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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our fifth calendar year
    PCR #202  (Vol. 5, No. 6)  This edition is for the week of February 2--8, 2004.

Two La Floridianas, Photographically Revisited
 by Will Moriaty
"Lost In Transition"
 by Mike Smith
VH1's Bands Re-United, Part 2: Frankie Goes To Hollywood
 by Andy Lalino
The Ranting, The Raving....Michael Jackson....White Wolf Games
 by Joshua Montgomery
Pirate Movies for Gasparilla
 by Terence Nuzum
Riding The Ferry-Go-Round....The Masters Of Horror
 b Matt Drinnenberg
You're Outta Here....How About That Superbowl?....Meet The Beatles, Part 4
 by Mike Smith
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Two La Floridianas, Photographically Revisited

Conveying water from Orlando's Lake Rowena to Winter Park's Lake Virginia is an unnamed creek that runs through Mead Botanical Gardens. The creek is at its widest point at this part of the Gardens where five Tulip Poplars donated by T.R.E.E. Inc. were planted along the shorelines between 2001 and 2002, hence beginning the Orange and Seminole Counties Chain of Lakes Planting Program.
This article is actually a collection of two previously published "La Floridiana" articles that have been reconstituted in order to present photographs that hopefully graphically reinforce the intent and tone of those articles. In addition, the contents in this article will be used in a future edition of the T.R.E.E. Inc. newsletter, "Arbor Bio" which is now an on-line publication designed by Crazed Fanboy webmaster Nolan B. Canova. I took the seven photographs on January 24, 2004.

A Piscean Is Always at Home in or Near the Water
Not that I put much stock in astrology, but I must confess, that as a Pisces (sign of the fish) I love the water. I love to be in it, near it or on it. My conception in the Isle of Pines in Cuba and subsequent birth on Davis Islands in Tampa seemed to seal my fate for this attraction to water.

One Tulip Poplar was planted by T.R.E.E. Inc. in October 2003 adjacent to Lake Osceola at the City of Winter Park's Scenic Boat Tour complex.
I view water in almost mystical terms. It is a necessary component for life itself. It purifies, soothes and inspires. Just to view clear, pure water boiling out of springs brings out an almost primitive sense of awe and magic in me. To see fish, otters, gators, birds and other wildlife frolic in the water is a joy to behold, a beginning and an end to a fulfilling and beautiful day.

Water in Florida I view with the utmost of respect. The Sunshine State is situated on the same latitude of the world's greatest deserts, yet we are blessed with abundant rainfall that provides us with the myriad of flora and fauna that makes Florida so unique in the world. Whether it is clear coral filled salt water in the Keys, mangrove and sea grass shorelines, beaches, fresh water rivers, creeks, lakes, or springs, such systems provide relief from the scalding subtropical sun as well as providing refuge to innumerable aquatic and vegetative life forms.

The Orange and Seminole Counties Chain of Lakes: The Slow Journey to the St. Johns River
Our featured chain of lakes starts its life, or headwaters, near the Orlando Science Center located between Princeton Avenue and North Mills Avenue (U.S. 92) in Orlando.

Lakes Winyah, Sue and Formosa pop off eastward into Lake Rowena where Harry P. Leu Gardens is located. Next, Lake Rowena outfalls into a creek that runs north through Mead Botanical Gardens. That creek empties into Lake Virginia, which is also fed by nearby Lakes Mizell and Berry to its east in Winter Park.

Pictured on the bottom right is one Tulip Poplar sapling planted by T.R.E.E. Inc. in October 2003 alongside the Venetian Canal that connects Lakes Osceola and Maitland.
Lake Virginia, which has Rollins College as its shoreline neighbor, then outfalls into a series of northward flowing seasonally navigable canals joining it to Lakes Osceola and Maitland. Scenic boat tours between these three lakes are available to the public (for more information on this most enjoyable of boating experiences, click here).

Lake Maitland's water is then carried yet further northward through a creek known as Howell Branch, past the communities of Winter Park and Maitland, where it then empties into Lake Howell. The Chain of Lakes final aquatic journey carries the water of Lake Howell through Seminole County into Lake Jesup. Lake Jesup, which is located north of Winter Springs, then empties into Lake Monroe in Sanford, and finally into the St. Johns River.

