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)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

I Think I Really Like Pink!

You've most likely guessed that this post will be about pink flowers in my garden.

And that's because I really, really, really like pink in the garden.  I adore this hot pink bougainvillea.  And I love the lighter pink in the previous photo as well.

Some of the Impatiens that are blooming around the yard are pink.

And the Anthuriums are - that's right - pink!

Can't forget the Pentas, they are a vibrant pink!

There's a few blooms on the Butterfly Bush - not very many, but they're vibrant pink too.

The Ti plants in the front garden are always lush shades of pink.  I love them against the different colors of green - especially the lime green.  

This is my new Ivy Geranium.  

She recently opened and I'm completely in love with this deep pink!

I have several more Ivy Geraniums around of different colors.

They're one of my favorite flowers.  They drape so beautifully and are happy to bloom consistently.  

These little petunias are reliable bloomers too.

This is how my Bleeding Heart vine looked when I bought her a couple of years ago.

Unfortunately, this is how she looks today.  I had to move it and ended up cutting it way back.  It shot right back up, and I hope with the coming warmer weather, she will be blooming again soon.

I've got a few other regular geraniums showing off their stuff.

Now don't roll your eyes at my hippy ways, but I'm sending lots of pink colored love to this poor little palm tree that has so many woodpecker holes in it, the sap is flowing right out of it.  

I love the woodpeckers too...and they're just doing what woodpeckers do.  

Here's some actual pink birds.  These pretty Flamingos live down the road a few miles.  

And here's a pink shell I found at the beach one day.  I would say it's about time I wrap this up as I've run out of pink flowers and have headed off into other pink things...

I hope you have a pink-filled super sparkly day!  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Orange Blossoms - How Delicious!

It's warm and humid here today and that makes ideal conditions for inhaling the absolutely delicious fragrance of the orange blossoms. I always say it's almost intoxicating - it's so strong and heavy and wonderful!  I literally pull up a chair outside just to sit and experience this delightful smell!  Tomorrow, it may not be as humid so it won't be as intense, so I'm getting my fill of it right now.  

And I am a believer that it is always "right now".  Long before trendy books were written on the subject, I had come across the ancient beliefs that there is no tomorrow, there is no yesterday, because it is always right now.  Well, whether you think in those terms or not, it resonates with me.  Now, how did I go and get started on that subject...  sorry about that.

Our oranges are really, REALLY sour.  I'm not sure what kind of oranges they are as the tree was here when we bought the property.  I have learned a few things about commercial orange trees and know that we haven't done any grafting or anything to enhance our crop - so they're going to be staying super duper sour, I guess.

Out in the preserve behind the house there is a big banana tree that is right next to our fence line.  I see it has flowered and bananas are now forming.

I don't know much about banana growing either, so I'm not sure what is going on with these bananas. And just like with the oranges, I have no idea what kind they are.  They certainly don't look so great.  I don't remember the last bunch looking like this, but then they all disappeared suddenly, so I never got to see how they finally turned out.

Back on the lanai - the red Tillandsias are blooming.  Yay!  I love these pretty and interesting plants.  They add a nice shot of red amongst the green roots of the Vandas.  I had stuck the Tillandsias in the orchid baskets to hitch a ride for watering and being the forgetful and slightly lazy gardener that I am, left them there.  They're now all entangled with the Vanda roots - I don't think I'd recommend it, but everybody seems to be getting along quite happily :)

So, a few weeks ago I noticed I had a bloom spike coming out of one of the Phals in my "basket-'o-orchids".  Now, this is another thing I wouldn't recommend, but I had gotten a bunch of little orchids for a great price and had stuck them in this hanging basket with their roots exposed to wait until I decided which trees were getting which orchids attached to them.  

Well, then, as you might guess, I couldn't decide (I am a typical Libra) and they have been left in the basket.  The roots have grown around the basket wire and it looks like that's where they'll now be staying.  

Yesterday, it started blooming.  AND, I've noticed there are two more bloom stalks growing out of the crazy mess of orchids and that is very exciting!  I don't know what color they will be and that's fun too.  I know, I am not a proper gardener and never will be, and that's okay - as long as my plants are thriving, that's what matters.  

The last time this basket bloomed it was this fantastic lime green orchid and ooooh, I hope that one is coming up again soon!

Lime Green - Yes!!!!

