With our first freeze of the winter projected tonight, my Jewels of Opar plants are bundled tightly beneath some old blankets. These sun-loving plants do not like cold weather. They won't freeze to the ground but their tender tips will shrivel back a few inches. As usual, we get at least one cold and frosty night each winter - just long enough (2 to 6 hours of freezing temps expected) to have a few plants hanging their heads by morning. This photo shows the contrasts of a Florida winter - plants bundled up for freezing weather, while azaleas and iris bloom in the background. Hopefully, the weatherman will be wrong and the temps will stay right above 32 degrees. One can always hope!
I was looking at this Anhinga (also known as the water turkey or snake bird) and couldn't figure out why he looked so odd. When I zoomed in on him with the camera I realized he had a fish in his mouth. He held the fish for quite awhile, shaking it from time to time. Eventually he held his neck straight up and swallowed the fish hole. Pleased with his full stomach, he held 0ut his wings and basked in the warm sun rays.
This tiny little gray squirrel is well versed in the art of aggravation when it comes to cats in his domain. He takes great pleasure in barking incessantly at Mocha when she's out in the garden. He even sits on the roof and barks at her whle she's lounging in the window seat indoors. What he doesn't know is that he provides her with endless hours of entertainment, and as you can see by the photo she is not in the least disturbed by his commotion.
This rose is Louis Phillippe a/k/a the Cracker Rose. It is an antique rose that performs well in a partially shaded area in my yard. It's flowers are larger during the milder winter days and it is wonderfully fragrant and covered in roses right now. Malcolm Manners writes about this beauty in his Ultimate Easy Old Roses article on the American Rose Society's website.
As I was out enjoying the temperate weather this past weekend in my backyard, I couldn't help but notice that I wasn't the only one. No, there wasn't a neighbor to be seen, but there was a lot of wildlife friends enjoying the day as well. Everything from sunbathing turtles on a log, busy little birds in the trees, a huge turtle floating lazily on the water's surface and a solitary duck soaking in the bliss of the day.
The calendar says it's winter, but it sure feels like summer. With temps stretching into the upper 80's and humidity higher than normal, one can only wonder where winter is. Although I'm not complaining - it beats hauling plants indoors and worrying about the tropicals freezing back - a little touch of cooler weather would be a welcome relief.
Our orchids are definitely enjoying the feel of tropical warm breezes. They are basking in the rays of sunlight and blooming their little hearts out.
According to my mom, who gave me this bromeliad from her garden, it blooms at Christmas each year. Well as usual, mom is right! These fuschia pink, dangling bromeliad flowers add their own touch of holiday decoration to the garden.
I was fortunate enough to catch their beautiful but short-lived blossoms during the busy month of December.