Florida wildflowers


In 1991 the Coreopsis was designated as Florida’s official wildflower. The state legislature made this designation after the colorful flowers were used extensively in Florida’s roadside plantings and highway beautification programs. The Coreopsis is found in a variety of colors, ranging from golden to pink. There are so many beautiful native species of wildflowers here in Florida. So much so that when Juan Ponce De Leon came ashore around Easter in 1513 he named this land La Florida. He called the area “la Florida” in honor of Spain’s Easter time celebration “Pascua florida” (feast of the flowers).

coral bean

One of my favorite wildflowers is the Coral bean. Coral bean is a native plant that can add interest to the landscape from winter to spring … In North and Central Florida coral bean grows as a large perennial, reaching 6 feet tall before it freezes to the ground in winter. It can be found growing wild throughout Florida in the pine flatwoods , scrub, hammocks, coastal dunes and sandhills. It blooms from winter to spring.


Atamasco lilies or “Rain lilies” are another beautiful native species. These plants are threatened. They bloom in spring and sometimes summer. Their habitat is slope forests, bluffs, moist, pine flatwoods, river swamps, meadows, limestone outcrops and ruderal areas. They were used by the Seminole indians to treat toothaches. They are poisonous to livestock and chickens.


Partridge peas are another favorite of mine. These grew all over our pasture when I was a little flower girl. Beautiful yellow flowers that the bees and butterflies favor as well.

florida toadflax 150

This tiny wildflower goes unnoticed sometimes, but it was a sweet gift for my Mama many times. I spent a lot of time wandering around the yard, pasture and pine flatwoods. I would pick them by the handfuls. They would be terribly wilted by the time I got around to wandering back to the house. We would put them in water and before you know it they would perk right up. I still love them and pick them from my yard and bring them to my Mama , and she is still just as happy to receive them as she was when I brought them to her wilted in my tiny hands.

So, when you are out and about around this part of Florida, stop and take a look for those little wildflowers. There is almost always something blooming!


It’s not a secret anymore…

I’m revisiting my post from a couple of months ago about Umatilla.  Why?   Well because I was told this morning by a realtor that “Umatilla is not a secret anymore” I thought to myself, “Was it a secret before?”  I don’t think so but it seems that our little city is becoming more appealing to the new comers in this area, and they are coming this way.

I’ve grown up here and have always known this place was unique and wonderful!  We are a mere 6 miles north of “The Golden Triangle”, yet we are a world away. And that’s fine with me.

Umatilla is a rural community.  What we don’t have sets us apart,  I think.  We don’t have a Walmart or any other big box store.  Yes, one stop shopping is convenient,  but you can find most everything you need right here without ever leaving “town”.  What we do  have is very near and dear to me personally,  The forest!

senic by way

We are a gateway city to The Ocala National forest,  The Florida Trail and The Black Bear Scenic Byway.  All these are great recreational opportunities.  You can hit the byway in your car and stop off for a visit to Alexander Springs, camp, hike, swim or just sit and drink in all the beauty of the place. It is not too far off the beaten path and for the nature lover it is a wonderful place to visit or stay for a while. Pitch your tent and relax!

Not too far from the entrance to Alexander is the Florida Trail this is a wonderful trail to hike.  I’ve hiked on it a little but want to experience more in my very near future. The trail winds through some of the most beautiful parts of Florida and I hope to see it soon.

The forest holds so many treasures, along with it’s hiking, camping, springs and endless recreation areas it is home to so many species of wildlife.  One of my favorites is the Florida Black Bear.  Our area has one of the highest populations of black bears in Florida, if you live around here you already know this. Being bear aware should be part of your daily life, making sure your trash is secured,  keeping your bird feeders in at night and bringing in any pet food that may be too tempting for the bears.  All these little things can help you live happily in the same area as these sweet creatures.  They get fussed about a lot but most of the fussin’ could be solved if these small lessons were learned.



