These beguiling begonias were derived from cuttings of plants belonging to my aunt (mother's sister) and my brother-in-law's grandmother. They are planted in the ground and seem to thrive in the dapple sunlight beneath the oaks. When they're not in bloom their beautifully colored leaves provide a little interest to this woodland garden bed. I love them because the flowers are so different from any other plants that bloom in Florida. When people see them they always ask what kind of flower it is.
This beautiful daylily is from my stepfather Charlie's garden. It is the first of the daylilies to bloom each year and will soon be followed by a solid yellow variety that is also from his garden. These are the only two daylilies that I have been able to maintain in my garden throughout the years. I purchase others but after a few years they quietly fade away. Like Charlie (who will be 90 in May), these two varieties are dependable, durable and long-lived.
The plants I have received from family and friends are some of my most favorite ones. When one blooms, I can't help but think of the generous person who shared it with me. Some evoke a living memory to the past, while others are a link to a loved one who is no longer alive. My garden contains an angel trumpet, camellias, bromeliads and yellow candlestick plant from my mom, daylilies from my stepfather, mint from my mother-in-law, begonias from an aunt, cactus from an aunt who is no longer alive, butterfly ginger, Australian violets and walking iris from a neighbor gardening friend, morning glories from a good friend and this beautiful amaryllis from my next door neighbor. He has a large patch of these beauties in full bloom right now.
Every time I go outside I notice that I can hear and feel the steady vibration of bees humming. A hum so loud that it seems to penetrate the upper layers of my skin. The feeling is actually a little disconcerting. All this bee activity caused me to remember the book written by Sue Monk Kidd called The Secret Life of Bees (a book I would highly recommend to anyone in search of a good book – one of the best I have ever read). I pulled the book off the shelf to read her description of the sound of bees. She described them as “making that propeller sound, a high-pitched zzzzzz that hummed along the skin.”
Now here’s where the story takes a bizarre twist. For the next two days the bees began to surface inside the house. As I sat watching television one day, I began to hear and feel that low hum in the family room. At first I thought I was imagining things, as I looked around the room and didn’t see any bees. Later I began to notice that there were a number of bees congregating on the window ledge. They seemed to be disoriented and quickly fell to the floor and died. It appears as though they are coming in through the fireplace – but why? I hope these bees are not having a secret life inside our fireplace!!!!
Now back to the bees outside. As I was tracking a bee in search of a photo (these little buggers move fast), it occurred to me that gardeners and bees have something in common – we are both deliriously happy when working in the garden!
Note: I was finally able to snap the button quick enough to snag this little honey bee getting drunk on an orange blossom.
Both Saturday and Sunday were beautiful spring days. I totally enjoyed myself as I piddled around in the garden all weekend. Lots of little spring jobs to do such as a little edging here, a little clipping there, rearranging a few plants and filling in a few empty spots with coral-colored impatiens. All the tasks were thoroughly delightful as I soaked up the warmth of the sun and enjoyed the colorful show of azalea blooms surrounding me.
In the afternoon I relaxed on the deck with a cup of coffee and a stash of garden magazines (new and old) but couldn’t seem to sit still for long before I was up again finding some little something to do. I was finally forced to drag myself into the house when the sun sank below the horizon and my family was hungry for dinner!
Pictured is the first African iris to bloom in my garden this spring.