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)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

How hot is it?

It's only the end of May and already it's getting too hot to work comfortably in the garden.  I find that the neighborhood is pretty with the different colors of Oleander in bloom.  The rainy season has yet to begin and the lake sure looks like it needs some water.

When I'm not in the garden you might be able to find me and the jeep down in the Everglades.

The Fakahatchee Strand is one of my most favorite places on earth.  It's dark, lush and jungly and has been called the Amazon-of-the-north, with good reason.

Not only is the scenery enchanting, the birds and wildlife are a photographers dream.  (Note the gator at 7 o'clock)

A closer view of Mr. G.

Aah, closer still.  This is a different alligator than the one above.  I was next to a little area of water and saw bubbles coming up which alerted me there might be a gator under the water.  Sure enough, he emerged and I got a couple of quick shots.  These guys can move fast if they want and I always have to be aware of my surroundings. 

If you ever hope to catch a glimpse of the elusive Florida panther - this would be the place.  Unfortunately, I've never seen one, but I'm not surprised, they're very rare to see.  I took this shot at the Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs.  Makes me so sad this beauty is caged.

Since this is a garden blog, I figured I should probably add in some flora.  The Fakahatchee is home to many species of wild orchids.  This Bletia purpurea or Pine-pink orchid is one of the more common ones.  It was along side the path.  September and October are the best months to see orchids in the Fakahatchee and if you really want to see the Ghost Orchid, be prepared to take a swamp walk with a guide.  It's on my list... we'll see. 

I also found this lovely white Morning Glory.  I'm sure it has a proper name, but I've misplaced it at the moment.

More bursts of color along the way.

There's always something beautiful to see.  Blue is fairly uncommon to find and I was thrilled to see this gorgeous sight.  Sometimes I take my lawnchair and watercolors along.  But that's another post.

Friday, May 17, 2013

It's a Mandevilla Miracle

Well, sort of ...

This poor thing sat in its nursery container for well over a year, hanging out in the crotch of this palm in the backyard.  It got watered by the sprinklers, but never bloomed.

So FINALLY, I potted it up and stuck it against a trellis out back near the lanai.  And now several weeks later - lo and behold - it has over thirty buds and has bloomed constantly.

All it needed was a little bit of attention.  And of course - that includes talking nicely to it.

Oh, I'm quite sure the neighbors think I'm a total nut job listening to me telling the plants how beautiful they all are!  This Ixora especially needs help to bloom this year.  I've been talking to it a lot!  I also gave it some needed nutrients and a trim.

And I'm usually chatting with Chirpy.  He comes around every day!  I swear he was once a dog in another life - he just follows me all over the yard.

This sweet pair of Mourning Doves allow me to yammer at them too.

As does Mr. Squirrel.  Although, he looks as if he'd like to say something back!  :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fragrance Explosion

The Magnolia tree has started to bloom and is perfuming the entire backyard.

The Gardenia has been going strong for several weeks now and is also releasing a lovely fragrance.

Add in the Star and Sambac Jasmines and wow, the backyard is very intense! 

I love how the Sambac Jasmine climbs up the Giant White Birds of Paradise, bringing the fragrance at eye level and above.

Well, you're either going to love the Giant White Birds or hate them - they are one big jungly mess.  I am in the former group and love their wild appearance.

And yes, I always find interesting things living in them - like this funky spider.

And they are a favorite of the Red-Bellied Woodpecker that loves to pick insects from the old flower pods.

Guess I've gotten off track a little.  I really just wanted to share all the fragrant flowers blooming in the backyard this season.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Where are all the Butterflies?

I have not seen many Butterflies yet this season.

Last year at this time, there were tons roaming the yard.

I've planted lots of their favorite flowers, like these purple pentas.

And this pretty pink Lantana.

Salvia, Verbena, Agastache (that's pronounced Ag-a-STACK-ay, and it's just plain fun to say) and even more Lantana are placed around the birdbath to help attract them.

I even got a Butterfly Bush...

Well, until they return there is always plenty to enjoy - like the birds

And the bees

And all the other creatures that happily live in the yard

Hopefully it won't be long until they gracefully flutter around and enjoy the butterfly garden again.