Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What has been happening in the garden......

..........I spent many, many hours outside last week doing a lot of raking and different types of clean-up work. I chased a few butterflies and took a few pictures..........

 Three different types of butterflies were visible at the same time but this swallowtail is the only one that would sit still long enough to be photographed.

For weeks now the azaleas have been blooming. They are on their last leg now and I had forgotten to take pictures earlier.

That pesky water hose seems to sneak into every outdoor post!

These parlor maples have had some lanterns swinging lately.  I took two of these out of pots and put them into the ground. Hopefully, they will receive more water and do better. I think the design of the lantern is fascinating!

Most of my rose bushes have had at least a few roses off and on all winter.

Back in the "woods" area these macho ferns have really decided to spread. They don't call these macho for nothing!  They are HUGE!  I continue to pull some out to keep them in clumps with walk- ways around them. 

Back here is where I spent most of my time last week - raking up leaves and small debris and pulling up baby camphor trees like those you can see here and picking up air potatoes. The purple chair got a clorox bath.

Some of the air potatoes. Most of them were on my neighbor's side. Everyone of these represents a vine of up to about 35 feet if left to sprout! It is as bad or worse than kudzu. 

After getting everything cleaned I spread 12 bags of mini pine bark, mostly to define the walkways.

There is a butterfly here too but he is hard to see. This croscosmia plant has been blooming for a long time. After it quits blooming it will totally disappear until next winter.

 Just to the left of the last picture near the Toad Abode and Garden Gnome area.  I still have some fine-tuning to do here and will show more later.

Another thing I did last week was to repaint this little low bench.  I notice in the picture that I need to work on the "t" some more - it is plant not plan.

Most people don't want this spider wort in their gardens because they are usually so invasive but they don't cause any trouble in mine. And not very many things are invasive here except for lots of weeds. That shows what difficult growing conditions I have! But weeds will grow anywhere!!

Showing a part of one of my two raised beds.  

I will finish with this rose - Clair Matin
It has been a wet, stormy day today or I would have been out there working and playing!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Winter~~~~Cold and Austere?

Here in central Florida? Not so much. We have had some really cold air and last week a damaging frost but not bad enough to leave lasting damage. By the way things look outside, it could be summer time. The brown that is there could be blamed on drought. The air on a lot of days is warm and yesterday while working in the yard I got hot. So, in order to make it seem like winter inside, I decorate a little more in the direction of stark.

I suppose the big, red tomato on the kitchen window sill doesn't help, but I think the empty peat pots and white pitcher does.

And, after I ate the big tomato that I was so proud of growing (it isn't easy here) this large, old, flower frog and a paper bird leans in the direction of bleak.

The bird is cut from embossed card stock which is hard to notice in this picture but that makes it look better than plain would.

At the first of the year this frosty fruit was brought out of storage for the dinning room table centerpiece.  It looks like winter! 

A glass sherbet stemware dish with a saucer and white candle on top goes well with the centerpiece.

A scattering of some of my small tea accessories lends interest and adds to the "cold" look.  Why I want a cold look is a mystery, even to me, since I dislike cold air, very much. But, there is a lot about me that is hard to figure!
After the preceding pictures were made, I added this "sweater" to the candles. The "sweater" came around a set of four napkins.  I knew when I bought them that there would be some way to use the "sweater".  Of course, I would never leave the candle lit with them in place!
Hot tea, winter and cold go together in my way of thinking. We won't try to tell the British that, though, with hot tea being the drink of choice, year round.



I have heard Patsy Clairmont speak several times and used her book and other tea books to give the tea time feel on the side board. If you ever have the opportunity to hear her, I urge you to do so! She has a lot to share and is soooooooooo funny!


Tall lady sure seems to enjoy her cup of tea! Go brew a good cup of tea for yourself  and enjoy this nice winter day, whether your weather is hot or cold.
Live in each season as it passes; breath the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit. Thoreau

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Journey Into the Wilderness......

It was a beautiful day in January, with perfect weather, when my friend, Ginger and I took an adventurous excursion into the Florida wilderness............

