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!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Harvest Moon

What a beautiful full moon we've had the last couple of nights. The Harvest Moon is definitely larger and brighter than other full moons. Even at 6:45 am it was still shining bright over the lake. I was lucky enough to catch the "Blue Hour" in my photo. If you're not familiar with the "Blue Hour" . . . click here for more information. It's always fun to try and capture the "Blue Hour" in dusk and dawn photos.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Nutty Story

What in the world could be so fascinating on the patio as to hold the attention of our 3 cats?

Aha, a squirrel!  

You might be asking yourself . . . why does she have a caged squirrel on her patio? Good question. My sister who is part owner of a veterinarian clinic recruited us to finish raising this baby squirrel who was displaced from his nest.

Such a sweet little face...don't you think? 
I can hear you squirrel non-likers out their....ugh, a rodent. I've always liked squirrels (even though they can be a pest on the bird feeders) but, Nutty (named by my daughter) has stolen my heart. Each morning when I checked on him he'd slip his adorable little face out from beneath his blankie and give me a big yawn. When you live with a small piece of the 'wild' it changes your attitude about it completely.

Once he got big enough we hung his cage beneath a large tree and wired the door open so he could come and go until he got used to his surroundings.

He was slow to venture on to the top of his cage and then on to the tree.

But he quickly was enjoying his freedom and was busy snatching insects off the tree trunk.

After a week he was still sleeping in his cage and I was a little fearful that another animal or snake would trap him in there, so I purchased a birdfeeder and took the plastic sides off. We transferred his blanket into it so he would continue to feel safe. One morning when I went back to check on him he popped his little head out from under his blankie.

With each passing day he would climb a little higher into the tree to check out his new neighborhood.

He continued to be happy to see us and would eagerly jump on my daughter's arm.

and head.

Three weeks passed and he was still hanging around the same tree.

 Last week we couldn't find him around his home and tree, so we wondered if he finally took off for good.

But on Sunday as we walked past the small oak tree in our front yard a small squirrel ran down the trunk and looked at us. We stopped and said, "Nutty" and as my daughter approached him he eagerly reached out for her hand. She kept rubbing his head and picking him up and he seemed genuinely happy to see her. We wondered how in the world he came from the backyard all the way up to the front which is approximately 125 yards. But, nonetheless, we were delighted to see that he is still around and still remembers us.

It looks like he's successful in finding his own acorns and is quickly growing up. Raising him was another fun experience since the time we raised "Chirp" the bluejay. We hope he continues to remember us and be friendly with us when we're out in the yard. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Shades of Autumn

The shades of autumn are like poetry without words . . . the colors, so rich and vibrant, don't need words to describe their beauty. They are earth tones . . . the colors that resonate most deeply with me.

This peachy-pink cluster of Drift roses is pretty enough for a wedding bouquet. You can almost feel their softness on your fingertips. And, yes, they do give off a sweet citrusy scent.

My poor orchids which I sadly neglected all summer . . . have blessed me with a stunning spray of the most vibrant autumn colors. I've moved this orchid on to the patio so I can enjoy its beautiful blooms.

A new plant to my garden...this copperleaf plant is a real beauty. The larger it grows, the more I like the green and russet combination . . . each leaf a slightly different color variation.

A ray of sunshine . . . these Hawaiian Sunset hibiscus are in full swing in the autumn garden.

The hummers are taking full advantage of this Florida-friendly Firespike in my wildlife garden.

Even the hydrangea are joining in as their pink flowers faded to green and now begin to turn a pretty shade of pink blush that will eventually dry into a natural attractive brown. Hydrangeas are a fascinating plant that adds a different kind of dimension to the garden with it's attractive leaf shape, it's large clusters of ball-shaped flowers and lastly, the ever-changing colors of its flowers. While hydrangeas are finicky and definitely not the easiest plant to grow in Florida . . . it definitely is worth trying again and again until you finally find a spot it is happy with in the garden.

And some of the shades of autumn in my garden come in jewel tones that are brilliant and glowing. This Mexican bush sage with its vibrant, deep color makes all other purple flowering plants pale in comparison. The poor little vincas which looked great all summer must take a back seat to this autumn bloomer.

Paired with the sage...the kaleidoscope Abelia shines brightly in the garden. These two work well together making each other appear more vibrant together than they do alone. It's an eye-catching combo that catches my eye every time I look out the window. I must try to root this plant.

For a totally different look...the sage exudes a deeper purple color when it's next to the soft white colors of flax lily. These two create a very calming affect for me.

How happy I am that autumn has arrived, and . . .  like other Florida gardeners I look forward to spending more time outdoors enjoying the garden. 

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