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, November 19, 2007

A Festive Holiday Bromeliad

I love the blossoms on this bromeliad. They look like little yellow pineapples. The neat thing about this bromeliad is that you get a little extra mileage out of the blooms because they change color from yellow (for Thanksgiving) to red (for Christmas).

Color Combinations

Note to myself: I saw a beautiful color combination in a nicely landscaped yard yesterday. It consisted of: crinum lily, oyster plants, purple lantana and a white plumbago.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Taking a Cue From Mother Nature

This photograph shows an area to the rear of my yard in which I plan to create a wildlife garden. It is also the place where I found the "terrific weeds" that I mentioned in a previous post.
This past summer I used round-up to eliminate some of those "terrific weeds" so that my planting beds would be nice and neat. I planted some young trees, and recently have been accumulating a list of plants, in my mind, for various types of wildlife. It wasn't until I wrote the post about those "terrific weeds" that I realized this area already is a wildlife haven. And, if I proceed with my plan to remove what's there and plant "my favorites," they may not be the "favorites" of the wildlife in the area.
This thought caused me to pause and reconsider my original plan. Mother Nature is a much more experienced gardener than I, and while I may add some additional food and nectar sources, I will leave all of those "terrific weeds" that the butterflies, bees and grasshoppers like so much. In my attempt to "beautify" this area to my own liking, I was eliminating what is beautiful and beneficial to those there before me. That was a real eye opener!

Learning from my Plants

As I was taking this picture it occurred to me how this exotic looking bromeliad so aptly reflects the paradox of life. Like life, it is both soft and prickly at the same time. Learning to live in the boundary between the two brings understanding and gratitude for the good and the bad, as both are compassionate teachers.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Super-sized Butterfly

As I walked out to get the mail one afternoon, I spotted this HUGE butterfly (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail) out of the corner of my eye. I quickly ran back inside for my camera, and lucky for me this big fella was in no hurry to leave this plentiful source (glory bower) of nectar. I was fascinated by his size, and he was very agreeable to posing for me while I snapped multiple shots of him. This one turned out the best, but I couldn't resist including this other shot of him in flight. The movement of his wings blurred the lines and seemed to create the look of a periwinkle blue aura surrounding him. Cool!

A Bright Fall Day

Walking along the shores of Lake Harris, I couldn't help but snap this photo of the brilliantly blue water as viewed through the towering cypress trees. The temperature was in that perfect zone (high 70's with no humidity), and the warm glow of autumn sunlight was working its magic on the normally murky colored water.
Cypress trees are always a mystery to me. As you can see the shortest tree on the left side of the photo is actually a young tree growing out of an old tree that is no longer in existence. I always have to wonder what happened to the original tree. Perhaps some strong hurricane wind snapped it off, or maybe this rotting stump is the remnants of an ancient cypress from days gone by. And, then there are the cypress knees - those knubby growths of wood in various sizes that encircle the mother tree. They are definitely mysterious and otherworldly.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Terrific Weeds

These weeds (for lack of a better word) growing on the rear of our property, in an area untouched by me, are very attractive to the butterflies. I probably wouldn't have even noticed them had I not been looking down in order to avoid a snake hidden in the tall grass. I am sorry to say that I don't know their names because they are certainly worthy of being known. They are simple little flowers that were attracting a variety of butterflies in all sizes. They darted from flower to flower, happily sipping nectar on a sunny autumn afternoon.

This looks like a morning glory but it wasn't growing on a vine. Perhaps it is a wild petunia.

This one was the butterflies favorite!

I believe it was Emerson who said, "A weed is a plant whose virtues have not been discovered."

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