The St. John's River comprises the riparian system where the southernmost native population of the Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) is found. This deciduous tree is capable of attaining over 120' in height, and is a member of the Magnolia family. These southernmost outposts are found in the moist to wet woods of the Wekiva River watershed in Orange and Seminole Counties, and in the Lake Jesup watershed in Seminole County.

Eventually the St. John's River, which has its headwaters in the swamps of Indian River County south of Melbourne, winds its way northward past the city of Jacksonville, where it finally empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Beautiful Lake Maitland where six Tulip Poplars were planted at its shorelines at the Kraft Azalea Gardens by T.R.E.E. Inc. in September 2002.
Conversely, the headwaters of the Everglades, which flow into Florida Bay south of Miami, start only about ten miles southwest of Winter Park in another chain of lakes that are found in and near the community of Windermere and the Disney resort parks.

October 2001: A Planting Effort Following The Chain of Lakes Begins
Three years ago I embarked on a mission to populate this chain of lakes with Tulip Poplars raised from seed of Orange County native specimens. Under the auspice of the Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort, Inc., I donated the first five of such trees to the City of Winter Park to be used at Mead Botanical Gardens near the creek that joins Lake Rowena to the south to Lake Virginia to the north. With the approval and assistance of Parks and Recreation Director John Holland and Lee Mackin, the City' s Forester, the trees were planted in October of 2001, and are thriving at that location.

In addition to a donation at Mead's next door neighbor, the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc.) main office, September 2002's donation of six more trees to the City of Winter Park expanded the program to included Kraft Azalea Gardens. The Gardens is located along the shores of Lake Maitland, which is yet another of the Lake Howell chain of lakes.

The Florida Federation of Garden Club's 1950 commemorative plaque honoring "Florida's Big Tree", a Baldcypress otherwise known as "The Senator".
In September of 2003, the chain of lake range of plantings was expanded further yet through the donation and planting of a specimen at the grounds of the Winter Park's Scenic Boat Tour complex, which is located on the shores of Lake Osceola. A second donation and specimen was next planted along the shoreline of the Venetian Canal that connects Lake Osceola with Lake Maitland.

Flowing With The Future
The future goal of the program is to plant Tulip Poplar at as many locations along the Lake Howell Chain of Lakes as possible. This would include additional plantings at Kraft Azalea Gardens adjacent to Lake Maitland, as well as possible upstream plantings at Lakes Winyah, Sue, Formosa and Rowena to the south, and Howell Branch Creek to the north.

When in Longwood, Don't miss "The Senator"!
Not far from Winter Park is the small community of Longwood, located in Seminole County. It is home to one of, if not the largest Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) trees in the world! The tree was dubbed as "The Senator", in honor of Longwood's former State Senator, Moses O. Overstreet, who donated the eleven acres that the tree is located in. In 1929, former United States President Calvin Coolidge dedicated the park, reading his proclamation beneath this massive giant. The Senator stands at 118 feet tall. Presumably, lightning or a hurricane knocked out an additional 25 feet of the tree in the late 1800's. The tree has a 425" trunk circumference, and a 57-foot wide crown. It is estimated to be over 3,500 years of age, making it possibly the oldest living thing in the State of Florida, as well as the largest.

Thrusting 118' into the air, with a 425" circumference, no photo can do justice to the height and mass of this enormous forest giant when viewed in real life. This tree is possibly the oldest and largest living organism on the eastern seaboard of the United States.
Even the top 20' of the plant demonstrates the great girth of this magnificent native Florida relative of the Redwoods and Sequoia trees.
The tree can be found at Big Tree Park, a Seminole County park, just north of Longwood at 761 General Hutchinson Parkway. In addition, there is another large Baldcypress in the park known as "The Companion".

In addition to this, one of the most extensive natural populations of the Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) in Central Florida is found in this park and adjacent wet woods nearby. This population is concentrated throughout an area known locally as the Spring Hammock. This population follows much of the Soldiers Creek watershed between Longwood and Sanford, with populations ranging to the northwestern portion of Winter Springs. Soldiers Creek is also a part of the St. John's River watershed, as mentioned in the article above, which first empties into Lake Jesup on its way to the St. John's River.

For more information on Big Tree Park, link to: http://www.co.seminole.fl.us/lls/parks/parkInfo.asp?id=25

"La Floridiana" is ©2004 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.