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November 23, 2016

Fabulous Fall


If you're looking for a cool, autumnal place to celebrate Thanksgiving, don't come to Florida.  Sunshine and eighty degree days are what we're looking forward to for the next few weeks, and I couldn't be happier.  Oh yes, it's quite dry - but the continued warmth is a beautiful thing!  Camellias are blooming, while summer flowers are still holding on, much like last year when winter was almost nonexistent.  This Sasanqua Camellia, Stephanie Golden', is in a mixed Camellia border that's just three years old.  They were purchased as tiny, single stemmed plants.



"Stephanie Golden'



A lighter shade of pink, 'Cotton Candy'.



'Snow-on-the-Mountain'.



Across the yard, another young Sasanqua, 'Alabama Beauty'.



This large, tree sized Sasanqua is nearing the end of its' bloom, but most have just begun to show off. Japonica Camellias will probably begin blooming next month.  So much to look forward to!



Out front, Thryallis shrubs look as cheerful as they have since spring.  They've been pruned hard twice this year as they have a tendency to get leggy, but always return with bountiful blooms.



Roses by the porch...



 My Blackberry Lily has gone to seed.  I was hoping to see some birds feasting on them, but they are too busy devouring the berries from the Firebush plants in the same area.



Flowering earlier this year...

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Around back, in the shade gardens, 'Tractor Seat' plant is brightening up an area...





It's been a tad warm for a fall vegetable garden, but the cooler nights seem to be bringing it on.  We've enjoyed radishes daily.



I always look forward to the tiny head forming in the center of the cabbage.  At that point, I feel like they're going to make it.  I've also got broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, and greens planted.  My chickens are thrilled each time I thin my veggie rows.


Until next time...

Happy Thanksgiving!







November 4, 2016

Blue Skies And Butterflies


Cooler weather has restored my longing to be out and about in my garden.  Temperate mornings, often veiled with lovely fog, have enticed me outside earlier each day.  Whereas during summer, I could only see the work that needed to be done, now I see the beauty that surrounds me.  Several gardening friends have also expressed this feeling of renewed vigor with the waning of summer.  Our Florida skies have been intensely blue this week, providing a lovely backdrop for this ten foot Yellow Bells shrub.



'Climbing Iceberg' Rose



''Setsugekka', Sasanqua Camellia



Passion Vine was planted on the back fence of my vegetable garden early this spring, a gift from my daughter.  This vine is a favorite food for many butterflies, including the Zebra Longwing and Gulf Fritillary.



It still flowers on the bottom, but the top of the vine is being consumed by Gulf Fritillary caterpillars.  Not to worry, it covers 25 feet of fence.
    


 Many chrysalises hanging from this fence...



Many more, like this one have been vacated...



My gardens are alive with Gulf Fritillary butterflies, some nearing the end of their life cycle.



Perhaps, middle-aged...



The youngest are always the brightest orange, and never seem to stop for long.



Behind my veggie garden, Mexican Flame Vines are growing freely.  It's a mess, but birds and butterflies love it back there.





They have made it out front to enjoy Tithonia...



A Skipper and a Gulf Fritillary dining together.



Zebra Longwings are also still plentiful in the garden - feasting on Firebush and Bleeding Heart Vines. 





A Swallowtail visiting Pagoda Flower...



I hope you are all enjoying your gardens this season...happy gardening.





 

October 31, 2016

Mostly Summer, With A Dash Of Fall


There's a period of time, quite early in the morning, when I sense fall in the air.  All too soon, the temperatures ascend to the mid 80's and fall is forgotten.  Summer blooms are still numerous in my gardens, like this Pagoda Plant with a lovely visitor...

    



This Clematis had been cut down a few weeks ago and has returned to flower once more...



Thryallis shrubs have been blooming since spring and show no signs of letting up.



Butterfly Bushes, Clerodendrum 'Ugandense',  have been in bloom since April.



'Louis Philippe' is a favorite rose among Florida gardeners.  It's one of the few roses that will thrive in our sandy soils and accept our constant high humidity without being defoliated by black spot.



Tithonia, Zinnias, and Salvias are putting on their final show of the season...



Tibouchinas in the shade garden.



Out front in full sun...



Turk's Cap blooms from early summer until frost in my garden.  These shrubs get by on only rainfall, so they're not looking their best - as we've had little rain lately.



Now for what's looking a little like fall!  The leaves on this Oakleaf Hydrangea look quite fallish...



Blue Ginger



Tractor Seat is sending up some strong buds for fall...



And too soon...I say this because it's still too hot...camellias are bursting with blooms!  One of my favorite tree Sasanquas, 'Kanjiro'.  I took this photo in the morning fog today.  I would prefer that they waited for cooler temps., so the blooms would not fade so quickly.



'Setsugekka', also a Sasanqua Camellia.





Shade gardens still have a lot of color...



I'll be back soon with more Camellia photos...I know this post has been a little long.  I'll close with a picture of Lucy, one of my favorites.  She's an 'Easter Egger' - lays lovely green eggs.


















September 30, 2016

'Egg'citing news!


I can't believe it's been over a month since I've posted anything!  Lately, most of my time in the garden has been spent taming  the wild growth of summer.  Some roses have been removed and some Florida- friendly shrubs have taken their place.  I even downsized some of my gardens - removing a few layers and allowing more lawn to return.  Not to worry, there's still too much!  I'll get to that happy medium one day.  As for now, one of my favorite gingers is blooming...Blue Ginger (Dichorisandra thyrsiflora).  




If you look closely, you'll see that only one of the many flowers has actually opened.  Blue Ginger blooms will last for weeks!



This stand of Heliconia was lost in my tropical border before I began the Fall clean up process a few weeks ago.   Hell-o Heliconia!



A few wild orchids are showing up in the shade gardens for one last show this season...



Night blooming jasmine never gives up!  I have several of these that get pruned nearly to the ground several times a year just to keep them in bounds.  Their lovely fragrance in the evening is worth the effort.



 Farfugium Tractor Seat plant has been a great addition to my shade garden.  Gorgeous in bloom, but great, unique foliage even when not in flower.



Clerodendrum Pagoda Flowers have bloomed all year.  They can be a little scary - meaning they will get away from you if you're not willing to pull up their many offspring.  I do love them though, mainly because Zebra Longwings enjoy them so much.



Now for my most exciting news...my 'girls' began laying eggs a few weeks ago!  They have a couple nesting boxes, but they all use the same one.  They're so silly to watch clambering over each other to get possession of the box.  Here's this mornings offerings...



We get all sizes and colors!  It's a thrill each time we go out to collect eggs.  The 'girls' free range each afternoon - it's become our favorite time of the day to sit together outside and watch their antics.


Until next time...happy gardening!