Weekly Photo Challenge: Up (and the Weekly View!)

This week’s photo challenge is almost TOO easy. :)

Everywhere I look, the plants are reaching up, up, up, like this ipomaea cairica (aka mile-a-minute) vine:

ipomaea cairica, 4/25/13

…..along with budding passiflora and upward facing sunflowers just starting to show their faces:

Passiflora vine and sunflowers, 4/25/13

….remember T. utriculata from my Weekly View posts?   Up, up and away is now an apt description, as its bloomspike breaks free of the orange-tree canopy. :)

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While I was looking up through the tree, I glimpsed a marvel of avian engineering, so apropos for today of all days!

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How perfect! Finding a mockingbird nest on John Jay Audubon’s birthday (birdday? ha!)

You never know what you’ll see when you start looking up!

Until next time…..

:) :) :)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

This week, WordPress asks us to share pictures in which color takes center stage. No problem!  My Neoregelias are coming into bloom, and more than happy to comply!

Neoregelia, 4/6/13

Neoregelias form a group of over 50 species and hybrid varieties within the larger family of bromeliads. Their rosette shaped, strappy leaves are usually green, maroon, or red with contrasting splotches/spots/stripes. When a plant comes into bloom, it assumes a flatter shape and the colors intensify, particularly inside the center “tank”

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Regardless of leaf color, neoregelia flowers are typically white or purplish-blue, opening a few at a time from a pad-like inflorescence within the center cup. Look closely at the next photo and you’ll see both structures:

Neoregelia in Bloom, 4/06/13

Two more flowers arrived this morning: :)   This is some serious color :!:

Neoregelia in Bloom, 4/09/13

I’ve written a few other posts about Broms/Neos. If you’d like to learn more about dividing/repotting, read Harvesting Bromeliads.  Curious about the science behind the bloom-time color flush of the hybrid Neos below? Click this one: When Succulents See Red.

Neoregelia, 4/07/13

until next time……

:) :) :)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details.

This week’s challenge asks that we choose a photo in which something gets lost in the details. To me, this means “hidden in plain sight,” but first I’ll give you the context and overview of the story.

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Off-camera to the left (in the photo above) sits a water spigot and potting table where most of my days begin. I typically fill a bunch of receptacles, then set about the gardens pouring drinks. ;)

On Sunday morning, I reached beyond the watering cans toward the hose and nearly had a stroke :!: A loooonnngggg  black snake rose out of a coil, stuck his forked tongue out and hissed at me!  I ran for the camera but just like the other 4x I’ve seen this reptile, it disappeared before I came back. This is one fast-moving snake!

However…..

It seems I wasn’t the only one jumping out of her skin from Sunday’s encounter.  Look what I saw on Monday!

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This molted skin was so well camouflaged, my brain barely processed what my eyes took in!  Definitely lost in the details!  Only after turning away did I think, “wait…was that…..?”  Yup!  A fresh molt from a Southern Black Racer, one of Florida’s most common, non-venomous snakes.  Here’s a different orientation of the shed skin, which measured 40″ long.  Typical adult length is 3-5′

Fresh skin shed from Black Racer Snake, 3/3/13

When cornered (as it was on Sunday) Black Racers will strike and bite….fast!  True to their name, they do everything from slithering to swimming to climbing at incredibly quick speeds. For further information I recommend reading the Black Snake area of the Nighbreeze website.

To see other bloggers’ interpretations of this week’s challenge, take a peek at the Zemanta provided links below!

Until next time…..

smileygardening21

Wordless Wednesday: January 9, 2013

Images from the vacant lot next door; this is where I’m (hopefully!) herding my moles!

syagrus romanzoffianum; 1/9/13

If you look closely, you’ll see the roofline of my house behind this Syagrus Romanzoffianum.

There are some beautiful abandoned pink hibiscus here too:

Pink Hibiscus, 1/9/13

That’s my fence on the lefthand side. Too bad the property doesn’t extend an extra foot or two! I often walk around for a closer look:

Pink Hibiscus, 1/9/13

Until next time…..

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

For this week’s photo challenge, WordPress asks that we share something delicate. Immediately, I thought of showing you one of my birthday gifts: Presents

 

Lancaster Glass Sunshine Pattern Platter

Since the millennium, I’ve amassed a nice collection of 100yr old glassware, with a special emphasis on pink.  Last week I was thrilled to receive this lovely, delicate  platter as a present from my mother; ( :) yup! I’m a Sagittarius…what’s YOUR sign!?!)

This new-to-me Depression Glass plate was produced circa 1932 by Lancaster Glass Company in pink, soft-green, and topaz.  Originally it was sold under the Sunshine pattern, but was renamed “Lana” in 1974.  The bottom of every Sunshine piece is made from clear glass in a cane-like pattern.  The rest of the item can either be clear (like mine) or satinized like this one.

For further information on Depression Glass (and a peek at a GREAT collection) visit Kejaba’s Treasure Store.

Until next time……

:) :)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change of Seasons

In my neck of the woods, Aloe flowerspikes scream Change of Season almost as much as cars with northern license plates! ;)  While puttering in my rear garden this morning, I noticed an Aloe Ciliaris  sporting a healthy looking inflorescense:

Aloe Ciliaris Flower Spike, 12/14/12

Like most aloes, A. Ciliaris hails from Africa (mine came from Target, though! ha! ;) ) When planted from seed, this vining climber grows FAST, but often takes 2-3 years to bear bright orange/red flowers. In their fully opened state, the flowers are approximately an inch long and tubular shaped, hanging in loose clusters from cone shaped racemes.

