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)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Holiday Cheer!

Holiday Greetings everyone!  I hope you are all getting in the mood for whatever it is that you celebrate at this time of year.

I thought I'd make a quick post to share a few of my tree decorations and to let you know I haven't yet fallen off the edge of the earth, Haha!  We're still having 85 degree hot and humid weather, so I still haven't been tooling around in the garden too much lately.  

We've got two artificial trees - this little one is in the dining room and then we have a bigger one in the front room by the piano.  

Neither of them would be winning any beauty contests, that's for sure.  They're slapped together with whatever is easiest to dig out of the ornament boxes and end up being a product of my rather mixed bohemian style.  

This is the bigger one and it's stuck in the corner shoved behind the piano.  Well, at least the lights show up nicely from the road, lol.  

I see now that I look at the photo that I could have done a bit better draping the bead garlands.  Oh, well...

A lot of my ornaments are homemade and quite a few years (more like decades) old.  Like these sequin balls I made in Girl Scouts.

Or these crocheted and tatted ornaments that both of my grandmothers made.  I also love found items, like crystals from a chandelier that I bought at a garage sale.

I have a lot of hand-me-downs that are quite old.  I adore this little guy as he has a bell under his skirts and it rings every time the dogs walk under the tree.

I'm not a big one for glitter and glitz, but I do love how the light catches in the cuts of this crystal bell.

I have a lot of animal and woodlands type of ornaments, like this paper mache reindeer.

And there's several from some of our travels.  Amsterdam is a favorite destination with its picturesque canal houses.

Just a couple more :)   I've got several that reflect my Scandinavian heritage, like this gnome.


And my personal Norse favorite - the Longboat.

But my all time favorite tree ornament has got to be this rather baroque looking one that my Grandma Flossie and I made circa 1969 or something like that.  We made it out of one of those old fashioned egg cartons that felt like cloth and spray painted it gold and added beads and whatnot.  I've always thought it was so ornate looking...well, I know it's paper and cheap beads, but it still looks glam in my eyes.  

Well, if you've made it this far down in the post, you've been very nice and a very good sport for looking at all my Holiday stuff, lol!  

I want to add something garden related, so here is my entryway poinsettias along with more Norwegian and handmade things.  

Wishing you, your families, friends and pets a Holly Jolly Season!  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

How Hot is It?

Why it's just plain CRAZY hot, I tell you.  Crazy!  It's been 90 degrees every day for Pete's sake!

At least the Plumeria likes it.

Although by the time high noon rolls around - we're all a little wilted and droopy.

A little over three years ago this Plumeria was basically just a stick in a bucket.  It is truly a robust grower.  I'm not sure what kind it is, but it's now almost as tall as the house, which is over 20 feet.

It gets harder and harder to get a decent photo of the flowers unless I have the ladder out.  This fallen bloom is still gorgeous though.

Well, complaining has never done anyone any good, so I won't complain any more about the heat.  I will however, have a little whinge about the Saltbush blooming as it affects my asthma and gardening time.

And just so my complaining isn't the focus here, I'll tell you a little about this native plant in the Aster family. 

Just a little.  In the fall, here in Florida, you might notice this shrub in forested areas when you see the female plant bursting with their showy, fluffy seeds ready to take to the wind.  It reseeds profusely, so you'll probably be seeing a lot of them. 

Its proper name (Baccharis halimifolia) was named after Bacchus, the Roman god of harvest and drink.  The usual depictions show him as an overweight figure with grape vines wound around his head and drinking wine.  Huh, who knew?  It also goes by several common names including saltbush, groundsel bush, cotton-seed tree, sea-myrtle, consumption weed - hey, that's what I'm going to call it from now on - consumption weed!  Although it does cause me respiratory distress, I do think they look quite pretty in the preserve behind our house.  I just wish they'd blow their fluff the other way!

Let's see, I've got a few other things blooming in the yard.  The Bleeding Heart vine is looking lush and colorful.

I'm hoping to train it to go along the roof line of the garage.  At the garden center where I bought it, they had it along the roof of this charming little shed and it just dripped with pink flowers.  

