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, November 29, 2013

Brrrr, It's Cold in the Garden!

Whooowee - it is COLD again this morning!  It probably isn't as cold as I think it is, but when I see stocking caps, winter coats and when I even wore gloves to walk the dogs - I know it's almost freezing here in south Florida.  Well, it's just been in the high 40's, but it sure feels icy!

I thought I might have to bring in the girls (that would be the orchids), but they seem to be all right.  When I bring them in they all go in the cabana bath off the lanai.  I stick them in the shower and they happily stay over until it warms up again.  The orchids that are on the trees just have to brave it, and they've been doing okay too.  This pretty I named Antigone - yes, I name all my Vandas.  And yeah, I'm a little strange...

It was ALMOST too cold to sit out in my birdwatching chair in the backyard - but I piled on a sweater and my wellies and found I was quite comfortable.  This is my favorite part of the garden.  It looks out upon the large preserve, which is very active and I find it's very relaxing as I wait for visitors to photograph.  A friend said it reminded him of a Secret Garden and that really made my day, as that was kind of what I was going for.  This shot doesn't show much of the Bougainvillea blooming on the right and the passionflower vine on the left, but it's the only pic of my chair, so that's why I used it.  

This is Mrs. Cardinal posing for me when the Bourg is profusely blooming.  It's just starting now to gear up for a really big show.

And this is probably my favorite shot, which you have probably guessed as I use it for the cover photo.

While I was out there just taking random shots of the garden, this ended up being sort of an abstract.  I just think of it as a pretty mess.

Also, while I was out back this Eurasian Collared Dove showed up for the first time in the yard.  I know she's just a commoner and not very exciting compared to say, the Painted Bunting, but she has a pale grey beauty that is lovely.  And she sports a very cool red iris in her eye.  The thing is she's a bit bossy and doesn't get along very well with the Mourning Dove gang that hangs out every day.

There's at least seven of them and they patrol the back fence area.

Puffed up against the cold.  The Mourning Dove call is so haunting and pretty.

Whoa - close up!

Getting back to flowers - I got this at the grocery store.  I'm only including it because it is so gosh-darn gorgeous!  I am completely in love with the lime green color and the architectural spikes.  I believe it is a Chrysanthemum, but as usual, I don't want to mislead with misinformation... I will have to research a bit more.  Sometimes the flower industry adds dyes to flowers and I always wonder if I'm getting a natural color or if it is enhanced.

Like these beautiful, but dyed blue orchids.  I got these as a gift and I adore the blue, but it's an example of adding a false color.  Those big blue orchids that have been around the stores the last couple of years will rebloom white.  (Or so I've been told by the president of the local gardening club)

These were in with the grocery store bouquet and I hope they brighten your day with a little cheer!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Wildflowers or Weeds?

Maybe you've noticed these tiny blue flowers scattered around in your lawn here in Florida.  I suspect most people would consider them a weed, and they can invade the lawn quite easily.  I've been doing some research and I think they are called Commelina communis or Asiatic Dayflower.  Now as you've probably guessed I'm not an authority on anything much, so please consider that I've gotten the name wrong as there are many that are similar and it can be confusing.  But to the best of my ability and several FL wildflower databases, this is what I think it is.  (Same goes for any of the following wildflowers)

I do, however, think it is a gorgeous shade of blue and upon closer inspection - I'm quite enchanted with all the details.  Things I probably would never have noticed until I took up trying to learn photography.

Another rinky-dinky little wildflower I've been seeing in the yard is the Richardia grandiflora or Largeflower Pusley or probably more easily remembered - Mexican Clover.  These can be quite abundant and cover a large area of the lawn, which I'm sure lots would consider a pest.  From afar, this can almost look like a covering of snow on the grass.

 Maybe you've seen the Climbing Aster wildflower around.  When there's a big clump of them, they really make a nice showing.  I've had these in the yard back by the preserve behind the house.

I also have these very pretty, delicate pink wildflowers at the edge of the yard.  I haven't been able to find out the name of them.  I feel confident though, that I'll find it when I dig a little harder on-line.

I think I've posted this photo before, but it seems to be the only shot I have of the Bidens pilosa wildflower or more commonly known as Shepherd's Needles.  I think I see this wildflower the most often and it also lives at the edge of my yard.

This pretty red bloom is the Emilia fosbergii or Florida Tasselflower.  I love how showy this wildflower is and obviously so do the butterflies!

Well, this beauty isn't a wildflower, but it does grow wild.  There's several living next to my yard and unfortunately causing me some asthmatic distress.  This is Baccharis halimifolia or the common name is Saltbush.  Apparently, there's a ton of common names - I just call it nemesis, lol!

