There is, on occasion, a day when I find myself awestruck by the glories of this Creation, Earth. How blessed I am to be surrounded by this vibrant, living garden! Yes, today, I was inundated by gobs of natural beauty and lots of life flitting about. At times, this garden and all my unrequited plans frustrate me and leave me with feelings of despair. Oh, not so today! I am in love with this garden today! A turn of the doorknob, a few steps, and it seems I have been transported into a natural paradise. Yes, I feel so blessed.
With a cold and frigid December...one for the record books actually...I had really dreaded what January might have in store. But in the end, it was such a soft, gentle January, as January's go, with so many spring-like days to enjoy. Today, there is evidence that the garden has begun springing back to life. There are little leaflets peeping out of the ground beneath dead branches of pentas and clerodendrum. Brightly colored foliage is rising out of the stems of the crinums and bananas. If February holds out for us, and it does look promising, I do think we shall have a splendid and floriferous Easter this year. (It's been a while!)
Before I get into the real purpose of my post today, I have to announce that it's Tab Time here in the valley! The Tabebuias are out and creating quite a riot of color here in this quiet Peace River town.
Yesterday, I witnessed many a butterfly fluttering about my garden. Yes, this fickle weather has brought back summer and butterflies to my bipolar, roller-coaster garden. There were two species of butterflies in particular that caught my eye yesterday. They set me to thinking about a certain weedy vine that grows up in my shrubs and palms. A tiny vine that makes such a difference!
It's time for the worldwide Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, hosted the 15th of each month at May Dreams Garden. A bloom meme is quite overwhelming for me in November, which is one of the peak bloom months in my garden. But I don't have room for dozens of photos, so I must pick and choose the best. Oh, it's so hard!
My family and I ushered in October by cloistering ourselves away to an island paradise. Cloister indeed! I found myself completely mesmerized by the Mediterranean architecture found here, and enchanted by the formal gardens, which somehow blended effortlessly with the island's untouched native habitat.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am no garden planner and that I cannot seem to bring myself to plant in large groupings. I write on the sidebar over there that my garden style is "cram-as-many-plants-as-possible-into-a-half-acre-lot." Well, that is about as true a statement as I can make. I don't believe in putting on airs that aren't there. This garden is what it is: a reflection of a botanically obsessed, compulsive plant collector. It is not a garden that will appeal to everyone. It is a far cry from the self-control of landscape design with its perfectly trimmed shrubs, ideally spaced trees, and huge groupings of colorful annuals.
I wasn't planning to post today, but yesterday, there was such a flurry of activity about the firebushes that I marched out there with camera in hand determined to capture a shot. Literally, there must have been twenty or so hummingbirds flitting in and out of the area, perching in the bottlebrush now, then in the bunya-bunya, and later in a crape myrtle. What a delight to watch! Much fighting seemed to be going on among the males, yes, those beautiful males with their flaming throats. Then the lot of them would flit off into the nearby oak trees. And back again! There I stood, for easily an hour, hidden behind a couple of huge Florida cracker roses, trying to get that blasted camera to focus and shoot.
I am joining up with Simply Susan! again to post my favorites...this month! What a great month it's been in the garden! It's truly hard to play favorites when there are so many wonderful things to choose from. I can certainly say that the curcumas, peace lilies, and blue butterflies have been tops with me this month. However, I've posted them so much, that I'm not featuring them here today.
I don't really have anything exciting or new to report in the garden today. But there are a lot of purty things I saw on my garden walk. Things I have probably posted to death, but I think they're purty enough to revisit again.
Today, I was staring out the window and saw a giant yellow leaf float down into the viburnums. Then it dawned on me that it must be a butterfly, since we have no giant yellow leaves. Paparazzi that I am, I grabbed my camera and ran out. Turned out that the fluttering leaf was a Giant Swallowtail butterfly! My garden has not seen many butterflies since the Great Florida Freeze of 2010, so I was pleasantly surprised. As I gazed on it, I realized that this was probably a newly emerged butterfly. Its coloring was bright and vivid. Its wings were so perfect...not frayed, tattered, or bitten like older swallowtail butterflies. A beautiful example of this creature. True to the name, his wingspan was easily six inches. I was a little sad for the little guy because, today, my garden didn't offer the usual feast of colorful nectar flowers. There are so few flowers left right now. Fortunately, the viburnums were in full bloom, and he found them palatable enough. I wonder if he knew what he was missing, for I have done a great deal of butterfly watching, and I know the giants prefer to feed on luscious pentas and powderpuffs and dewdrops in my garden.