The vanda and hibiscus are putting out their newest blooms.
Winter arrives in the Northern Hemisphere tomorrow evening (ET). The daylight will start getting longer.
Thanks to Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice for sharing the pictures of my backyard beauties with the wider world yesterday morning.
The chili pepper vanda is in bloom again. I must be doing something right by leaving them alone.
Question: Why do these birds remind me of a popular singer from the 1950’s?
Answer: Because they dine ashore.
Thanks, I’ll be here all week.
Despite my reputation as the Grim Reaper of Gardening — I can kill a geranium — I am able to keep orchids alive. You might remember that back in May I won an orchid at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden car show. It did okay in the kitchen window, but it became obvious that it needed to be liberated from its plastic container. I had an empty orchid hanging basket left over from a long-departed philodendron, so I cleaned it out, put some orchid bark in it, and moved the dendrobium out to a branch on the north side of a hibiscus where it will get some shaded sun and plenty of air and rain.
Let’s see how it does.
Somehow my old sprayer/nozzle vanished; I think that it either died and I threw it out or it got a better offer from another hose. Anyway, I stopped by Home Depot last weekend and picked up a new one. It’s very handy and puts out a spray that really blasts the dirt and schmutz off the patio.
And no, I didn’t buy it because it looks like something you’d pick up at the Miami’s Vice adult bookstore. But it does. (Yeah, I’m 12.)
So, what have you got growing in your garden?
I had some visitors late yesterday afternoon.
Gertrude Stein: “Pigeons on the grass, alas.”
Me: “Peacocks on the roof, aloof.”
This is not to neener, neener those of you covered in snow and ice. This is to remind you that spring and warm weather are coming.
Yesterday afternoon a pride of peacocks and a few ibises showed up in the back yard for lunch. I went to find my camera, but by the time I got back, they had left, leaving one last straggler. And by the time I was able to get him in focus, he took off, too. So here’s a photo from a couple of years ago when the subject was kind enough to pose for me.
When I was growing up in Ohio, we had a lot of bird feeders in the yard, and according to my mom and dad, they still do at their new place in Cincinnati. Up north the birds really go for it because the snow and winter cut back on their food supply, but even here in Florida a lot of people feed the birds… and the squirrels, too. (We have fought the good fight with the pesky little rodents who are basically rats with good p.r. There’s a thriving business in coming up with the ultimate squirrel-proof bird feeder. Some are rather ingenious, involving weighted doors and menacing spikes. And some people have surrendered and put out feeders for them.)
I don’t actively feed the birds here in my yard; nature has provided an abundant supply of insects and flowering plants, and every day I see a parade of ducks, ibises, peacocks, mockingbirds, wrens, and even the occasional cardinal and jay come by for a meal. I’ve also seen at least one vulture drop in to clean up after a canal-side casualty. (Vultures travel light; they only have a little carrion….)
So tell me; do you feed the birds in your neighborhood? Who shows up?
It’s the time of year here in South Florida where the heat and humidity drop down to tolerable levels: the Dry Season is coming in. The patio door is open and the gentle breeze is scented with blooming hibiscus.
That means you can go outside and take a walk to the end of the front walk without breaking a sweat. As we always say, it’s not the heat — it never gets over 98F — it’s the humidity. Right now it’s 88F with 49% humidity. Still a little high, but nothing compared to the middle of August when it seemed like the temperature and the humidity were both in the 90’s.
This will last until the middle of May. It’s one of the reasons I like living here, and why a lot of other people from other places where it gets cold like to visit — and spend money. Let me know if you’re one of them.
As I’ve noted here on previous occasions, I’m not much of a gardener. I tried several times, but I get it: I’m just not good at it. So living in Florida, surrounded by bucolic wonders, I tend to let nature take its course.
That said, here we are in the middle of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, so I’m sure a lot of you have your gardens going full tilt. Feel free to share, and if you want, send me a picture or two to post.
Just like the story by Robert McCluskey, I have a family of ducks living under a tree in the front yard. As I was going out to dinner last night, they made their way across the lawn to the canal for an early evening swim and dinner.