location of issuance.

The Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps will be issued on July 20 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY. It’s going to be a great event and we hope you’ll join us as we celebrate some of the game’s best players!

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc.

This Summer Stay Cool with Stamps

Today is the first day of summer, and you know what that means: backyard barbecues, naps in the shade, family vacations, blockbuster movies, iced tea and lemonade . . . and stamps! That’s right, things are really going to start heating up (ha!) in the coming weeks. Here’s just some of what we have planned:

A trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, for the release of the Major League Baseball All-Stars stamps on July 20. The stamps recognize the accomplishments of four baseball greats: Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby, Willie Stargell, and Ted Williams. (Boston, Cleveland, New York City, and Pittsburgh fans, don’t worry. We have baseball events planned for your towns on July 21!)

The release of the Innovative Choreographers stamps on July 28 in Los Angeles, California. The stamps pay tribute to four of the nation’s most influential choreographers: Isadora Duncan, José Limón, Katherine Dunham, and Bob Fosse.

The completion of the incredible Flags of Our Nation series with the issuance of the last set of ten stamp designs. Texas, Utah, Vermont, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, this means you! (The tenth design is the Stars and Stripes.) The stamps will be released on August 16 at StampShow 2012 in Sacramento. Will you be there?

The issuance of a stamp honoring prolific author Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of Mars.  The stamp coincides with the hundredth anniversary of the publication of Burroughs’s first story, “Under the Moons of Mars,” and his first Tarzan story, “Tarzan of the Apes,” in 1912. It will be released August 17 in, where else, Tarzana, California.

The start of a new stamp series commemorating the War of 1812, beginning with the release of the USS Constitution stamp on August 18 at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Massachusetts.

The 150th anniversary of the birth of O. Henry, one of America’s most popular writers of short fiction whose stories include “The Gift of the Magi” and “The Ransom of Red Chief.” Birthday celebrations, and the stamp release, take place September 11 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

And that’s just the big stuff! Stay tuned here all summer long for trivia contests, exclusive stamp subject tidbits, event photos, behind-the-scenes interviews, stamp crafts (!), and lots more. Have a story or photo you want to share? Email us at uspsstamps [at] gmail [dot] com, and we may feature it in an upcoming post.

Major League Baseball trademarks and copyrights are used with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc.

Tarzan™ Owned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and Used by Permission.

Ease Your Mind With Bonsai Notecards

As the harried summer season kicks into gear and our calendars begin to fill with travel plans, activities, social events, and appointments, why not take a moment to add some serenity to the schedule? For centuries, bonsai have served as objects of contemplation, meditation, and decoration. These beautiful Bonsai notecards convey that sense of calm with five unique depictions of bonsai, or “plant in a pot.”

Think of each notecard as a blank canvas on which you can send warm wishes to friends and loved ones, or write notes of reflection for yourself. You’ll be amazed at the relaxation that just one card can inspire.

Each set of 10 notecards also includes 10 corresponding Bonsai (Forever®) stamps, so you can rest easy knowing postage is included. These cards make a great gift, too, for anyone in your life who might need a bit of peace.