Begonias love the heat, but not too much sun.  I can never remember if these are the Angel wing or the Dragon wing...

The always reliable pentas, impatiens and angelonia.




And I've got a whole new set of Angel Trumpet pods getting ready to open.  

There's several more flowers blooming in the yard, but nothing very exotic, I'm afraid.  Mostly butterfly attracting blooms.  

Speaking of butterflies, I did have a new visitor to the yard.  It's not a very good shot and it took me AGES to figure out what it was.  It's a female Great Southern White and I've seen the white males, but didn't realize that the females can be this dirty, greyish green color.  I couldn't find a match until I searched for the blue tipped antennae - it then came up immediately and that is a key factor in identifying this butterfly.  I love a mystery and of course had to find out who was visiting! 

Another new to me visitor was this cutie patootie Pineswood Treefrog.  They're probably around more often, I just hadn't seen one.  Yeah, the cutie patootie isn't part of the name, lol.  I'm always happy to see other frogs besides the usual invasive species. 

 The oranges are beginning to ripen here.  They're looking a little blotchy this year.  The tree is just loaded and looks like it'll be a huge crop.  

I hope you're having a lovely autumn season (or spring - wherever you may be)!   Happy Gardening!

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Spooky Garden

Well, this post might be a little lame, because frankly, my garden is rather far from spooky - it being a cheerful, colorful, subtropical garden.  BUT, All Hallows' Eve is absolutely one of my favorite times of the year, so I'll give it a go and you can see if you get a chill or two up your spine, haha.  

Now, don't worry...none of my photos are very chilling.

And this one is probably more psychedelic than spooky.

And this one a bit goofy as this grackle is definitely giving me the evil eye!  

But add a little black and white - and the mood suddenly changes.

The Birds, The Birds!  Honestly, this was one of the coolest things I've ever seen.  A flight of swallows flew up out of the preserve behind our house in a vortex motion.  I wish I would've gotten a video, but I was so surprised and felt I was very lucky just to have been in the right place at the right time for such an event.  Google bird murmuration if you aren't sure what I'm referring to, it is amazing!

"Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore - Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."  E. A. Poe

Maybe the scariest thing about this is how I let this beautiful vine dry up!  I did however like the decayed draping over the urn.

Wooooooooooooo - eerie birdbath.

Even the gorgeous morning light can create a spectral atmosphere using some of the photo editing features.

Vines can be spooky.

Spanish Moss definitely has a Southern Gothic thing going on.  (I keep thinking I should take that moss off, but I like it too much.)

Some of our neighborhood residents are rather ominous.

Definitely just an experiment with editing features, but this Anthurium ended up looking kind of dark and shadowy to me.

As did this peach Hibiscus.

Southwest Florida has some truly very picturesque places that make for a spooky vibe.  This is Shadow Lane in old Fort Myers, one of my favorite streets to wander down and take photos. The gardens in this section of town are drool-worthy!  But that's another post.

LOVE old oak trees!

I'll refrain from posting any more local shots after this one.  Buckingham Cemetery is an historical and hauntingly beautiful place filled with live oaks draped in Spanish moss,  It has a jungly setting with a few confederate graves.  (I've been wondering if the "PC" Police have made the caretakers feel they must take down the confederate flags...) 

I also apologize if this is an upsetting photo to any of my readers - I realize cemetery photography is not every one's 'cup of tea'.  I appreciate the historical aspect of old cemeteries, some are peaceful, some have an uncanny, uncertain feel - but that's probably just me...

And just to end on a brighter note - here's a baby pic taken eleven years ago of our Tibetan Terrier Flash and the rest of his brothers and sisters.  Flash is second from the right.  Our older TT named Kohl sired this litter and I think he did a pretty good job with mom Goldie. 

I did not take this photo. I don't remember the photographers name and apologize for not giving him credit...I normally wouldn't post someone elses photo, but gosh darn it, they're so cute!

 I hope you all have a safe and very Happy Halloween!