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, April 29, 2016

One Last Look at Spring

Since summer is coming in like a lion this week, I figured I better post the last of my spring pics. It was a good spring for amaryllis, and I really do love their bold and beautiful flowers.

These two (1st and 2nd photo) are from the garden of Rosemary, who was my babysitter when I was 2 years old.

This one from my Aunt Erna's garden.

 And, this unusual one is from an old neighbor when I lived in Lakeland. All of them are very pretty and carry special memories of the gardeners from which they came. 

Gerbera Daisies have such a sweet little look about them, don't you think? I picked this one up on the sale rack of a local store and am enjoying the last of the blooms on it before I plant it in the garden. And, speaking of planting it in the garden - the garden is getting amazingly quite full these days. I'll save more on that for another day!!!

Lastly, two of my FAVORITE plant combinations in the garden, and it only happens in spring. The Knock-out rose and the English Dogwood make a great looking couple! These two plants were made for each other. The rose will continue to bloom but will have to do so without the exceptional background of the English Dogwood since it only blooms in spring.

The blooms on the English Dogwood are stunning. I can't quit looking at them. Every time I'm outside, I just stand there and stare. They're so simple, yet dazzling. They look like they would be fragrant, but they're not. It's a great plant that my neighbor in Lakeland also shared with me. Thank you Nancy!!!!

But alas, spring is slipping away and summer is roaring in like it always does around this time of year. The wonderfully cool mornings are beginning to feel a little more humid, and the afternoon sun is roasting tree-less yards while we wait and pray for June rains.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Odd Couples in the Garden

As I sat on the back porch one morning, a familiar loud bird call caught my attention. I searched the trees in anticipation of a chance to see a magnificent prehistoric looking bird. Aww, there he was! Clinging to the side of an old dead tree snag in the vacant lot next to me. I never tire of seeing a Pileated Woodpecker.

He was busy chopping away at the tree bark with that large beak of his. Big chips of wood were flying through the air left and right as he worked to find a few tasty bugs.

 I saw another bird swoop in and was surprised to see that it was a Red-bellied woodpecker and not his mate. How cool it is to capture this odd couple in a photo together. 

The next 'odd couple' I discovered in the garden is REALLY odd! I moved my blue bottles (my version of a Southern blue bottle tree) to a new location right outside the breakfast nook window. 

Soon after relocating them, I would look out the window and see this dark brown lizard sitting on top of the bottle. The bottles catch my eye when I walk between the nook and kitchen, and sure enough, every time I walk by, this little guy is sunning himself. After a while it got to be hilarious! He even refused to leave when I went outside and took a photo of him. I guess he's taken a fancy to this pretty blue bottle and has claimed it as his own.

Wildlife in the garden can be very entertaining except for the two black Racer snakes that I saw chasing each other. I hope they're not planning on making a nest in my garden!!! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Heavenly Scents

Not only is the garden filled with beautiful spring flowers, it's also filled with the scent of subtle and strong fragrance these days. As I walk through the garden I can pick up varying degrees of scents - some earthy, some subtle and others filling the night air with heavy fragrance.

The Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow plant is one of the more subtle scents which is a good thing because it emits a low, earthy musk scent that is not appealing to everyone. You have to be near this plant to pick up the scent. It's not one of my favorite scents, but I like it because it is different.

The roses bloom beautifully and with ease in the perfect spring weather. Angel Face is one that I collected from my Aunt Erna's garden when she passed away.

The Red Knock-outs are a no-fail, easy to grow, unfussy rose that rewards its owner year round.

One of my favorites is Confederate Jasmine. I have this vine growing on all 4 sides of my home and I love being surrounded by this wonderfully intoxicating scent. I wish it bloomed year round.

  A close cousin, the Night Blooming Jasmine is also blooming, and it has a wonderful scent, too.

Sweet Almond scents the garden throughout the year. 

Don Juan, another one of my aunt's roses, has a fruity scent.

The Pink Knock-out is another sweet smelling winner. 

I saved the most fragrant plant in the garden for last. This one single apricot Angel Trumpet turned into

a choir of heavenly scent! 

You can almost get drunk on the heavy evening scent of these blooms. It is a distinctive scent that is very recognizable. These days I stroll through my garden several times a day - enjoying the last remaining weeks of pleasant spring weather and breathing deeply the scents that surround me. In the evening I sit on the patio until dark, enjoy the heavy fragrance from the Angel Trumpet that dominates the garden. 

I don't want spring to end!!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Two Beauties!

My daughter took this stunning photo, and it's so beautiful that I just had to post it. 

This beautiful red Cardinal is sitting on a branch of our neighbor's beautiful Chickasaw Plum in full bloom last month. We are so lucky to be able to see this large tree from our patio. For the last two springs, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the blooms, one by one, cover the entire tree creating one gorgeous blooming piece of art!

So glad she happened to look up at the right time and had her camera in hand!

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