Another one of my favorites is the Scrub Jay.  The Florida scrub jay is found only in Florida scrub habitat.  The scrub habitat is unique in itself .  It is a harsh environment that is dry and super sandy and prone to wildfires.  But those wildfires actually help form the scrub jay habitat, the low growing landscape suits them just fine.   These birds are a threatened species and should not be hand fed by humans.  They are a social and curious bird and will eat out of your hand.  This is not good for them.  It causes them to nest too early and the fledglings can’t survive, so please resist the temptation.

scrub jays

The forest holds many secrets with it’s tall whispering trees and long winding rivers and streams.  They hold memories of days gone by, of settlements that are no more, homesteads that have crumbled out of existence over the years.  They have seen many changes and will see many more.  As for me, I’ll keep on loving my little hometown. Watching the folks speed past the front window of my little  flower shop.

shop inside





Fun Stuff around the shop!

Happy Friday! This weekend kicks off a new adventure we are participating in, it is a QR Code Scavenger hunt!  What is this you ask?  Well I’m here to tell you all about it!  It is  a week long event that sends the players all over North Lake county in search of QR codes, I’ll explain that in a minute, at each location they scan the code with their cell phones and collect a clue to a puzzle. Once they have collected all the codes they then decipher the puzzle, this then leads them to the location of the end of the hunt party! The party will be fabulous complete with lots of prizes, food, beverages and most of all FUN!!!

What is a QR code?  Well, it is a little black and white square icon that you find on all kinds of things. It holds information about a service, product or in this case a clue. You can download a reader app on any smart phone. The reader scans the code and gives you the information! How cool is that?

My friends Timothy Totten , Byron Faudie and Robin Richter are the team that makes up Fun Venture LLC.  They create fun adventures for all ages and have put on some pretty amazing events! They have created Audio Game which is kind of like Simon says and a flash mob combined, Escape room in a box, pop up mini golf and clue live mystery party just to name a few. You can visit their website at http://www.funventure.us/


Our shop is one of 31 stops that you can collect clues to find the end of the hunt party.  Go to the website to get  registered and get ready for some big fun finding all the clues!  You can also download the map on the website.  It starts this Saturday and ends next Saturday. The best thing about it is that it is FREE to play, yes that’s right FREE! so what’s stopping you ? Come join us and have some big FUN!

fun venture

Tick Tock….time’s a’wastin

While everyone in retail is gearing up for the upcoming holidays, we have been ordering for Mother’s day 2018.  We still have to plan for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas 2017,  of course,  but we have been doing that most of the summer.  When November 1st rolls around it is time for the tree to come out and make it’s debut once again in  our little shop window.  We always have such a great time thinking of the theme for our tree.  We seldom do the glitz and glam overkill that seem so common, I like to actually see the tree itself.  After all it is significant on it’s own. I’m thinking this year it will be very natural and most like the forest that I love so much.  Short and sweet this week….peace, love and flowers.

Livin’ on the edge….of the forest II

Change? What change? It is subtle change around here, and that’s a good thing! Slow and steady still wins the race often times. Here you will find a couple of photos of downtown Umatilla. Not really much difference huh? If you have lived around these parts for the last 50 years, you might notice the changes to my little  hometown.central ave looking south.jpg


There is something missing from the second photo, the railroad tracks. The tracks were always there when I was growing up. They crossed the southbound lane of State road 19 and ran north right through the middle of town. When we would walk to school from Mrs. Smith’s daycare we would cross 19 at the police station, cross the tracks and over to the elementary school.  In the afternoon we would make the trip back.  It always seemed so far, it’s only a couple of blocks, if that, but traveling on little 6  year old feet that can seem like miles. I remember the tracks being there because I fell one afternoon coming back from school. I tripped on the tracks and skinned myself up good. The policeman on duty scooped me up out of the road and delivered me back to the daycare. I was alright but I’ve not forgotten it!

Speaking of trains and tracks our library is housed in what used to be the old train depot. There is a bright orange caboose sitting right out front, a big nod to the railroad that once delivered so many people and goods to and from the river, inland and beyond. library.jpg

The powers that be decided some time ago that those tracks were no longer necessary here. They were removed and left us with some of the most lovely of medians in all of Lake county, in my opinion of course. If you drive through Umatilla north on State road 19 it is beautiful! Beautifully  landscaped islands where the train used roll through town literally.  Join me again for a little history and perhaps some mystery.  Check out our shop’s website http://www.shanannecainflorist.com and our facebook page. 

