February 28, 2017

Tidbits from eli

Our mild, ever so sweet winter continues here in Lakeland, Florida.  

The garden blooms have been endless . . . and beautiful ~

~ still providing nectar for the handful of butterflies who have stuck around all winter long.

Some plants seem a little confused with this year's winter though.  My tabebuia trees started to bloom last month ~ putting on a scrawny show . . . stopped . . . and then started blooming again in late February.  This makes for a less than awe-inspiring show leaving me quite envious when I drive around our little town seeing all the magnificent tabebuia trees just loaded with flowers.  They are quite the sight when in full bloom.  But no complaints here as I'll take what I can get.  Maybe this year I wont have an enormous amount of seeds settling all over the place.  I am constantly pulling up tabebuia seedlings through out the year (kinda of like the Everglades tomatoes!), 😀

My tabebuia trees aren't the only ones confused as my Christmas cactus is having a funky bloom cycle as well.  I bought it in December full of blooms and by mid-January it was done.  And now this . . . perhaps it wanted to show off one more time this year.  

And speaking of show-offs ~ and I have a few this post ~ look at this abused, neglected hoya.  This monster of a plant used to reside in my back garden.  It was so large that the thought of moving it from the table where it had completely intertwined itself around (and everything else in its vicinity) was a chore I definitely wasn't up to.  And when we were having our "rat issue" I saw Philip eyeing it a time or two ~ a perfect rat's nest.  So when we poured our very last garden pathway, which was next to said monster, I had Philip move the hoya out of the garden and to the side of the house in the arms of my Hong Kong orchid tree.  Really more like into the feet of the orchid tree as it sits in the V of the two main trunks very close to the ground.  I think the plant felt like it was one step away from being roadside because it has done nothing but bloom since we moved (and kinda neglected) it.  And I'm happy to report there were no rats living in it - just wasps.  Bad, bad, butterfly caterpillar eating wasps. 😡

 Oh how I love my weekends!

Every weekend (and most evenings) you can find Philip and I sitting here in "my" corner.  It remains my favorite spot in the garden and it's where I do a lot of thinking.  It's also where I enjoy my wine . . . and read . . . and write in my journal.  It's my special place . . . that I share with my best friend.  And not a day goes by where I am not thankful ~ for both ~ for our blessings . . . and especially for our family.

Carved in the bamboo section of Hollis Gardens ~ along with hundreds of others!  

And our family just got bigger . . . meet little Daisy.  She is Charlie and Hannah's newest addition (the pup in the middle with the pink collar).  One more and they will have caught up to us!  💓💓💓

Our amazing runner . . .

So last month our Jenn got engaged (a first) . . . and this month is another first for her ~ she completed a 15K on Saturday followed by an 8K on Sunday.  And she did it solo as her fiance was out of town.
To say we’re proud is an understatement!!!

Guess what else happened this weekend (on Friday actually)?  Mr. Hart was freed from his cast.  Finally, after 10 long weeks, he can drive again!  😁 And soon we'll be able to hike again.  But really, I'm just happy he can drive!  And if I'm happy, you can imagine how he is feeling.  

Well, that's it for now.  I've added a couple of new plants to the garden but will post about those later.  My Bones is nibbling at my elbow reminding me it's time for her morning walk.  She's so demanding (and so very loved). 💗

Take care ~ 

***If you are not barefoot then you are overdressed.

February 16, 2017

It just never gets old . . .

Mother Nature . . . a million blooms . . . and that million and one is just as spectacular.  ❤

Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)
My Carolina Jessamine is buried beneath the ever growing, super aggressive Dutchman's pipevine ~ but every year it works and works to put out a handful of blooms.  And every year I'm thankful for those few showy yellow flowers, especially when they appear in the middle of winter.

This past weekend I was doing some serious trimming around the garden and found a chrysalis on a branch I was hauling roadside.  I clipped it off and brought it on the patio . . . and yesterday morning, before work, I spotted this beauty.  I've probably seen hundreds of emerging butterflies, but it never gets old.

I didn't want him to be stuck on the patio all day, so I transported him to the butterfly garden to finish drying and by lunch he was long gone.  Today I had two monarchs fluttering about.  I'd like to think he (or she) was one of them.

I have been a nature lover my whole life . . . and even after all these years . . . I still think it's magical!

February 8, 2017

Garden art, veggies, and a new plant!

From a gardener's standpoint, at least one who is trying to grow tropicals in a non-tropical zone, this has been a wonderful winter season so far . . . not a single day of frost (knock on wood).  I have a mango tree full of mangoes, Mexican tithonias that have never stopped blooming, and butterflies already laying eggs.  I know all that can change next week, but for now ~ I am very thankful.

I've stayed fairly busy all season long ~ adding new garden art (I've become a recent fan of reading statues) . . . 

. . . and keeping up with the veggie garden.  This past weekend I had both the kids over helping themselves to kale, broccoli, herbs, etc.  It warms my heart to see them out there harvesting stuff to take home.  Even with a mild winter, my cold season veggies have done exceptionally well.  So yep, already have my spring veggie seeds ready to go.  :-)

My resident hummer left sometime in early January with no sightings in February either.  But there are plenty of blooms to provide nectar (being enjoyed by the bees) and I still keep the feeders out (also being enjoyed by the bees).  :-)

This past weekend Jen came to visit and we took a trip to the farmers market.  Since Philip broke his foot we haven't been in weeks (at least 3 more weeks to go too!).  There is one plant vendor there that I just love as he always seems to have something new . . . or at least something I "need".  This weekend it was something new - a rose allamanda (Strophanthus gratus).  This one is trained as a shrub (they can also climb) ~ and the blooms smell amazing . . . like a cross between an orchid and a rose.  I had never seen one before so home it went.

While at the farmers market, we also hid some painted rocks.  Here in Lakeland (and other cities too) there is a group of folks on Facebook called "Lakeland Rocks" (30,000+ members).  The idea is to paint rocks, hide them, and also hunt for them too if you'd like.  It's a pretty big deal - with the City even getting involved.  I like it because it gets people (especially kids) out and about - and away from their electronics.  I also find it very relaxing to paint the rocks, although I'm not much for finding them.  Some of the really large rocks (bigger than a softball like the one above) I've painted and placed around my garden.

And others, like these sugar skulls, I've hidden around town (or given to Jen as she LOVES anything sugar skull).  :-)  This was started by one family . . . and has really turned into a huge community project.  Such a great idea ~ and so much fun!

Well, that's it for now . . . counting the days till spring (40).  💗💗💗