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)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ready to Welcome 2015!

Well, this is kind of a funky shot, but I thought I'd include it as part of my attempts in taking action photos of the birds this coming new year.  I find it interesting to show different behaviors that still shots can't always portray.  Here, it's quite obvious the male painted bunting is having something to say to the female - something she didn't take kindly to, I'd bet!

Glad that the female (or this could be an immature male), finally got a chance at the feeder!  I've seen three of these greenies, as they're called, at one time and I've also seen three of the males at the same time.  The last couple of years I've only seen two males at a time, so I'm happy I'm getting a bigger crowd this year!

I never get tired of seeing these beauties.  I'm so amazed at the colors of blue, green, orange, red and pink - wow!  

This is not a great photo by far, but I was so happy to see that the Indigo Buntings have arrived in the yard.  I haven't seen them here this early before, so it was a nice surprise.  This male is still in molt as he's mostly brown.

Soon he'll be this glorious blue and what a beauty he is!  I love seeing them fly around the yard - bright dashes of blue go zooming by.  Makes a challenge to photograph them as I rarely see them at the feeder.

I got the last three narcissus bulbs at the garden center a few weeks ago and they were very nice to bloom for the Holidays and are still blooming!

I'll be trying to find a spot in the garden for the poinsettia.  

The potted hot pink geranium is making a comeback after it got some new soil.  

I thought I had bought all hot pink pentas, but I picked up two purple ones by mistake.  But, that's okay, I don't really consider it a mistake as I'm a big fan of purple!  

Yep - more purple!  Never get tired of the wonderful bougainvillea that is in its prime blooming stage this time of year.

I love the subtle shimmer on the leaves and petals of the begonia.

I keep forgetting I have lettuce and sweet pea seeds to plant. I think I'm going to have to write myself a note!  The lettuce will be all right, but I might have waited too long on the sweet peas.  I'll still give them a go, but it'll probably be too hot when they get going.  As we're having mid 80's, I'm not sure if we'll even get cool enough weather for them. 

I'll remember this year as the year of the bear.  We had a little guy in the yard several times, but lately there's been quite a big bear around and looks like he chose our fence to help him get over the fence in the backyard.  I never seem to have my camera when he's around and I'm going to be working on getting some photos next time!  I feel so blessed to live next to such a beautiful and active preserve.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

It's Feeling a lot like Winter

The nights and early mornings are pretty darn cold down here in south Florida this week!  Even Flash is bundling up in the couch throws, even though he has a heavy fur coat of his own!

The kitchen herbs are looking robust, which is always appreciated.  Garlic chives is in the front with flatleaf Italian Parsley behind it.  If you look to the right of the chives, you can see part of my little pot of green onions that I planted from the grocery store.  They took off right away and in one week had grown new tops which I trimmed off last night and put in our dinner salad.  I have always known you can grow certain foods from the grocery store, but hadn't tried it in awhile.  Which is plain silly, because I find green onions to be a bit expensive and now I have an ongoing supply!  Fun!

The cool weather annuals have been in the garden centers for several weeks now.  I've just finally got around to putting some impatiens under the date palm in front of the liritrope.  They're looking a little scrubby at the moment, but they should fill out quite fast.   I need to mulch them this weekend.

I put some Mexican Heather in the front bed. They're so dainty and pretty.  And purple!

Also got a new red Milkweed plant to put next to the yellow one in the backyard.  You can see the orange and black Assassin bug that's on the leaf next to the upper set of flowers.  The Assassin bugs are one of the good guys, even though they have a rather nefarious name.  They prey on Aphids, which are the nemesis of the beautiful milkweed.  Especially here in Florida.

And here's a shot of the Assassin bug closer up.

I've had a lot more Monarch butterflies in the garden since I put in the milkweed.  Hurray!

The oranges on the tree in the side yard are ripening to a pretty, bright color.  They look so nice, unfortunately they are very, very sour.  Maybe they'd be good for marmalade?

In the past, I've used them to make little bird feeders filled with a peanut butter, cornmeal and seed mixture.  I had to bring them inside at night so as to not attract any of the nocturnal critters looking for a handy meal.

 I probably won't use the oranges for birdfeeders this year as I got a new little cedar birdfeeder for less than half price at Lowe's.  Not bad for $7.50!  I already feed the birds out back but I have a hard time seeing them from the house because the Giant White Bird of Paradise plants block most of my viewing area.  So I'm happy I found this and placed it in the ficus hedge on the side of the yard where I can see it from the kitchen table.

