Welcome to my zone 9 garden. My roots are deeply planted in the sandy soil of sub-tropical central Florida, where the summers are long and hot, but the rest of the year is paradise!

Monday, October 31, 2011

October at a Glance





~ ~ Notes on the October Garden ~ ~


October is leaving on a rainy note this year ~ which is fine with me since I'm tucked cozily inside my home with a cup of hot tea browsing through the photos of my October garden. 

This warm sunny hibiscus flower seemed like a good choice... the perfect color for autumn and of course, Halloween.  It takes a good portion of summer for the tropicals to recover and bless us with their blooms. I don't seem to have enough of these in the garden anymore. But they are always cheerful ~ always welcome!


One of the first trees I planted when we built our house was this Golden Rain tree. Why, you might ask since it's a prolific seeder? Well, it's simple! This tree is always one of the first signs (often appearing in late August) that the end of summer is nearing. I'm always excited to see the yellow flowers that appear first and are then quickly followed by...

the salmon colored seed pods. The color is stunning! Especially since we don't have a lot of fall tree color. And, what beautiful blue skies we have in autumn.

I look forward to seeing Sparkling Burgundy camellias in the garden each fall because they bloom so heavily. Sparkling Burgundy is a member of the sasanqua varieties which kick off the camellia season here in Florida. 

Who can resist photographing flowers with all the delicate water droplets on them following a rain shower? I know I can't!


Here's another tropical that is back from winter's gloom and doom. 

This mandevilla vine is such a pretty bright white that I never tire of seeing or photographing it.

It blooms all summer and looks so pretty paired with the red pineapple sage (below) that starts blooming in autumn and continues right through the winter.


What else is blooming in the October Garden?

The arbor is covered with a pink blooming vine. I'm not sure of the name. The nursery owner said St.Joseph's vine, but I don't know for sure. The island bed is in a fluffy stage...kinda like a "big hair" hairdo (wow...hairdo - that word really dates me, doesn't it?) due to the culmination of a lot of summer growth. The Mexican sage and sweet almond are large and fluffy as is the purple fountain grass. 

And, the "wild" area is making sure the hummers and butterflies have plenty to eat. 
From left to right ~ Turk's cap, Firespike, Porterweed and native Liatris.

Life's Simple Pleasures
Catching a glimpse of a couple of frisky otters going for an early morning swim in a natural spring in our neighborhood. They are so sweet-looking! A relished site in this tiny piece of  "Old Florida" in which we live.

Hope your Halloween is filled with TREATS and not TRICKS!

Friday, October 21, 2011

An Unexpected Treat


We had a can of mealworms left over that were used to feed a baby woodpecker found on the sidewalk. Unfortunately, the woodpecker was injured and did not survive. So, not wanting to waste a can of perfectly good mealworms, I put them in our birdfeeder. And, boy-oh-boy did the birds love their "unexpected treat."

This little Tufted Titmouse was the first to discover them.


It wasn't long before Mrs. Cardinal chased him off.

But he quickly returned with a friend.

As I looked down to turn the camera off I noticed this cute little yellow ground orchid was about ready to bloom ~ ~ An "unexpected treat" for me!

Monday, October 03, 2011

September at a Glance


~ ~Notes on the September Garden~ ~

What a joy it is to discover that autumn has finally arrived...totally invigorating! The flowers on the native bee balm (a/k/a dotted horsemint) were also a joy to discover.

Lots of critters. . .besides bees. . .seem to like this beauty, too.



The Mexican Bush Sage is back in all its autumn splendor. It  was such a stunning specimen in the island bed last autumn that I decided to. . .

add a second bush on the other side of the bed. 
Now, I get "double the pleasure" when I look at them. 

September days filled the meadow area with drifts of goldenrod,

while the purple fountain grass adds a "fall-ish" feel to the front yard.

Fluttering visitors frolicked happily among all the purple. 

The butterflies, including this Cloudless Sulphur, NEVER pass on the Mexican petunias (sterile variety).

And, the Monarchs are still munching away on the Milkweed.

The vanda orchids seem to love autumn, too. 
Even their color says "autumn."



The Autumn Joy Sedum ~ ~ a passalong plant from my sister-in-law is sporting its autumn crown of flowers that eventually will change to a deeper russet color.  

What a wonderful gardening season is ahead of us now that summer is fading away. 

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