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!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Change of Weather

I wish I could say the change of weather was here in Florida but unfortunately it's still quite warm and unexpectedly humid for this time of year. These photos were taken in northern Alabama while visiting family.

The autumn parade of leaves was still in its infancy but there was still plenty of color to be found. Especially for us Floridians who aren't used to a lot of autumn color.

We visited Burritt House which is a living museum to the way life used to be in this neck of the woods. Outside one small cabin was a kitchen garden overflowing with herbs and vegetables.

A plant that's already gone dormant for the season still has a few colorful berries for the birds. These may even be rose hips. I'm not quite sure but the more I look at the photo the more it looks like a rose.

The temperature this day was a brisk 52 degrees. All bundled up in our jackets, it was a great change from the heavy humidity we've experienced lately.

I couldn't miss taking a snapshot of this adorable scarecrow surrounded by the changing season. It was the perfect autumn shot.

As was this one. A really cool concrete bench flanked by black pottery and a dusting of leaves on the ground.

Rich vibrant gold and red maple leaves are a sight to behold.

Especially when contrasted against the deep dark brown of the tree trunk.

It's always a joy to see the autumn leaves!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Early Morning Discoveries

I headed out into the garden early this weekend in an effort to control some weeds with a weed killer spray. I wish I could garden 100% organically, but my new garden is large (a couple of acres) and without the help of an unnamed weed killer, I wouldn't be able to keep up with the steady onslaught of weeds.

When you walk slowly and look down, it's amazing what you'll discover. As I briefly lifted my head, and looked out over my wildlife area the unusual flower of the Dutchman's Pipevine caught my eye. I can't really say it's beautiful but it is indeed, eye-catching.

I planted this vine along a fence in the hopes of attracting pipevine swallowtails to my garden. Here's a photo of both the open flower and a couple of other buds that will soon open. The flowerbuds look like small pipes, and I'm going out on a limb here to say that's probably where its name comes from. Definitely, very strange and other-worldly looking. I'm definitely glad I didn't miss these blooms. Next, was an unusual looking bee. Instead of a yellow and black bumble bee, this bee is black with white sides. It's kind of hard to see the white because she's sipping nectar from a white wildflower.
Then there was this GIANT of a strange fiery-orange bug scurrying across the ground. I made sure to stay out of his way since I defnitely didn't want him crawling up my leg.
And, then another gargantuan bug. He was kind of freaky and I think I was interrupting his mating ritual, so I moved on quickly. The back of our property is woods and you can see that we get a lot of strange and unusual looking critters.
And, lastly I made a grim and sad discovery. At first, I thought it was 4 butterflies sitting on the ground together and I was eager to see what they were doing. But it turned out this butterfly who had met the end of his lifespan. Three of his wings were separated from his body. I hope he enjoyed sipping nectar from my butterfly plants.
I have no idea what kind of bugs these are, but I'm sure they all serve a unique purpose in the wild and I'm glad to have them around to discover.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Simply Wonderful Day!

Here's a little fall color in my garden!

At long last, a taste of fall has arrived in Central Florida. Temperatures for the past two mornings were in the mid-60’s - HOORAY! While I will temporarily revel in the delightfully refreshing coolness of the morning, I won‘t get too used to it because the humidity will be back by Friday. But nonetheless, it was a most welcome announcement that our endless summer is beginning to give way to autumn.

Later that day I was driving down the road with my sunroof open , happy as a lark enjoying the spectacular weather when a funny thing happened. All of a sudden, I found my car automatically turning into the nursery. Oh, “Perhaps a few mums and some fall vegetables - collards, lettuce and broccoli are needed for the garden,” I said to myself. As I was walking out with my cart full of “new stuff,” lo and behold, I discover my neighbor Nancy just arriving. It’s funny how a slight change in weather seems to reenergize us Florida gardeners.
This year I managed to keep up with my garden chores through the hottest months, so I find myself in pretty good shape. However, there’s always something that needs tweaking. Like the roses. They need a slight pruning to get them back in shape and a burst of fertilizer to get them blooming. Then there are the leggy impatiens that are screaming at me to give them a haircut. I just fertilized my poinsettia (which is looking really good) for the last time this year. And, the small bed around the mailbox is in dire need of weeding, reshaping and replanting. That will be my main fall project. But for now, I’m going to just hang around outside and enjoy the weather!

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