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)

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...

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Return of the Painted Buntings

I'm so happy that the Painted Buntings have returned to the yard.  I am not so happy however, with my photography skills of late!  I haven't used my Nikon all summer and it obviously shows!  Well, I'll keep practising and while doing so, hopefully discover some new birds in the yard this winter.  We get a lot of species passing through on their way farther south and it's always fun to see something different!

He just loves the white millet!  Last year I found a huge bag of all white millet at the Big Lots store, for only $7 which is a great price for such a big bag.  And it wasn't expired or damaged in any way.  Hope I can find it again this year.  I usually buy a small bag of mixed seeds with the first ingredient of white millet and it costs almost $10.  So.....here's hoping!

What a festival of colors!  Love these little birds so much!  And they sing beautifully too!  If you're in the area of Corkscrew Swamp near Naples, Florida, they have feeders out front during the fall and winter and they regularly get lots of Painted Buntings.

The Catbird has arrived for the season as well.  This is another of my favorite birds to visit the yard.  They make the most delightful noise.  Well.....some may not think it's delightful.  We have nicked-named him the "Roger Bird" because one of the sounds that he makes mimics the Roger the alien character on the TV show American Dad - one episode where he makes a very annoying whining sound.  And in case you watch that show its the episode where Jeff and Haley escape with Stans money and Roger follows them.   OKAY - anyway, sorry about that if you're not familiar, you've just been completely bored and probably a bit annoyed.

The Mourning Doves are always around, but in the winter the gang increases and there's usually numbers in the teens that hang around the yard.  They know where a good meal is to be found.  I love their beautiful voices - and always welcome them to visit.

These little guys are very hard to capture with the camera.  They flit around and zoom in and out of the branches.  And they're confusing to identify - at least for me.  I have no idea what this is.  I looked in my book and figure it's either a warbler or a vireo.  And of course, if it's a female or an immature bird, that makes it even harder to ID.  I'm leaning toward Philadelphia Vireo or a Tennessee Warbler - but honestly, I'm just guessing.  Let me know if you have any ideas, thanks!  UPDATE:  I truly don't know how I missed this as being the Yellow Rumped Warbler aka Butter Butt!  It's the most common warbler in my area - guess I had a 'momentary lapse of reason'...and since I'm quoting Pink Floyd - I'll just mention that their latest album is now out - Hurray!

Here's a recent photo of my friend Chirpy the Cardinal.  He still comes to the breakfast nook window every day to chirp for seed.  I then take out a scoop and he flies over to the ficus hedge and sits either on a branch or on my hand and eats sunflower seeds from the seed scoop.  I'm still amazed every day that he does this.  It's been almost two years he's been coming to visit and he sometimes brings his wife or one of the kids with him, but they are more wary and stay in the background.  Now, please know that I see him hunting in the yard all the time and I've seen one of his male offspring doing the same.  I was worried at first he might get dependent upon my feeding him, but he takes out a dragonfly like a pro.  (Poor dragonfly).

Here is Chirpys wife, Mrs. C.  She is quite timid, but she does sometimes stay nearby Chirps when he visits.  I'll go days without seeing her and worry a bit, but then suddenly I start seeing the kids and know she's busy being a mom.  They've had three broods since Chirpy started visiting.  It's fun to watch them grow up.

The Red Shouldered Hawk is around a lot.  What a beauty!  They get screeching and wow, it's so loud -  I love it!  We have tons of screeching birds in the backyard.  We live next to a huge preserve and it is extremely active.  I've been hearing the Great Horned Owl at night lately.  Love that!