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, May 29, 2015

Mellow Yellow

I don't have a lot of yellow flowers in the garden, but I've got a few.

Got this lantana for a great price.  I think I've had every color of lantana, but never had yellow until now.

The allamanda is pretty, trying to find some sun next to the Giant White Birds of Paradise.

I have some yellow (non-native) milkweed, but it's not blooming now.  That would be due to the aphids I got tired of picking off...

Sometimes I buy grocery store flowers in - yellow!

And sometimes I find yellow wildflowers.

Oh, almost forgot the marigolds.  There's an old medieval legend that says if you want to attract fairies to your garden - plant marigolds.

Hey - I think it worked!  :)

Here's a close-up of that pretty Zebra Longwing, without the fairy lights.

I finally got a couple of photos of the Giant Swallowtail.  I've been chasing her around the garden for weeks trying to get a shot, but she rarely sits still.  

I was happy she slowed down a bit and she didn't seem to mind me getting right next to her.

 Here it shows more of the yellow on the underside.

Okay, last pic of this beauty.  I get so excited to capture something I've never photographed before.  Wonder what photographic model the universe will provide next!

Friday, May 22, 2015

There's Always Something!

Sometimes, as I sit down at the computer, I wonder "what the dickens" am I going to blog about this week.  (If you're a fellow British mystery aficionado, you'll appreciate that Grantchester reference, lol)  

But, there's always something!  Even if it's something across the street like this gorgeous Royal Poinciana tree that is blooming most delightfully.

She really sets herself apart from the crowd!

Anyway, back to the garden...now, I love all of our visitors, even if I don't love everything they do.   For instance, we've recently had armadillos in the yard.

LOTS of armadillos!  Here you can see the four babies together.  

They can cause a lot of damage to the foundations of buildings when they burrow, and they dig up the yard searching for grub.

I see them all over the neighborhood, but usually at night or early in the morning.  We've tried to remove them, but they're always back. It's one of the things that we live with being next to a preserve.

Interesting armadillo fact:  They always give birth to four offspring.  The egg splits into four and they always have the four identical, same sex babies.  

The part of our yard they were digging in is the blue and orange Gator garden (Go Gators!).  I no longer wig out about it, I just try to accept them and get on with the gardening!  :) 

We did however have a very lovely Black Swallowtail butterfly visit the Plumbago.  This is the first one I've seen in the backyard!  I've seen the Giant Yellow Swallowtail, but haven't been able to get a photo of her as she never sits still - ever!  I'll keep trying though.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Firebush Friend

When we lived in Florida for the first time, over on the other coast, I didn't have any Firebush in my yard.  I don't even think they were on my radar back then.

And when we moved back to Florida after being up north for a few years, suddenly they were everywhere or most probably, I finally became aware of them.  I wondered though - why is everybody so ga-ga about these bushes?!  

As you most likely know, they are the biggest attractant of bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  And I am so happy I finally figured that out!

It's like a little bee town out front in the garden beds and it's been a great place for me to be able to easily watch them.

I haven't been able to capture a hummingbird yet - seems like they only come around when I don't have the camera handy.  Maybe that's just Murphys Law or something....

But the butterflies sure love it, especially the Zebra Longwings.  

I'm just throwing this in here because I found it so fascinating.  I'd never seen the Zebra Longwings night roosting before, but here they were at 8pm one night out back on an old twig on the ficus hedge.  Later on there were several more.

They've done this several nights now and it's been fun to observe.  

I'm happy my purple ground orchid is blooming again.  It's been awhile.  I keep her in a pretty blue pot on the lanai and I think she needs better drainage.  I'll have to hoist the pot up on some rocks or something so she doesn't get too soggy.

I made some basket bling for my orchids.  I love to see them hanging among the vanda roots and the sun shining through them after they're all wet from watering.

I just strung them on fishing line with some inexpensive glass beads I had gotten for a project a long time ago.  I love how they glow in the sunlight.  Apparently, I am easily amused, Haha!

The Ixora is blooming nicely.  I love orange and green together - it always says "tropical" to me.

Did I mention that my Spathiphyllum or Peace Lily is now blooming!

It has four lovely white blooms.  It hasn't bloomed for over four years.

Which is my fault as I had let her get potbound and while they do like that a bit, she was REALLY potbound and that was making her rather uncomfortable.  So this is what she looked like a year ago just after her freedom from strangulation.  I'm trying very hard to be a better, less nonchalant gardener after I've seen what my neglect can do.  

But I'm not gardening much today as the arthritis is acting up and I'm instead making herb butters.  Last time I made this horseradish, black pepper and chive butter.  It was great in an omelet, on potato and on fish!  This week I'm making the wonderful classic Hotel Butter with parsley, garlic and lemon juice.  I love that it can then be frozen and used as needed.  Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are having a beautiful, flavor-filled day!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Gotta Love Blue and Purple!

Yet another Phalaenopsis has opened in my "basket-'o-orchids" that I have hanging on the lanai.

I had stuck a bunch of orchids that I got on markdown in a basket until I decided which trees to attach them to.  Well, I never got around to placing them, so they're now happily hanging out together and they've all been blooming very nicely lately. 

Speaking of markdowns, I love the sale rack or rescue rack as I like to call it, at the local garden centers.  I got this pretty Speedwell for a buck and I love it's gorgeous lavender color and spikey architecture.

My gardening budget is a little slim this year, so I love being able to try out new plants to the garden on the cheap.

I got these lovely Angelonias as well.  I love their cottage-flower look and deep purple shade.  I've had them planted in back before and they've done well until the high noon of the summer sun and heat hits us.  I figure I'll stick them a little more shaded this time and see if they can last a bit longer.

The Blue Salvias that I got last year on sale are still doing quite well.

I'm a little surprised the blue Lobelia is still hanging on.  I've had a hard time finding a spot that she likes.  Maybe I need to spend a little more time with her and see if she tells me any hints on what conditions she needs to do better...

Yeah, I talk to my plants - a lot.

I think I talked about this blue beauty a couple of posts ago.  I can't help but come back to it though - I just love the color and the Skyflowers dainty shape.

The Duranta out front has a bit smaller and lighter colored bloom.  

I forgot to mention when I was at the garden center I got a new Spearmint plant.  

And a new Lemon Balm.

As usual, I'm having a hard time finding a place to put them.  My herb station on the lanai is full and they need a little less sun than the rest of the gang.  I can't put my herbs outside the screened-in lanai, or they get eaten.

Usually by these adorable visitors to the yard.  We have deer in the yard every day, but this is the first time I've seen a fawn.  I'm absolutely enchanted!

I had a hard time getting a photo as they were on to me.  I started out in stealth mode hiding behind the Giant White-Bird-of-Paradise and slowly sneaking my way around it to try and get a pic.

My shots turned out dark, but at least I got a few.

Our backyard backs up to this huge preserve that runs down into Corkscrew Swamp lands.  We regularly have bear, coyote, deer and everybody else that lives in here visit our yard on a daily basis.  I'm not complaining - I love living this close to such an active wildlife area.

I'm pretty sure not all my plants would agree as they get munched on quite often.

But since we're probably the only yard on the street that is mostly pesticide-free, I don't mind them eating where I know it's safer for them.  I have a couple pots of Purslane that is one of their favorites.

How quickly I forget the theme of my post, haha - and this really doesn't fit it either, except for the purple bougainvillea in the background.  I just had to post another couple pics of the incredibly gorgeous magnolia.  

In fact, I'm headed out back right now to get my daily whiff of her glorious fragrance!  I feel very blessed to have such a lovely tree in our yard and thank the previous owners for planting her!