Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A glimpse of Autumn - outside........

..........There is not much time left before the beautiful autumn season will be over-powered by Christmas and all that goes with it. So, here is a glimpse of autumn around the outside of my house...........

The big angel just received a fresh coat of paint which was sorely needed. Now, he looks quite content here on the old bench...........

...........and looks even better with a pretty fall themed book to look at.


On the front porch is the same wreath I have used for a couple of years before but, this year I gave it a new bow. 
The big, plaid bow gave it a better look and the wreath will be good for a few more years.

Just left of the front door - my black bench is the perfect place for a few pumpkins, a very large acorn and colorful fall leaves. 
On the right side of the door, on a very narrow wall hangs this unusual metal pine cone that fits in with the fall look.
Yes, fallen leaves on the porch! Even if I have to find pretty ones and do it myself.

Just off of the porch and a few feet away is a small tree with this glass and metal, bird feeder acorn.  It hangs here year round but I think this is a good time to feature it here.  Acorns are a special interest to me and are a big part of fall decorating, especially inside. Hopefully, in a day or two I will post a few pictures from a couple of inside rooms.
I post so many plant pictures and didn't plan to include any in this post but, decided this one blends with the theme so well as it sits right next to the little walk up to the front porch.
Be sure to check back soon to see more autumn treasures..........


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Signs of the Season......

When you live in central Florida you don't experience some of the signs of Autumn. We have been having many days this month with record high temperatures. So our fall does not depend on weather. By now though, we normally would be enjoying cooler days pretty regularly. I make a point of noticing other things and make the best of those. They usually have to do with color.

Inside it has looked like fall for a few weeks. I pack up "summer" and put out a lot of fall decorations. This open book is all I am showing from inside today. If you are like me and are a picture person more than a reading person as regards to magazines you would love this book. It is Southern Lady Magazine's Collector's issue - Autumn In The South. Beautiful, beautiful pictures here! This opening is displayed on a small table in my sitting room.

Moving on to the outside here is the first of a few recent pictures I selected, basically for the colors.
I always have some monarch's that hang around, not choosing to join the others who have migrated to Mexico.

I have sort of specialized in Coleus this year and have several that most certainly give me the fall colors.

A close-up of the same urn planter.

This one is in several locations around the yard. And there are more kinds, too many to show all.

I hadn't associated this hibiscus with autumn until now. This picture with the blurred coleus in the background lends it's self for "thinking fall". 

My Gloriosa lilies are thick and healthy and have just started blooming. Orange, yellow, red and green: Fall!
Thanksgiving is almost here but, these wild turkeys are really too much like pets to associate them with turkey day. Although, I am sure they will eat here that day, too.

One more Coleus.

I have beautiful fall colors with these - Abutilon, parlor maple.

This little squirrel was so busy trying to decide where to hide his acorn for winter that he didn't seem to be concerned with me and my camera. I didn't have the heart to tell him that he doesn't really need to hide food for later, there should be plenty for all, then too! They don't have big, thick fur coats and big bushy tails - not really needed in our winter weather!
This may make you feel sorry for me, but don't. I have had tons of leaves fall in the yard already and have raked them up and got rid of them. They continue to fall but none are pretty leaves! So, I scatter a few artificial ones on my little front porch and down the walk.
Thank you for stopping by to see how I get in the fall mood.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Lemon Verbena - Growing and Using......

..........I am back to do a new post after quite a long break. I want to apologize to my followers for such a delay without any explanation. There has been nothing wrong, just busy with other things. And, I guess I didn't think it would take this long to get back..........

Yesterday I put one of my favorite plants, Lemon Verbena, up on this birdbath. The birds never seem to use this one and I like the way the plant looks here. I will just need to watch and not let it sit in water too long. At the beginning of summer I had two small Verbena plants (not to be confused with the ornamental with the same name) but one died. This one is almost like a sprawling vine and was partly lying on the ground.

It is not a favorite because of the way it looks (has no significant blooms) but because of its use. Because of its fragrance and the way lemon verbena tea tastes.

I have never found it especially easy to keep growing here in Central Florida. And it is not real easy to find a replacement. It goes semi-dormant in our coolest weather.

