Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Moonlight Garden

What a gorgeous moonrise last night!

I took this shot a couple of months ago.  Every time the moon is full or nearly full, I think about a moonlight garden.

Unfortunately, I've only this small space available to put one.

My main criteria is that I'm able to see it from the bedroom balcony.  This is where I sit with the dogs before bed each evening and have a bit of a meditation - hoping to relax.  Oh, and yes, I suppose I should've ironed the tablecloth for the photo, but it honestly is never ironed - this is just the way it is. 

A focal point of garden statuary seems like a good place to start.  I don't really have a shot of a nice statue, just this pedestal from the lanai - but you get the idea.  Something white or cement, even a bit craggy and mossy would be delightful.  Just so it glows in the moonlight.

White flowers are of course, a must.  This star jasmine is a good contender as it will climb the palm tree and the fragrance is beautiful night and day.

This small Gardenia bush would be great also. 

Maybe a low growing carpet type of flower like this Alyssum could work.

Or this Angelonia which is in the Snapdragon family and can really take the Florida heat.  Well, I'm sure there are many flower options, including silver-leafed plants.  I'll be working on my Moonlight Garden and hopefully it'll turn out as pretty as I imagine. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Gardening Buddy

This is Chirpy - I've named this male cardinal such as he follows me around the yard, from bush to tree, while I garden and chirps away constantly.

I know he really just wants me to bring out more seed so he can chow.

And how do I know this?  Well, Chirpy sits every morning outside the breakfast nook window and talks at me until I get off my hiney and take him some sunflower seeds.

I've never had such interaction with a bird before.  I find him quite charming and a little "dog-like"

And here's another portrait of Chirpy - just because he's so darn handsome!

He does have a Mrs. Chirps!  She's very attractive with her olive-green and lighter red coloring.  We don't see her as much.  I figure she's tending to the nest somewhere.  But I'm always happy when she returns to the yard, so I know she's doing okay.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Little Herb Garden

I keep my kitchen herbs on an old iron stand on the lanai.

The photo above shows sage, rosemary, basil and chives.

I've since added this lush thyme plant that I got at the grocery store.

My favorite herb that I grow is probably the basil.  I have two big pots full.

I've had several harvests since I planted the basil earlier this year.  I love to make pesto, which takes two packed cups of leaves for each batch.  It freezes well, so it's a great way to use up surplus amounts.

Here I'm trying to propagate some cuttings.  Oh, boy - sure looks like my windows need spring cleaning!  Maybe tomorrow.

Monday, April 8, 2013


One of my favorite blooms in the garden is the Passion Flower vine (Passiflora caerulea).

It lives on the fence along with the purple Bougainvillea.  So far they're getting along just fine.

Whoa - Closeup!  The insidey parts kind of remind me of kiwi fruit. 

But really, those three big bulby things are the stigmas, that sit on the ovary, surrounded by the five anthers with all the gorgeous corona filaments spiking out.

The Passion Flower vines are host to three Florida butterflies - the Gulf Fritillary, the Julia and the Zebra Longwing which is shown below enjoying some Lantana.

Here's a funky pencil sketch version I experimented with in the edit program.

But I'm thinking I like the regular version better...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Backyard Buntings

The Painted Buntings have been so exciting to see flitting around the yard this year.

Here is a shot of the glorious male Painted Bunting. 

The females always seem to get short-changed in the color department, but I think they're beautiful too.

Here's another photo that better shows off the females pretty green coloring.

The Indigo Bunting has been around a lot this winter as well.  Isn't he gorgeous?

Oh, okay, here's one more of that brilliant blue.

The buntings all seem to like hanging out on the fence under the bougainvillea.  They were first attracted to the yard by the birdbath.  Then I put out white millet which is their favorite food and they decided to stay for the winter.  I'm sure happy they did! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Rainy Day Walk in the Garden

Well, it doesn't look like I'll be digging in the dirt today, but that's okay.  I was able to meander around the garden inbetween rain showers and took a few pictures.

I love how the rain darkens the tree trunks and really makes all the different green colors pop.  This is in the preserve that our yard backs up to.

I love how all the leaves and flowers are dripping with raindrops.

This Hibiscus almost looks like it's encrusted with jewels.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the first Gardenia bloom of the season.  It's fragrance is so intense!

Even the spiderwebs are pretty in the rain...

Here's a little closer view

Most of the flowers and plants handle the rains quite well.  Unfortunately, this hot pink Geranium on the lanai suffered a few broken stems.  She should perk up soon though.

It's suppose to be a sunny weekend, so I'm hoping to plant up all the new flowers I brought home this week.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rainy Day at the Garden Center

It poured rain most of the day and I didn't make it in the garden.  However, I did make it to the Garden Center where I got these beautiful orchids for 75% off!  I'm smiling!

While I was there I saw this gorgeous Bleeding Heart Vine - how could I resist?  It can be invasive, so it'll have to go in a container.  But it takes mostly shade, so I've got the perfect spot in mind.

Oh yeah, then I found these marigolds on the bottom of the super sale rack for only 2 cents a piece.  I figure there's always a spot in one of the beds that needs a little brightening.  Gotta love a bargain!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

View of the Back Garden

Well, until I figure out how to customize my blog, I'll just post some photos from around the gardens.  This is through the lanai doors, through the pool cage and in front of the preserve that our yard backs up to.
This is the birdbath in back that I've recently surrounded with purple Lantana.  There's some old red Vinca that is hanging around from last year.  In the background there's Sambac Jasmine and Allamanda.
Here's a closer view of the Lantana.  The pink Impatiens I put under one of the Ixora hedges to brighten up that dark area.  I'll show that later.

And now a closeup up the Jasmine in bloom.  The fragrance is so intense especially in the morning when the gardens are still wet and it's humid. 

The Allamanda makes a nice showing among the dark green leaves.

Oh, looky - I just figured out how to make the photos bigger!  Yeehaw!  Anyway, I picked up some red Salvia and Verbena to add among the Lantana to help attract butterflies.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Dove on the Backyard Fence

This Bougainvillea has turned out to be the best background for photographing birds in my backyard.