Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Friends in the Garden

I have been noticing more activity in my flower garden this fall than any time before. Lots of winged friends showing up along with a few other interesting creatures.

This is my favorite kind of butterfly out of those visible in our area, the yellow swallowtail. It is easy to get pictures of - doesn't seem as "flighty" as other types.

This one was enjoying my bay tree.  I think it was sunning and not eating the bay leaves.

A split second caught it in flight with the upper wings straight up.

Do you see the frog?  I moved a pot and there he was.

He didn't sit still long so I was lucky to get this picture.

I think the oleander moth is so unusual in color, with white polka dots on black, brilliant blue and then a bright red at the end. Very pretty.  The caterpillar stage of this is very destructive to oleander bushes, hence the name, oleander moth.
These Mexican sunflowers (tithonia) attracts several types of insects - a lot of them!  Bees, like this one, and then........
.........the bee and a moth.  Nearly every bloom had something on it.

These chameleons are so plentiful in my yard that I pay very little attention to them. I find them difficult to photograph. They are afraid of people and usually move. They will almost never get on a person. Only one time out of all the years they have been my friends in the garden did one hop on me and he got off faster than he got on. This one is striking a funny pose with his tail straight up!

This White peacock butterfly is not as plentiful here as several other kinds so I always pay attention when I spot one.  It is sitting on a white periwinkle which puts a perfect white edge around its wings!

While I was photographing this one a zebra Longwing flew by.  He didn't stop so I couldn't get a picture. I never have photographed one but see them occasionally
Do you see the yellow sulphur butterfly - upper right.  Three of these were flying together but I only got a picture of this one. This kind really flutters, almost continously, and is another one I can almost never capture. It stopped here just for a few seconds to enjoy the pineapple sage.

This might be a long-tailed skipper but those usually have a grayish blue on their body. One day almost every blossom (a lot) on this plant had at least one of these on it.

One on an aster blossom.  This plant has several buds on it but so far they have opened only one at a time.

I have a lot of daisy plants here and they had no blooms this summer and then last week I spotted this one bloom! Conveniently, it had a friend on it. While taking these pictures I saw birds and squirrels also. Always neat things to notice in the garden!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Life....close up....... life, that is. This will be some of my favorite recently taken pictures.......not much talk, this time.

This makes it look like I am being swallowed up by plants.  It is not quite a bad in person as it looks here.

They are getting BIG - the insects in my garden!  A Christmas gift from my friend Jean Webber, made by her husband, John.

One of my favorite sayings. The plaque is also a Christmas gift from friends from England.

A great philosophy of life! Another gift - from my niece Sheron in a secret relative game my family played.

Staghorn fern once the property of the same friend, John Webber. I was the blessed recipient of many nice things when the Webbers moved to their condo! There was no place in the condo for this huge plant and many other things.

Who says you can't hang three glass balls in a tree!

A favorite shady view.

A stationary gate. Recently, a large limb fell and knocked the round, glass plaque to the ground but it didn't break.  It has been hanging here for many years since the time I won it at a Rose Society meeting.

The colorful plant on the other side of the "gate" is a ginger.

I must have been proud of this area after I had spent a lot of time raking and cleaning it up. I took several pictures!  Now, I need to do some painting.

Same with this, I had taken it from dark with mold (it happens so quickly, here) to a better look.

This is the tall pot where we watched the pineapple grow. The pineapple plant is now gone. I am not sure if this nandina plant will work out - it may turn out to be too upright for the pot. The colors work good for this area right now.

Thank you for looking and hurry back.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Simple Pleasures.......

........This one will probably be short and sweet.  Well, at least short.  And, at the end you may be  asking why????  But, I have a feeling some of you will know.......

Have you tried these yet?  I stumbled upon them and thought they might be something good to try.  They are kinda like pop-tarts but these are softer.

You can eat them right out of the package but, with each one I put them in the toaster for a short time.  The first one I ate plain and they are fairly tasty but the next time I put butter and jelly with them and liked them even better.  This was too much of both and I ended up not eating all the butter and jelly.

The next time I had one I decided this Classic Caramel Sundae Syrup might taste good and I was right - it tasted very good!  But, with this much, all I tasted was the caramel syrup and it was a bit too much.

So, the next time I put the same thing but less of it and I liked it better. These were all eaten for breakfast, by the way, but are good enough for a quick simple dessert.
This was today's breakfast.  I decided to cook some oatmeal and looked in the refrigerator for the dried cranberries I sometimes use. Well, I had put the pack in the refrigerator last time with about enough pieces in it to make up two cranberries!!!  That led me to wonder what else might taste good in oatmeal. 
Sometimes I add some natural sugar.  Not 1/3 cup, of course, for my one serving.  Oatmeal is something that I do not enjoy unless I add something sweet.