Livin’ on the edge…of the forest.

This will be the first in a series of blog posts on one of my favorite places in all the world!  Umatilla Florida!


This is my hometown. This is where my  business, my friends, my family and my heart are. I grew up here, literally.  I went to Mrs. Smith’s daycare on Kentucky ave. with my other friends that grew up here as well. Most of our parents worked at Golden Gem or one of the many packing houses or grove related businesses in Umatilla.478bde77833dd45153fc548793bfdb16--old-florida-fruit-box.jpgumatilla belle.jpg

Umatilla has a rich history in the citrus industry and still has a operating packing house right here. Where most towns in Lake County have turned to tourism and look like Disney on any given Saturday, Umatilla remains pretty much the same,other than a few more traffic signals and a lot less packing houses.

If you venture way out here to Umatilla, it is about 6 miles north of  Eustis on state road 19.  I laugh when people say “oh you came all the way from Umatilla?” It really isn’t that far from our friends in ” The Golden Triangle” That would be Eustis, Mount Dora and Tavares.

Umatilla is truly a unique and very small town. We have three great schools. Elementary, Middle and High. We have a historical school house that is home to our museum. The museum is a great adventure to explore more of Umatilla’s history .  Their hours are noon- 4PM  Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.1975271_1408018226127755_334670109_n.jpg

My shop is located in downtown and sits right next door to our great community newspaper The Northlake Outpost. It is published weekly and covers all the activities in Umatilla and the surrounding area. Always something interesting in The Outpost.

Join me next week for more about life around the flower shop and our little town on the edge of the forest!


Autumn is here!

fall leaves.jpg

Autumn is here! Yeah right?! Our shop is in central Florida and it was very hot and humid today! It does not feel like fall at all Y’All! That doesn’t mean we can’t give our space the feel of fall. We have decorated with our pumpkins and fall leaf garlands. I have the wonderful smells of pumpkin and cinnamon spices in the air.


pumpkin fall berries.jpg

It doesn’t take much to create that autumnal atmosphere around your home. This beautiful arrangement can be created for you right here in our shop. Pair it with a variety of fall leaves, pumpkins, gourds and a little raffia and you can have a nice display of fall color right in your home. Around here we have to crank the air down and wish it was cool enough outside for a fire.

I get really excited when we start to see fall flowers on our wholesale flower trucks! Along with berries and branches that can be transformed into beautiful fall arrangements. Some of the seasonal flowers we see in abundance this time of year are, sunflowers, fall mums in all their glorious colors of bronze, gold, butterscotch, deep russet and bright yellows. Bright orange carnations, brilliant orange and yellow lilies, alstroemerias in bright yellows, vibrant orange and royal purples. These are among the few flowers that really get me excited for the Autumn season.

It seems for me anyway, that it only lasts a fraction of what it should. I am not the typical retailer apparently, I want Autumn to last until after Thanksgiving. If I wait then I’m behind on my decorating by my industry standards. So, I have to get with it and put my tree up by November 1st! This really bothers me. You would think I’d be used to it after 30 plus years,but it never has set well with me. I want my fall flowers for as long as possible!

Please remember to follow my blog and please visit our shop website and face book page




Let’s Talk about Herbs II


Hey there, my second blog about herbs! I love the smell of fresh rosemary! It is just wonderful and pretty easy to grow as well! Today I’m gonna talk about how to grow and some of the uses for rosemary.

Rosemary is fairly easy to root in water this has been the most successful method for me. You can buy a small plant already established if you are in a hurry for it. If you know someone with a plant you can simply get a cutting and root it in water. Leave it in the water and check it after a couple of weeks and you should noticethe roots beginning to form, then simply put it in a small pot in some well draining potting soil. Put it in a sunny window and give it a little water and watch it grow. When it is established then you can transfer it into the ground in your garden or grow in a larger container outside.  Only water it when the soil is dry, I’m here in Florida and my plant outside my front door does well with no care other than trimming it once in a while. Our climate and well drained soil seems perfect for it. So it is zero maintenance once it is established! Over watering will lead to root rot so don’t do that!

Here are some uses for rosemary!


