I expect it to be warmer in Florida than North Carolina when I head south in late December. I expect to see ripe citrus. That is when citrus ripens. It likes a bit of cool to aid in the ripening process and add a touch of sweetness.
Eighty plus degrees is a bit more than I expect. Sweating when sitting still is an anomaly these days. I did not taste the fruit of a tree known to be tart more often than not.
I know I will be seeing camellias in bloom when I head south. Camellias bloom in the cooler months of fall and winter down there.
I did not expect to see the camellias in full bloom. Usually in late December they are just getting started. I might see some of the earlier sasanqua camellias in full bloom. They were already finished this year.
This year I saw more camellia flowers than I have in the past.
Many have been lost, but there are still a number of living camellias my grandmother planted. Some of them might be approaching one hundred years old.
My grandfather built the final house in the early 30's. They had lived on this land in other structures before. My grandmother planted an extensive three acre garden. She named it Heaven's Scent.
Her garden is not what it used to be. The second generation of gardeners found North Carolina to be a much more hospitable place for gardening. Time is taking its toll.
I most certainly did not expect to see this.
Azaleas are supposed to bloom in late February to March in north Florida.
There are far more azaleas in my grandmother's garden than camellias. Many of them were confused. The heat is making them come into bloom incredibly early. I even saw a Sweetgum tree that was leafing out with fresh spring growth.
It was cooler when I returned home to a North Carolina mountain top. Sixty five degrees the last week of December does not really qualify as cooler though. 'Jelena' is in full bloom a good month earlier than last year. There is wide spread confusion in the plant world.