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, January 30, 2012

Bloomin Beauties

It might be winter but the orchids sure don't seem to know it or care. We've been lucky enough to be showered with orchid blooms all winter long.

This vanda blooms several times a year. They are one of the easiest orchids to take care of in my opinion...no potting medium necessary. Just place them in a...we use...wood basket and hang them up.

This oncidium has about five 2 foot long sprays of golden flowers dangling from the basket. It's a long bloomer and a hearty multiplier.

This sunny and bright cattleya is also a wonderful bloomer. This orchid hangs right next to the one above, so every time I see them out the window it's like looking at sunshine, especially on a dreary day.

This little guy is also a repeat bloomer. He blooms at least 3 times a year. Very exotic looking...don't you think?

And, this beauty is brand new. My neighbor Nancy (you remember Nancy, right?) and I exchanged some of our fast growing orchids. I gave her a frilly green cattleya and a golden yellow one for this colorful beauty. Plus, it has a really cool looking fern growing in the basket as well...a bonus to me!

Don't worry I do remember to bring these and the rest of the collection inside when the temps drop below 50 degrees. Fortunately, that hasn't been to often this year -- yippee!

Being surrounded by such beauty in the midst of winter makes me a very happy girl.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Winter's Gifts

We are indeed lucky that winters in Florida aren't the dreary sort with gray skies, bare trees and no flowers. 

This year's spectacularly mild winter finds plenty of flowers abloom in my garden. 

This more typical Florida winter that we're having is definitely more enjoyable, and I haven't missed...not one little bit...worrying about my plants freezing.

One of winter's gifts is the increase in the bird population, especially the adorable American Goldfinches. These cute little fellows are busy plucking up seeds that settled into the tiny pits in the road. 

They also frequent a variety of feeders in the garden.  Mr. Cardinal seems to take it all in stride as he waits for his turn.

The Sandhill crane population seems to explode in the winter. We were delighted to have this foursome drop by for a visit one Sunday afternoon on the vacant property next to us. And, on warm sunny days, Brownie our brown water snake can be seen sunning himself right next to the garden hose. Perhaps he thinks it's a pretty green snake. :-) When it's cold he stays warm and cozy in his home in the rocks behind him there in the picture.

And, right on time the Purple Martin scouts have arrived in search of a nesting place. They're like a squadron  of fighter pilots zipping back and forth feasting on any and all airborne insects.

The colorful flowers and winter visitors are a warm sight on a chilly winter's day.


Monday, January 02, 2012

It's a First!


As I was blowing bald cypress leaves off the driveway this past weekend something caught my eye on the rosemary plant. 

Could it be? Yes, she's blooming! 

I've read that it takes 3 years for a rosemary plant to bloom, and I know she's been in the ground for at least 3 years...could be closer to 4. What a wonderful surprise for the new year. Now I just hope the cold front doesn't freeze the stalk of pretty little blue flowers.

Hope your new year is filled with wonderful surprises, too!

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