One of the Vandas that had started blooming last November, is still hanging on.  Looks like she is just starting to show a few indications of fading.  She's been a great bloomer and I tell her that every day!  

I picked up a couple of African Violets on the markdown rack last week.  I'm trying to decide if they'll do best outside or inside.  I'm still reading up on them.  My grandmother had almost a dozen of them on her windowsill (facing north) and they bloomed for her like crazy for years.  Wish I would have paid a bit more attention back then.  I'll have to see what they communicate to me...

I'll sign off with this gorgeous blue Lobelia.  I'm so enchanted with that almost electric blue - wow!  I've got it positioned where I can see it while I write in my garden journal.  Inspiring! 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Plant Communication

Scientists are finding that Yes, plants do sense and respond to many things in their environment.  Opinions vary, but there is evidence to support some kind of system in plants to absorb information and respond accordingly.

Electrical and chemical signalling systems that are similar to those found in the nervous system of animals, have been found in plants.

Neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine have been found in plants.  

I find it so interesting that when some plant roots are about to encounter something toxic, they know to change course before they make contact with it.

And that some roots can tell if other roots are the same as themselves or are those of a different plant.

It's amazing that they can detect competition and then grow in a different direction.

Plants can send out defense chemicals.

Some chemicals such as caffeine in a plant can act in some cases as a psychoactive drug in their nectar.  One example is so bees will remember that plant and return to it.

These are just a few examples.  Signalling in plants is a complex and fascinating subject.  They speak a chemical language that isn't completely understood yet.

The fact that one plant in the forest can send out information to all the rest of its like in a large area, that it has been damaged (by insects) and then the other plants will put out a chemical defense in response, even being particular to the insect that is doing the damage. 

Or that a certain insect can smell a chemical emission from a plant that has been damaged by another kind of insect and then come to its aid in destroying the damaging insect.

There are so many other incredible findings and studies, I couldn't begin to list them all here.  I've gotten my information from articles on the Internet, which of course could be of dubious content, but I do consider the source and try to read only quality information. 

There are great areas of study being done and I love reading about them and I hope you've been intrigued as well.

I've always talked to my plants.  This last year I've been trying to listen to what they are telling me, as well.  That probably sounds a little woo-like, but hey - if they can sense chemical signals from other plants, they may be responding to the love I send them and show me what they need in return to thrive.  Well, it's what I do and hopefully it will make me a better caretaker of my plants and it's always a wonderful lesson in observation.  Happy gardening!  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Chirpy the Cardinal Eating from my Hand

This is Chirpy, a male cardinal that has been visiting me for almost two years now.  It started a couple of years after we had moved in to our house here in southwest Florida.  He appeared on the window sill of the breakfast nook, and started chirping.  Well, I thought that was the cutest thing, so the next day I went out and bought black oil sunflower seeds thinking I should maybe start feeding him and the other birds in the yard.

The next morning there was Chirpy again, sitting on the window sill chirping (hence his name) and I took out a scoop of sunflower seeds and he flew to a branch nearby and I offered him the scoop to eat out of and I was so surprised when he took some.

This continued every day and I thought maybe he will sit on my hand, so I put some of the seeds on my hand and sure enough he flew onto my hand and ate some seeds.

He has come to the window almost every day for the last two years.  On the days he doesn't show up I usually see him out in the yard somewhere and I'm guessing he's attending to family duties.

We have seen three broods grow up these last two years and I hope there will be many more.

Here is one of the kids.  It is the best fun to watch them grow up and learn to hunt and how Chirpy and the Mrs. teach them how to survive on their own.  

One day Chirpy and Jr. were on top of the pool cage in the backyard and Jr. got hold of a dragonfly and cornered it and had a feast!  I've seen Chirpy do that before and it was so nice to know they are all hunting for themselves and not dependent on seed from me.  

Here's another shot of one of the kids with Chirpy.  They really are a close family unit that is amazing to watch.

As far as I know, he's had the same mate since we've been here.  She's a beauty, but much more shy than Chirps.

This is probably my favorite shot of Mrs. C.  posing so nicely on the backyard fence that enters into the preserve.

Chirps left eye is kind of messed up.  It's been the same since the day I met him.  I'm not sure if it's mites or what, but I hope it doesn't cause him much discomfort.  

He seems to know to pose with his "good" side, Haha - just like a movie star.  

He truly is a handsome guy and I hope he's happy enough to stay and continue raising his broods and bring us so many happy moments!