I don't grow orchids. I just happen to have a couple of plants that either someone gave me or that I purchased for indoors. When they finish blooming I put them outside mostly because I can't bear to throw them away. The white orchid has another stalk of white and a purple friend this week. I posted a photo of the white orchid (I just looked back to find the link) on September 1st. My, oh my, the bloom is lasting a long time. They are a bright spot on the back patio.
It's hard to believe November is almost gone. Thanksgiving is almost here. That means Christmas is almost here. AND 2009 is almost here. Wasn't I just in Tennessee ushering in this beautiful autumnal month?
This particular November has been, without a doubt, one of the prettiest Novembers in a long, long time. I'm speaking in terms of weather ----well, my part of Florida anyway--- I can hear the northerners way up yonder in the panhandle groaning because of the cold. When the cold from Canada pushes its way south it doesn't usually push hard enough to affect us this early. It hardly happens in December. But this November it has. And that means it has been unseasonably cool (cold, to some even) all the way down here.
What that 'prettiest November description' translates to is day after pretty day with crystal clear blue skies, low humidity (saying Yippee!), afternoons with plenty of delicious softly-angled sunshine, brilliant sunsets and calm evenings.
With the early cold snap my neighbor's maple tree has actually turned colors at the tippy top this week. There are some years the leaves never change. Very fun to see from my back porch and family room.
Buzz of Bees Makes Me Smile
This beautiful Sunday afternoon was so perfect I spent most of it puttering in the garden. No heavy duty gardening. Just watering, adding soil to some containers, dead heading a few things, moving a few containers around ... the easy stuff that makes for a really relaxing time.
The sound of buzzing bees was a quick reminder of the mild climate we are blessed with here. Today in the mid 60's. They are still daily scurrying about from flower to flower. The lantana seems to be the central gathering place for so many flying critters these days. Probably because it is in a sunny corner. The cold has nipped the edges of the leaves just a bit but the flowers are still thriving.
It didn't take long and I was putting down the hose to pick up my camera. Skippers a-plenty basking in the sunshine along with the bees. There were monarchs and sulphurs today, too. They were playing back and forth from my yard to my neighbor's. Everytime I put the camera down to finish watering they showed up right next to me. Maybe next time my timing will be better.
And Birdies, Too
There were the usual little birdies congregating in the Ligustrum japonicum tree.Very rapidly the chickadees and titmice come to light on the feeder and take the one seed they've plucked out back up into the tree to eat it.
Much to my delight a new (to me and my garden) bird had joined the party in the dense cover of the Ligustrum tree. At least if this one has been here before I've never spotted it. I think it is a yellow-throated warbler. I apologize the photo isn't great. It didn't come out into the open to pose for me for some reason...very attractive little fellow and small like its playmates. It never did venture to the feeders. Maybe its new in town and just making friends, for now, with the regulars.
Flowers to go Along with the Soft Sun
Jatropha blooms caught my eye especially today. I'm particularly fond of the red blooms that attract the zebra longwing butterflies and the cassius blues by the swarms. These make great backdrop trees and I can't think of a month in the year when they don't have some blooms on them. This one is probably 15 feet tall now. It started out in a planting bed up close to the back porch. I had no idea when I moved it to the back forty how tall it would get. I'm glad. It's in a good place to grow.
At its feet the Scarlet Milkweed pods have begun to burst open. There are still blooms on the plant as well. But don't you just love the silky softness of the traveling seeds?
Birds from Last Week
This photo isn't from today. I took it last week. These shy grey titmice are so sweet looking with their big, perfectly round, brown eyes and their tufted heads so perky and bright.
Also taken last week and also new to me. I spotted this little guy from the back eating a worm in the veggie garden. I knew immediately that I had not ever seen one here before. It's a grey catbird. They are very common in north Florida. I don't really know about here. They forage on the ground mostly.
Vegetable Garden Update
Speaking of the veggie garden. We are eating green beans, pole beans, carrots and radishes from the fall garden so far. So very yummy. I'm thinking of the green beans and carrots I gathered yesterday and came straight into the house to sautee in garlic and olive oil with a hint of freshly grated ginger. Oh. So. Delightful.
I do hope everyone is being very thankful as we enter this week of Thanksgiving. I am feeling very grateful for all the blessings in my life. Feeling grateful is good for the soul.