Are you bored with the usual tired Valentine’s options like boxed bonbons and odorless hothouse flowers? This year seek out some unique, Florida-centric Valentines fun!

For an extravagant, supremely romantic (yet not too expensive) gift, you could get your sweetheart a vanilla vine. Vanilla is just now being grown in Florida. Like love and friendship, vanilla plants take warmth and attention and a lot of careful nurturing to flower and achieve their full potential.

photos of flowers of V. planifolia (top left), V. pompona (top center), V. phaeantha (top right), V. mexicana (bottom left), V. dilloniana (bottom center), and V. barbellata (bottom right) growing in southern Florida.

Go for a walk in the woods or a paddle on a lake.

Photo of planted pines at sunrise in north central Florida. UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright

And for dessert? How about a sweet treat made with beautiful, delicious Florida strawberries? (Not feeling adventurous and don’t want to fire up the oven when it’s 85 in the shade? That is not a problem. You pretty much can’t improve on a bowl of fresh strawberries.)

photo of strawberries in a bowlon a counter with a Valentines Day towel. Photo taken 02-05-21.

No special somebody this year or special somebody far away? Still not a problem! February is the perfect month for a second “Friendsgiving,” especially in Florida, where the weather is starting to warm and delicious things are starting to grow. Take a trip to the farmers’ market for supplies and then get together with good friends for a Valentines picnic with Florida produce.

Photo of a picnic including peppers, blueberries and blueberry pie, strawberries and strawberry shortcake, oranges and orange juice, peanuts and a peanut butter sandwich, and sliced mangoes and kiwis. Most of these crops rely on bee pollination.

Consult Ask IFAS for more ideas, and have a wonderful February 14th!

by Susan Gildersleeve

Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert

Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.

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