For the first time I tried coconut.  I sprinkled in a hearty helping while the oatmeal was cooking and just a little more on top of the serving.  I liked it!  Now, I'm thinking coconut milk might be a good thing to cook with it.

But, I am finally getting to the point of the post.  Simple Pleasures.  There is nothing extremely note worthy or unusually pleasurable about eating what I've shown, but the WAY I served it is. It might not work for everyone but for people like me who are about visuals as much as anything, you understand.  I mostly cook for one, only me, but you can just as easily and almost as quickly, make the presentation good looking and a simple pleasure for a family. It takes something sort of mundane to pleasurable if you just choose something you like to serve it on/with!

Talk about mundane!  A big baked potato!  But, boy was it good!  And, the pleasure partly came from using this oblong shallow dish it is in. And, I am almost sure, the fresh tomatoes with a sprinkling of Italian dressing and some blue cheese crumbles, tasted even better in the little single serving pie baker! By the way, this wasn't breakfast, but now that I think of it, it might be good for breakfast! Especially since I don't like to eat breakfast until about mid-morning.

While I ate the potato, I thought of where I bought this dish (York, Pa. at the Pfaltzgraff outlet) and the family members I was with.  And, I thought of why - I bought nine of these to bring home for my Christmas brunch containers, that year. I also thought of my sweet friend, Lynda  who used her dish like this one to serve the big yummy potato she brought to me one day when I wasn't feeling my best.  Now, I'm thinking how close it is getting to "Christmas brunch time" (Dec. 8th) with the special ladies and I haven't found my containers yet!

I love the bottom as much as the topside.  And, I almost always turn it over and see the bottom before I use it - simple pleasures. This kind of stuff might not thrill you a bit but there must be ways every day that you can treat yourself in a intentional way.  It really doesn't take much.
I guess this turned out not so short after all. And, I'm not even sure about the sweet!  Tell me what you do that is a special little pleasure you give yourself.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Another Garden Walk.........

.....From here on until spring my garden pictures will seem out of season to a lot of viewers unless we get a bad killing frost or freeze.  But, as of now, there is a big variety of blooming things.

This first one does have somewhat of an autumn look because of its color.  This is a mexican sunflower or Tithonia - yellow torch.  See the two bees?

It was about six inches tall when my friend gave it to me and now its tallest part is about seven feet.  I sure am glad I knew it grew tall when I selected its place in the yard!
Last week during the extremely windy days I thought it would end up on the ground but it is still quite upright.
This is a new plant to me. I am not sure how long it will stay in bloom or what happens after it blooms.  I was begining to wonder if it would reach heaven without blooming! But, here it is in all its blooming glory! It is not a very pretty plant so it may be one of those that just needs to be cut down after it blooms.  It sure does attract insects. The bees love it and this is a moth of some kind.  It never would spread its wings for me to get a better picture.

Most of the roses continue to bloom.  With the cooler weather they will have bigger blossoms and most will bloom off and on through the winter.
Purple is one of my favorite colors for the garden. Have I told you that before? I believe I may have. This purple angelonia and the foliage of flax lily are a good pairing.  The flax lily looks so much better this year after the long hot summer and the reason for it is because we got so much rain. 

Down the sidewalk you see these two periwinkles.  Actually, they were there last week and gone today - no sign of them.  Someone must have gotten tired of stepping around or over!  Or perhaps they thought they would take away the risk of me being sued if someone stumbled and hurt themselves?

I miss them*****

This chartreuse potato vine is still going strong.


Back over on the sunny side of the house and looking across one of the raised beds.  The blooming mint marigold (florida tarragon) is in the ground between the beds. Through it you can see some basils, thyme, just a glimpse of cilantro.

In the back, to the right of the rabbit is a tomato plant.
On around in the back, this is what I see outside of my dining room window.  I love seeing the iron chair and chartreuse coleus.  Before today is done I want to cut several sprigs off and start them across the path in the same location.  That's all that is needed - cut them and stick them in the ground and keep them watered.

In the same area is this blue ginger (not a ginger).

By the time this plant blooms the foliage is always looking ugly.  At least that is the way mine behaves.

And, a single shrimp plant shrimp.
I could show about twenty-five more pictures but I realize no one gets the same thrill that I do!  Hope I haven't already gone over the limit. As always, I really appreciate your stopping by!
O.K. I'm adding one more picture - just can't wait! I discovered a very creative insect has been enjoying my garden!