Until next time…..

:) :)

ps. You can visit other Change of Season interpretions via the Zemanta links below:

Wordless Wednesday: November 28, 2012

A while back, I ordered a winter-blooming grab bag from the conservatory collection at Glasshouseworks.com.  Among the plants I received, was this lovely Alternanthera Dentata Purple Knight, commonly known as Calico Plant or Joyweed.  I’ve never grown this zone 10 perennial before and was unsure how winter might affect it; I’m keeping it in a container for now, but despite cooler than normal nights, it seems to be flourishing!

alternanthera dentata purple knight 11/27/12

As you can see, the flowerbuds are progressing nicely. :)

Alternantha Dentata Purple Knight, 11/28/12

If you’d like to learn more about “Purple Knight,” I highly recommend a VERY humorous post called Practical Joker. ;)

For more Wordless Wednesday photos, click on the Zemanta links that follow!

Until next time…..

:) :) :)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

I took this picture on Sunday and thought it a perfect representation of solitary.

Solitary Jogger at Jaycee Beach

One second later and she’d have been gone!!! :)

This next image illustrates solitary gone awry….or said another way: when the hand of man interferes with the hand of God, strange things happen ;)

Mexican Donkey Ear Plantlets

See those little plantlets along the leaf margins?  Those are new Mexican Donkey Ear “daughters” coming out in force because I removed the original solitary new growth (note the notch near the leaftip.)   Not my brightest idea :arrow: sensing annhilation it just produced more!

Nature’s survival instinct outsmarted my desire for less of this succulent. ;)

Time for Plan B!

Until next time….

:)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Everyday Life

My everyday life is simple, small, and full of happiness. :)   I hope today’s pictures convey these feelings.

Living in Florida is like being on vacation 365 days a year…seriously!!!  Much of my everyday life is spent outdoors, with the ocean a preferred destination:

Sandcastle, Humiston Beach, Vero Beach, 3/17/12

In fact, one beach day last fall, I got wildly creative ;), carved my boys’ nickname in the eroded sandwall and texted this digital “postcard”

Skippy!

Skipppppyyyyyyy!!! Miss you both!!! :)

Like I said…..my everyday life is small! :lol:

I also enjoy spending time under the oaks at Riverside Park, Vero Beach’s premiere location for festivals, picnics, or dolphin watching on the Indian River

Under the oaks at Riverside Park, Vero Beach, 9/6/12But sometimes, the weather won’t cooperate, or I prefer to stay inside. When I’m home, scenes like this next one are typical of my everyday life:

Clarisse on the couch, March, 2012From the airy light in the parlor, to Clarisse on the back of the couch, everything about this picture makes me feel good! :)

Of course, cooking and eating are part of everyday life, too.  Occasionally, Maggie and I make dinners worthy of a photo:

Crab Quiche

Yum!!! Crab Quiche, my mother’s recipe, along with Maggie’s salad of spinach and peppers from our garden!  (I could lie and say we made the bread too, but that’s all Publix! ;))  This recipe is SO simple.

Crab Quiche Recipe IngredientsCrab Quiche Recipe Instructions

‘Twas quite the laugh preparing this meal!!!  Never underestimate how LONNNGGGG it takes to dice onions with 1 dull paring knife and steak knives from the Dollar Tree!We chopped and chopped and diced and chopped some more, adding bunch after bunch to a measuring cup that refused to fill up!!  Around 730pm my mother called to see how it turned out, and I was like, “Call back at midnight, we’re still chopping these damn onions!”   “What??!!” she asked incredulously,”you just buy them pre-diced at Publix…You didn’t know?!”

Obviously not!  :roll:

But as you see in the picture (taken at 1012pm!!! ha!!)  the finished product was wonderful and we had a lot of silliness over it!

My thinking is this :arrow: Everyday life can be boring and crappy or enjoyable and fun…it’s all in the attitude you bring to it!   :)

Until next time……

ps. Clicking on the recipe photos will enlarge them for easier reading!

Wordless Wednesday: Sept 19, 2012

Today’s Wordless Wednesday shows how FAST my Hylocereus Undatus has grown over the past 6 months.  In the intense heat of a Florida summer, the stem segments can put on 16″ in a fortnight!  With growth this rapid, how do we not see it as it happens!?! ;)

Let’s start with a picture taken on Monday, September 17 and work backwards:

Hylocereus Undatus, September 2012

On May 16, it looked VERY different:

Red Pitaya

:And this is how it looked on March 12, when I removed it from the original container and dug it in-ground:

Hylocereus Undatus, March 12, 2012

WOW!!  That looks downright small in comparison!!!

As an FYI,  I purchased this specimen in the Fall of 2011 and kept it as a container plant for 6mos before planting. Hylocereus usually flower/fruit after reaching age 2, so I suspect it will bud sometime next summer. :)

If you’d like to know more about this remarkable vining cactus, check out the University of Florida Miami/Dade Pitaya page.

To see other bloggers’ interpretations of Wordless Wednesday, click on any of the Zemanta provided links below!

Until next time…..

:) :)

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