I like the way it looks now nestled here in front of two Nandinas and the hanging birdcage with Ivy. 
Thinking about most of its leaves falling soon, I decided to trim it slightly and make some tea.
I use two  handful's, stems and all to steep in hot water, along with one bag of black tea and one of mint.  When I have plenty of fresh mint growing I use just a sprig or two of it instead of the tea bag. If you don't have Trader Joe's peppermint tea you may want to use two bags of your brand or it could be left out. I just recently discovered this kind and it is so fresh and pungent! The best I have ever had. The same thing can be said of the black tea bags I now use..........

PG tips from England is the best ever!  I had to cut down on the amount I used because it has such a rich strong flavor. My son-in-law is from England and this is his daily tea of choice. It is sold at Publix on their International isle. After steeping, I add about a third cup of sugar, optional. The lemon verbena is a sweet lemon.

So, I got my tea brewed and put it in my favorite old pitcher, put a fall-looking cloth over a little table and prepared to have a great glass of lemon verbena tea.
I wish you were here to have a big glassfull along with me.

I always save a sprig for the glass - the fragrance adds to the enjoyment immensely!
A big welcome back to my regular followers and if you are new to my blog Welcome and I hope you will check it out on a regular basis. You may want to check out some of the older posts listed on the right near the top - archives. I also have several other bloggers listed that you can click on.
I hope to get some posts done on a regular basis now. But, with the holidays just around the corner, it will probably not be more than one or two a week.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Frolicking Through the Garden..........

...........Amid the extreme heat, summer rain and lazy days, there is still quite a bit of garden frolicking going on.  Not much of it done by me except when I am chasing after something with camera in hand.  Today I will show a few of my favorites and throw in a few plant pictures too...... 

I caught this couple in the very back corner being spotlighted by the sun.  They don't cover much territory but continuously remain absorbed in their own little world.

I see these Gulf Fritillary butterflies come through but, seldom catch them still enough to get their picture. Here you see the underside of one wing and the topside of the other.
This one went from flower to flower but paused just long enough to get a few fair pictures.

It starts feeling like fall here, even in the heat, when the beauty berries start turning this beautiful color.

Another frolicker paused for me to get many good pictures, the White Peacock.

This is a skipper butterfly and most of the skippers seem laid back and relaxed.


Some of the swallowtails are near impossible to capture.  They almost never stop moving.

And then there are these residents! They mosey through a few times a day and you would think they owned the whole sub-division. You can't call what they do frolicking by any stretch of the imagination!

I seldom look out or go out that I don't see at least one dragonfly.  I think this is the first time, however, that I caught one on rosemary.



With all the frolicking that goes on in the summer garden, there comes the time for sweet repose and reflection. It's a good life!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Fresh Cuts - Outside.........

..........I know those who have been following for a long time remember my "fresh cuts" posts. But, it has been a long time since the last one and I thought you might like to see another..........


I love the colors of this one and it represents several of my current plants. I gathered these this morning and brought them in, put them in a very old blue jar and began to take pictures.......
I had them on my little kitchen island but, they were dropping petals and drooping so much that I thought the hanging light over the island might be too hot. Decided to take them outside and chose the large old camphor tree stump to nestle the arrangement in. 

I am so glad that I did and think the setting makes them more interesting. As the petals were still drooping and dropping, I snapped very quickly. Not some of my best photography but I got two or three that I love.......

This particular selection has some deep down richness of color. They make me think of fall, especially the coleus. You might see more of it as Autumn draws nearer.

A tumble of textures and colors!

There was one small pinecone already in place and I added two more in the crevasse of the old stump. The jar is complete with a glass lid. I have had it so long I no longer remember where it came from.
It doesn't take much natural beauty to elevate the "everyday".  I don't think ahead or plan for these fresh cuts - just start gathering and quickly put it together and start snapping pictures.


Nature adds so much pleasure to ordinary days and presents many opportunities for joy.

This is one of my favorites. Love the simplicity.
Maybe we can consider this post  a "warm-up" for fall. After all, Autumn is not far off.