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Mid October Flowers

The 85-90° heat has broken!

As I type this, it’s sunny, clear and 71°F, a perfect morning to move around the garden. :)  The Super Cosmos (as I call them) are having their fullest/tallest bloom cycle ever, several reaching 10ft!

Super Cosmos, 10ft tall!

After conserving energy in the long Florida summer, the vine wall is waking up nicely.  Tecoma capensis (aka Cape Honeysuckle) is a particularly welcome sight.

Tecoma capensis

And here it is again, peeking through Passiflora foliage and a string of Ipomoea quamoclit (aka Red Cypress Vine.)

T. capensis and I. quamoclit on the vine wall

Now this next plant is one I really hate!! Lantana camara is too common and rough-leafed for my taste, but it came with the house and photographs well:

Lantana camara

I have strong feelings in the opposite direction for Primrosewillow: love every variety including Ludwegia peruviana, a Category 1 invasive. In my yard it appears only singly/randomly, so I’m not too worried about it…yet. This morning it looked particularly cheery.

Ludwegia peruviana

I’m thrilled to see a flower forming on the Cattleya hybrid (aka Potinara Elaine TayIor) purchased in February 2013.  Like most orchids, it was in bud when I brought it home, but lain dormant ever since!

Potinara Elaine Taylor in bud

Cast your eye to the left in the image above. What looks like the trunk of a young tree, is actually a Cosmos stem! (Now you know why I’ve dubbed them “Super!!”) I think there may be wierd, GMO/Monsanto sh*t going on here! ;)

Until next time…

:) :) :)

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Schefflera arboricola Flowers/Berries

Although more common as a houseplant, Schefflera arboricola (aka Dwarf Schefflera) has many qualities that make it a good foundation shrub in Florida Zone 9/10. It is salt tolerant, pest resistant, and with a maximum height of 10ft, easily shaped into hedges/topiaries.  Unfortunately, shaping requires pruning, and pruning robs the plant of it’s greatest feature: beautiful drupes of autumn berries.  This year I let nature take its course, with excellent results:

Schefflera arboricola growing wild in the landscape

Left untrimmed, these shrubs produce flowering umbels from July to October—>tiny, white-to-green and inconspicuous, but still worth a look:

S. arboricola flower close-up

When the flowers become berries, the plant’s true ornamental nature is revealed:

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Dwarf Schefflera is a native of Taiwan and member of the Aralia family. Like most exotics, it grows best in bright light, humid air, and well draining sandy/loamy soil.  Propagation of outdoor growers is best done from woody stem cuttings; use air layering if your S. arbicola is growing indoors.

S. arboricola full view

Until next time…..

:) :) :)

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs

This week’s photo challenge asks us to share images of signs, and since taking pictures of unexpected/oddball signage is one of my oldest habits (seriously!!) I have plenty to share. :)

The three “gallery” photos are from Chiswick, Paris and Brighton, respectively; the fourth/bottom shot was taken today on the access road to Tracking Station Beach. (Note: Hover your mouse on the individual pics to see their captions)

Ordinarily I hate misspellings, but there was something serendipitous about two Estas driving behind this guy!  Gave us quite a chuckle on our way to the beach:

Until next time…

:) :) :)

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Brighton and Hove, Part 1

After leaving Paris, we took the train to Brighton and Hove to meet up with Maggie’s boyfriend who’d arrived from Dublin.

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What a FUN place…much larger than we’d all expected!  First we explored the side streets, and with Seamus on hand we posed for a proper, non-selfie photo. :)

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Uphill we found the Wheel perfectly framed:

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Then we walked over to Regency Square:

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At the foot of the street we found a restaurant for our first ever “fish and chips”  :)

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Nary a morsel left on the plate when we were done!

We strolled back along the waterfront…and later learned the locals call it “promenading” (thank you, Claire!)  The beach was rocky but wide enough for all sorts of amusements

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…and sculptures

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and many activities for kids and families:

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I mean seriously…could we have ordered a better day for this little excursion?  So bright and beautiful!

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Normal people might have stretched this amount of activity over an entire, relaxing day but not us…we crammed it into 3 hrs so we could hit the Royal Pavilion Gardens by early afternoon. :) More on that in Brighton and Hove, Part 2.

Until next time…

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Versailles

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime (in Paris)

While we were in Chiswick/London last week, we took the Eurostar to Paris. We arrived in the Bastille district just before nighttime.

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Our Airbnb was around the corner on tiny Rue de Lappe; As we checked in, Maggie leant out the bedroom window to catch the activity below:

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Great Party Street in the Bastille. So Fun!

Next we hit Corcoran’s Irish Pub for a bit of dinner.

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By the time we left the pub it was completely dark, perfect for viewing the Eiffel Tower in illuminated glory. :)

Eiffel Tower by night

Can you believe this GREAT pic came from my Samsung Gs3!! Best phonecam ever!

The lines were short, so we rode the elevators to the summit observation deck. WOW!  There’s Versailles!

Versailles

The Seine looked beautiful, too.

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Nighttime in La Ville-Lumière was pretty damn incredible!  All photos (except Rue De Lappe) taken with Samsung Galaxy S3.

For other interpretations of this week’s challenge, click Weekly Photo Challenge, Nighttime and on the Zemanta links below.

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Wordless Wednesday: Beautiful Chiswick, UK

Chiswick stole my heart: leafy, classy, pretty and genteel. Everything I imagined it would be!

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AroundKew

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and my favourite place to unwind at the end of the day…the wonderful local, “The Tabard!”

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Such a fun, fun vacation!

Until next time…

:) :) :)