Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar, 5/3/14

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring!

Spring in the sub-tropics feels and looks like summer. Most local gardens have moved beyond budding into the first (of many!) flower cycles.  This gaillardia, re-seeded from last year, seems to like it hot and sunny,

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Ditto my Florida cardinal Caladium, locally bred to produce thicker leaves for better sun tolerance.

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These are the days when temps and humidity soar to the 90s, and late day downpours are an everyday given.  This next photo illustrates our humid, hot, hazy Spring so perfectly, I almost tagged it #iconic. 🙂  Right now it’s 4pm, and you can see the haze is settling in:

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Don’t you just love those sherbet colors? 🙂  I sure do!

To see what Spring is like in other parts of the world, check out the Weekly Photo Challenge and  Zemanta related links below!

Until next time….

🙂 🙂 🙂

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated

This week’s photo challenge calls for saturation of color. Not a problem! When tropical gardens reach peak bloom, deeply saturated jewel tones are everywhere!

First up, a Ruby Spider Daylily and Aloe Ciliaris from May, 2013..

Ruby spider daylily and Aloe ciliaris, 5/12/2013

Followed by reseeded sunflowers from 2011-12 amidst a newly sown packet of Burpee’s Autumn Beauty seeds. This is some seriously saturated orange!

Sunflowers, 5/12/13

Check out the electric pinks and greens in this caladium container!  (June, 2013)

Mixed Caladium Container, 6/19/13

Not even rain can diminish the bold purple/orange marbling in this unusual gladiolus from July, 2012.  (Saturated color saturation? ha! 🙂 )

orange glad july 23, 2012 ranchero

Sadly, this beautiful flower didn’t grow back in 2013, but it sure looked pretty next to the Dragon Tree aka  Dracena Marginata Tricolor,

That’s it for today, but stay tuned:  I’ve got some great bromeliad pics to share in Saturated Part 2.

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 🙂

So this is what May looks like!

Although moderate drought conditions still exist in Indian River County, the Vero Beach area set a few records last month for daily rainfall amounts.  As the old adage goes, April showers bring May flowers; nowhere is this more evident than in the gardens of Small house!

Backyard Overview,  May, 2012

View from the Screened Porch

 Lily Area, May 2012

Of all the plants I’ve grown or bought, lilies are my favorites. When we lived up north, our front yard was covered with any pink variety I could find, like this asiatic/trumpet hybrid:

Lily Scarlet Delight

Lily “Scarlet Delight”

Of three Scarlet Delight bulbs I planted last November, this one matured much quicker than the others; both are still in the foliage stage, and will (hopefully!) show buds by the end of the month. 🙂

Also in November, I planted 3 Blackberry Lily bulbs, whose tall, sword-shaped foliage you see in the lily area picture, next to Scarlet Delight.  Although they don’t look the part, blackberry lilies are members of the Iris family.  With foliage so strong and healthy, I’m expecting great things from these bulbs!  Pictures to follow, of course! 😉

The nicest garden surprise this month arrived two days ago when a Dietes Bicolor bud began to open:

Dietes BicolorDietes Bicolor fully open

Dietes Bicolor,  colloquially known as  “Butterfly Flags”  are also a form of Iris. The classmate who gave me this Apostle Plant  gave me two huge D. Bicolor clumps on Graduation Day. I had no idea how delicate and pretty they’d become! 🙂  Wow!

Another huge shock was a Caladium flower scape appearing overnight among the leaves:Caladium Carolyn Wharton with Flower Scape!

Some growers feel the emergence of caladium flowers impedes the plant’s leaf growth, and suggest snipping them the second you see one forming. 😮 I haven’t found diminished leaf development to be a problem but that may be a function of my tropical zone; your experience may differ! Nevertheless, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen a caladium flower in my lifetime—NO WAY would I nip one in the bud (so to speak!)

If you haven’t noticed my recent “Flower of the Month” (Opuntia Humifusa,) here’s another glimpse: a different prickly pear bloom is just about to open:

Prickly Pear and Amaryllis

Remember how terrible my orange tree looked a few months back?  Big changes there, and I’m so happy about it!  Take a look:

Honeybell Orange Tree

Lookin’ good…..

Honeybell Orange 2

….and feelin’ fine!

Jobe's Spikes!

You can easily tell where I pounded each spike! 🙂   And because there’s a section where the drip line of the orange tree intersects  that of the Hong Kong Orchid look what happened there:

Bauhinia Bloom out of season!

“What have you done to me, crazy lady!?!?”

🙂  Creepy!!!  Blooming 6 months out of season, and ONLY in the “spiked” section! Creepy again! 😉

So there you have it…One week into May and it’s a veritable Garden of Eden!  I’m definitely enjoying every minute of it!!  🙂

Until next time….