Within half an hour the Painted Buntings had found it, although I haven't taken any photos of them in it yet.  This is the first shot I've gotten of the female Painted Bunting in the area where I feed the birds in the back of the yard.  I take a chair and sit out there and the birds put on quite a show.  Lately, it's been too cold to sit for very long, Ha!

I thought the Magnolia was done blooming for awhile, but I keep detecting a faint fragrance and then I see a bloom clear up on the top of the tree.  That's just fine by me - I'm happy it's happy enough to bloom in this cold weather!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Vanda - She Blooms!

I always do a little happy dance when one of the Vandas is blooming!  I find this color combo a bit unusual - I bought this when the flower stalk was getting ready to bloom and had no idea what color it would be.  I admit I probably wouldn't have chosen this particular plant if the flowers had been open, but it has a certain beauty and I've grown to love it just the same.  

I like to convert the orchid photos to infrared.  I realize this is not the proper way to do an infrared photo - but I like how the orchids look and this is my version until I attempt the proper approach.  Oh,well - it's fun to try new things!  

The Anthuriums took it a bit hard when we had the colder temps for a couple of nights last week.  

I cleaned out the old debris and they're looking much better.  I will have to cover them up if we get any more cold nights.  

The Plumeria continues to drop its leaves and blooms.

They're such pretty petals.  Sometimes I bring in a fallen flower and float it in water for a day or so.

The cheery and bright yellow hibiscus greets me as I walk up the sidewalk to the front door.

I like to take photos of the backs of flowers too.  This red hibiscus is at the neighbors, across the street.

We don't get a lot of obvious color changes during autumn here in south Florida.  The preserve behind the house is still green and lush in the morning sun.

The crotons add the biggest blast of fall colors in my yard.  They look like this year round, so not really a change.  

They even have funky little flowers that look a bit like sea creatures to me! :)

I'm pleased that I got the hummingbird feeder put out last week!  I've seen them at the neighbors Firebush and then they've come over to check out my Ixora, so I hope this is a good place for it.  I've positioned it so I can see it through the window when I play the piano.  

And here's Mr. Painted Bunting giving me quite the look!  I think he's spotted me, haha!  He's probably wondering where his dinner is!  

Friday, November 14, 2014

What's Blooming in the Garden

Well, the Plumbago is happy and putting on a nice show of beautiful blue blooms.

And the purple Lantana is smiling in the sunshine.

I adore this new Sapphire Showers Skyflower I got a week or so ago.  I still haven't decided where to plant it because I misread how big it gets and now I have to change the location, so it has room to spread out.  Apparently it gets 12 to 15 feet in height and width.  Whoops, guess I'd better pay closer attention from now on....but no fear, I will find a place for it!

Here's a bit closer view of those cottage type blooms on the Skyflower - I just love them!

Also in the blue/purple category - the Bougainvillea is just starting to bloom again on the back fence.

The lush hot pink Butterfly Bush has a few blooms going on.  I am fascinated with the fragrance of this plant - it kind of reminds me of honey.

The Pentas are always a reliable bloomer no matter if it's hot or cold.  Sunny or cloudy.

The Plumeria is having its last hurrah before it loses all its leaves for the season.  Looks like it still has quite a few buds yet to open.

The Milkweed has finally started blooming again, it's gotten a little leggy.  I don't fuss about it, I'll just whack it down a bit later on.  

The Zebra Longwing loves the orange Lantana and visits every day.  He usually brings all his friends!  

Oh, let's see what else - the Ixora is doing quite nicely, just as it always does.  I couldn't ask for a better carefree and easy plant to have in the yard.  And I love the orange against the green leaves.  Those colors always say "tropical" to me.  

I love having white in the front gardens.  It shows up so nicely from the road.  These white Geraniums have done well since last year.   I need a few more to fill in a couple of spaces in the border.

The Ti plant is in bloom too.  I can't believe that I used to not care for these plants when I first moved to Florida.  I have no idea what I was thinking, because I now absolutely love their colors and how sturdy they are all year round.

The Ti plants flower is very pretty with light and dark pinks, white and yellow.  

Well, I'll finish this post with the tail end of the beautiful Bald Eagle that was flying around over the yard.  Of course, by the time I noticed him, all I could catch was his hiney.  That's okay though - he'll be back...