I suppose I should talk more specifically about my garden - this being a garden blog, Haha!  I am very pleased that the Plumeria is set to bloom again!

Two other branches have little buds starting to form, so they'll be blooming after this is done.  Very exciting!  I didn't take any photos of the little buds, they were just nubbins, so not much of a photo opp.

Here's a pic from when it was blooming earlier this year.  Gosh, it smells so great too!

The peach Hibiscus is blooming most profusely lately.  I'm kind of surprised, because it's tucked away in a dark area on the east side of the house.

But I won't ponder on that too long, I just thank the universe for producing such a lovely flower to enjoy!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Green and Gold in the Garden

I can't believe I've let these beautiful ginger plants set in their nursery containers for well over a year!  What a slouch am I!  I'm lucky they are still thriving and appear so lush and healthy after all this time.  Well, I'm determined to find them a home somewhere in the yard this week!

I've seen others in the neighborhood plant them in the sun and it's always too harsh during the summer months and they turn brown on the edges and are usually wilting.  I think I've got a spot on the west side of the house, in the shade, where they should do well and hopefully be happy there.  I love their pretty green and gold markings and they make a wonderful addition to the subtropical garden.

Here's a green and gold coleus that lives in one of the front beds.  It grows quite tall and adds height to the garden and I love the markings on this.  It looks to me like someone has randomly splashed gold paint on all the gorgeous green leaves.

Here's more pretty gold and green.

Our orange tree is loaded this year and the fruit is a pretty golden color at the moment.   Soon the oranges will be ripe and ready for my marmalade recipe I've chosen to try them out in.  They're a little sour, so it'll probably take some tweaking to get it just right.

The Allamanda is a beautiful golden color and blooms year round.

Last year I had these glorious golden mums in urns on each side of the front door.  I think they brightened up the recessed area under the alcove.  I guess a trip to the local garden center is in order pretty soon...

Here's the most beautiful green and gold that's in the garden this week - the female Painted Bunting.  They're nicknamed "Greenies" because they look all green from afar.  This is the first time she's shown up this year and I'm happy she's arrived.

Okay, enough green and gold.  Here's some Black Vultures that were circling over the preserve behind the house yesterday.  This is an every day occurrence here - and I can only assume they've found their dinner!

The Black Vulture is not a handsome bird, but I am fascinated by his turkey, wattle-like cowl neck that he wears.  And he has a huge wingspan reaching 4.9 feet.  I still like them even if they are common and scavengers.

This is the Cara Cara - it too is a scavenger found here in Florida, but I find him a lot prettier.  I usually don't see one in Lee County, but if I drive into Hendry county just a bit East of here, I usually see quite a few.  They're from the Falcon family and they're truly a beautiful bird.

This doesn't really fit in with the theme of this post, but then neither did the Vultures or the Cara Cara.  I just think it's pretty!  This is a wild flower found here in south Florida that I photographed at the Manatee park a bit north of here.  And since this is Veterans Day - a sincere thank you to all the wonderful Veterans and their service to our country!  Actually, I think that every day, not just today!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Painted Buntings are back!

Wow, what an insanely gorgeous bird!  I'm so happy they like to visit the backyard and I try to get as many photos of them as possible.  They've been here since October and usually stay until spring.  I put out white millet every day and they love the birdbath, so I'd like to think they're happy here.

The purple Bougainvillea is starting to bloom again.  I love it's wild-looking appearance and beautiful flush of color.  I've also discovered it makes a pretty backdrop for bird photos.

I really want a hot pink Bougainvillea like this one our neighbors have!  They've done a great job with the trellis and it makes quite a showpiece.

Here's more pinkness!

I'm always pleased when one of the orchids is blooming!  This is one of the Vandas on the lanai.

Now that it's not as hot out, it's time to add some of the cooler weather plants to the gardens.  I had planted these New Guinea Impatiens last year, but they didn't do very well.  I'm not sure why, because this is not the first time I've failed with this particular plant.

I do much better with the regular Impatiens.  I guess that's not saying much for my skills as a gardener, because these easily thrive almost anywhere in the shade, LOL!

Now that the rainy season is letting up, I think it's time to put out the Hummingbird feeder.  This was my setup last year, but unfortunately I didn't see any Hummingbirds.  This time it's going on the other side of the house near the Firebushes, so hopefully there will be a better chance of a visitation!

Here's a guy we get visitations from quite often.  I took this from across the yard, so it's a little far away, but I think the opossum is kind of cute.  I get the feeling most people don't share that thought...

I cropped the photo for a closer look.  I always wonder if there's offspring somewhere nearby - time will tell!