2 lemons, sliced
2 sprigs rosemary
1 tablespoon vanilla

Place ingredients into pot and fill with water to about 1 inch below brim and simmer. lasts about 3 days.

Rosemary Body Scrub

1 1/2 cups of Epsom salt
2 Rosemary springs, finely chopped
2-3 drops Lemon essential oil
3 Tbsp of Coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp lemon zest


Mix everything in a large bowl. Pour into a single airtight jar or into a couple of smaller jars. lasts about two to 4 months


There are endless recipe online that use rosemary! I like to pick fresh stems and strip the leaves and use the stem as a skewer on chicken breast then grill. The woody stems infuse the chicken with the rosemary! It is delicious and super easy!

Some of the healing benefits of rosemary 

  • anti aging
  • antibacterial
  • anti depressant
  • anti inflamitory
  • antiseptic
  • cancer prventer
  • aid in digestion
  • hair health
  • improves blood flow
  • improves memory
  • mood enhancer

Rosemary is a wonder plant in my opinion and nothing beats it’s fabulous fragrance! Join me again and we will explore together the wonders of my little floral filled world! Please follow my blog and visit my website http://www.shanannecainflorist.com

Let’s talk about herbs!

herb rocks.jpg

Herbs are magical in themselves. They can heal and soothe, awaken the senses and bring calm to our nerves. All in a natural way. These amazing plants have been around for a long time and posses wonderful healing properties.

My favorite herb must be lavender it has a relaxing and soothing scent that calms and helps with restful sleep. There are many products on the market today that contain this age old remedy for restful sleep.  Lavender is easy to grow in most climates.  It doesn’t require a lot of water, likes full sun and well drained soil.  It will form fairly large bushes that can easily be a specimen plant in your landscape.  Harvest lavender as it blooms throughout the summer, and prune back by about a third each fall.  lavender.jpg



If you’ve ever been around when lavender is blooming, you know how well it attracts bees!   In a time when bees are in decline, this is a good thing!  Besides bees, it also attracts butterflies and other beneficial insects.



Peppermint plant uses include using this mint as a medicine. Have a headache? Simply crush a few leaves and breathe in deeply to relieve a tension headache. Brew up a strong cup of mint tea to aid digestion after a big meal. Crush a few leaves and wipe the sweat from your forehead after a long afternoon out in the garden. The essential oils in peppermint bring renewed vigor. Chewing a leaf and spitting it out is a quick breath freshener. Dried peppermint leaf powder mixed with myrrh powder, sage powder, and baking soda makes a good toothpaste for receding gums and gingivitis.  Just dip a wet, soft-bristled toothbrush into the powder mixture and brush gently in little circles. It takes about two weeks to start seeing results. For liniment to be used on aching muscles, try adding a strong cup of peppermint tea to one-half cup of witch hazel.


Next week we I will explore more herbs! Come back and check out these magical healing plants! Until then keep on smiling and love one another!

Sunflowers…..What’s the story?

Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers. They are such happy flowers. I am often fascinated by flowers in general, being a florist I get to experience a wide variety of flowers on almost a daily basis. But sunflowers hold some special place for me. I like to grow them, plant the seeds, wait for them to pop their little heads through the soil, grow taller and taller, and then there is a bud! and wait and wait for the first sign of that yellow to show! And then the glorious blooms appear and slowly open soaking up the sun. Then they bow their heads and become food for the bugs!  The bees and the butterflies love them as well. This is one of mine from this year’s crop.

my sunflower

So what about this history behind these beauties?

Although it was commonly accepted that the sunflower was first domesticated in what is now the southeastern US, roughly 5000 years ago,there is evidence that it was first domesticated in Mexico around 2600 BC. These crops were found in Tabasco, Mexico at the San Andres dig site. The earliest known examples in the United States of a fully domesticated sunflower have been found in Tennessee, and date to around 2300 BC. Many indigenous american peoples used the sunflower as the symbol of their solar deity, including the Aztecs and the Otomi of Mexico and the Incas in South America. In 1510 early Spanish explorers encountered the sunflower in the Americas and carried its seeds back to Europe. Of the four plants known to have been domesticated in what is now the eastern continental United States and to have become important agricultural commodities, the sunflower is currently the most economically important..