We went deep into the 4700 acre Forever Florida wildlife conservation area to enjoy the nine distinct ecosystems with its array of natural flora and fauna.

We boarded this combination land/water, high off the ground, open-air, safari coach. The Safari begins with a ride through Crescent J, a picturesque Florida ranch. The ranch features Spanish Colonial cattle and Florida's unique Cracker Horses. We were told that these are direct descendants of those brought over by Ponce de Leon and other Spanish settlers in the 1500's

We had a good guide/driver who provided much insight and commentary on the ranching and Florida wilderness. We saw lots of horses and cattle, most at a distance, but these came right up to the coach and seemed to want to visit awhile. A famous race horse was mentioned as being retired here. The driver called these friendly horses by name and talked to them and after a bit they politely moved and let us continue on.

When we reached the wildlife conservation area the contrast between the ranch land and wilderness was quite evident. We were watching for alligators, turtles, wild turkey, deer, wild hogs, snakes and possibly a Florida panther. We saw some tropical birds, including white ibis. Three or four alligators were spotted just partly out of the water so they weren't very easy to see. A few big turtles were sunning. We saw no turkeys and were disappointed not to locate an endangered panther. 

This white-tailed deer was disturbed from its afternoon rest. Can you see it in the middle of the picture just to the left of the tree? A little farther on there was another one.  As we neared the floodplain, which is mostly dry now because of drought, our guide told us that a well-known walking trail comes through the area and some walkers camp in there - she mentioned that due to the snakes, wild boars, etc. that she would not want to do that.  That is why I was surprised when we had gone on about a mile she stopped the coach and asked if we wanted to get off and walk into the wilderness a little way!  We all disembarked and started up a path. She led us onto a board walk which took us back to a good-sized body of water. 

This area is very pretty and had great reflections in the water.  The water here is pure enough to drink but is brown from the tannin in it.

We eventually headed back to the ranch house, actually it is a restaurant and nice gift shop.

Near the restaurant is a replica of a cow hunter's shack. With hundreds of acres of land to work, it was common to have a little house out in the wilderness where they sometimes spent the night.

The butterflies were plentiful.

A nice purple martin house.

This little lake always has some alligators in it. We did not spot any this day.

Probably the prettiest thing we saw on the adventure was this peacock.

We had hoped to see a little more wildlife but overall it was a very nice excursion.  I think someone from out of state and especially from another country would appreciate the safari more than us residents who are familiar with the look and most of what goes with it.
Before each tour begins there is a film presentation shown which tells about the family that owns this land and how it came to be a conservation - a sad story in part, but interesting. Maybe you can take the ride yourself some day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In The Month of Love......

......As a young child I loved valentines and one of the few things I remember about early school is the exchanging of valentines and we made special envelopes to receive our valentines in. Now Valentine Day is not one of my favorite holidays.........

The words on this container are Gather Ye......Rosebuds.  I am making some effort to bring rosebuds and other pretty flowers inside. In this month of "love" this post will be my "ode to love" - scrambled, but  valuable.

                                                                                 I never spend much time arranging and I like bouquets looking balanced but as natural as possible.  I almost like the overall-look better when some petals fall to the table. Roses do have a romantic look, don't they?  For me, old garden roses are way better than long stems from a florist. But, they never seem to last very long.  Love relationships almost always have their "ups" and "downs" Some people do "make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon" but, the sky is not always blue!

Sometimes the expression of love is clumsy, scrambled, the petals become arranged in unnatural ways but, they can still be used to form a pretty picture. 

Sometimes they can never be returned to their original position, shape. 

And, sometimes when drying takes place, all is not lost, good memories remain and slowly new luster is added to the picture and is enjoyed.

"We all know what constitutes loving behavior, we need but to act upon it, not continually question it.  Over-analysis often confuses the issue and in the end brings us no closer to insight.  We sometimes become too busy classifying, separating and examining to remember that love is easy.  It is we who make it complicated."

Look and see.  Listen and hear.

"Love is the beauty of the soul".

And, occasionally, can it be as simple as a spoonful of chocolate?  
One thing we can know for sure: "And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13

Proverbs 4:23  This photograph is not mine - borrowed from Pinterest.