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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Making Summer Memories That Count

"Grandmother is a state of grace, a chance to be a child again, to be whimsical, to dance, to sing, to explore, to believe, and to scatter your love, like glistening drops of warm spring rain, onto your grandchildren."
Sharon Lovejoy

One of the most glorious parts of summertime is having more time with the grandbabies. None of which are babies in the slightest way anymore with the youngest one being 4 years old.

Extended stays at Mimi's and Papa's are calendared once school ends to be sure we have longer, uninterrupted days together ~~ especially with the two older ones. Randomly visits are a result of whims and wishes and spur of the moment requests.

Our doors are always open ~~however they get here is just fine with us.

This time of year butterflies are as much a part of the garden as the plants. Drawn by bright colors and the nectar they seek and often times their host plants we get very used to sharing our outdoor experiences with them.

Children are equally as fascinated with them as adults. They sure do provide easy conversation for young, bright minds to engage in learning the processes of life in a garden.

And sharing the Agastache 'Black Adder' are all sorts of flying critters. Some we can identify and some we don't. One thing for sure is that with summertime temps all sorts of God's creatures can be 'seen' and 'heard' all over the garden. And smart little minds and hearts are very keen to 'listening' as well as 'seeing'. Always they are eager to identify and determine which are harmful or helpful. These are good things to know when pouncing about the garden.

What excitements have been stirred as we've discovered so many caterpillars in every stage.

Passion vine, parsley, bronze fennel and dill all being chewed to pieces as host plants.

Everyday lessons from the garden full with the journey that growing habits of each creature affords and the meaning of transformation being understood in deeper ways.

Dragonflies have been overly abundant this year. This being my own observation with absolutely no science involved. But I've asked around and other gardeners in this area agree. There hasn't been a definitive reason why but we are certain the increase in numbers is not just our imagination.

Every imaginable color, too. My littlest fellow helped me take a photo of this golden beauty.

He is my 'number one bug finder' and 'curious mind for all things buggy' extraordinaire. He thrills at the sight of a bug we haven't seen yet. "Mimi, get your camera. I found a bug."

Without the magnification of the camera lens this miniscule spider appeared to have only four legs. But we knew it couldn't be so because "spiders have EIGHT legs."

This from a four year old.

There is something about water ~~ any source of water ~~ that draws children to touch it/ feel it/play with it if possible. An easily accessible faucet in the back garden provides a watering source for both plantlife and the humans who tend it. What starts out as "Can I help you water, Mimi?" often turns into wet shoes and clothes. In summertime when every living thing is steamy and hot it matters not.

Empty water bottles re-filled with water and dirt over and over again makes for many minutes of entertainment while Mimi gets some actual gardening accomplished.

Lots of toad frogs doing their helpful deeds. Hoping they are enjoying the abundance of slugs and snails offered in every border.

Not our favorite critters but frustratingly frequent visitors. Armadillos have wreaked their fair share of mayhem in the summer garden. These smaller ones haven't been taught very well yet. They shouldn't be out in broad daylight. Their youthful inexperience does make it easy to see how they bury their noses deep into the soil and then tunnel around searching out worms and other crawly fare.

Mimi doesn't like anything about them but the kiddos think its great to see them scamper as they run through the pathways and surprisingly discover the night creatures are out during the day.

Summer is for taking advantage of relaxed school schedules and creating memories that make a difference in every heart. The garden offers a perfect resource and naturally accommodates curious and investigative young souls. What a blessing it is to have the privilege of being such an integral part of our grandchildren's lives. They make our hearts sing and our world spin with joy!
Shhhh... all three of them are still sound asleep after long days of swimming, board games, golf, scrapbooking, and simply laughing until we can't breathe.


  1. Memories to last a lifetime.!!

  2. What a wonderful time you have with your little helper. Learning so much! We are also blessed with many, many dragonflies and damselflies -- so much so, that I really need to educate myself more on these amazing little helicopters. It's also easy to count 20+ swallowtail butterflies per butterfly bush! The air is filled with swallowtails right now.

    The armadillos are cute, just like deer and bunnies. :-)

  3. Our grandchildren are getting older and older - the youngest are 12 - but it is always a joy to have them out here in the country, looking at things a little differently.

  4. Meems: Sounds like you are having precious summer time with your grandchildren. I am sure that will create wonderful memories in their minds. Until today, I still remember the summer time my sister and I spent at my grandparents places. We got to be closer to the nature in all those summer days, probably one of the reasons why now I am into the gardening!

    You are right about the dragonflies population of this year. I can see so many dragonflies everyday in my garden, become one of my most favorite garden critters!

    Happy summer!

  5. Dear Meems, The garden is indeed an outdoor classroom without, as you say, the rigid structure of a school timetable but instead with all the joys of exploration and discovery. Children do take notice of the most extraordinary things, I am sure that they have given you an entirely different perspective on life during your summer times together. Happy days!

  6. It is fun, to be a grandmother, isn't it. And, to instill the love of nature...memories, that indeed do count.

  7. What a wealth of creatures! And, it seems, of summertime grandmotherly magical memories. There's absolutely nothing like seeing the world through the new eyes of the young.

  8. Forgot to add ... the armadillos look kind of sweet in a goofy way. Its tough to imagine them creating havoc!

  9. Hi Meems...Glad to see you're back. What wonderful memories you're creating for your grandchildren and I'll bet when they're adults they'll not only remember your garden but will have one of their own, as well.

    I have to agree with you that dragonflies are in abundance this summer...even more so than butterflies in my garden.

  10. How right you are Meems. Grandmothering is the BEST. Funny, I just posted today about MY grandkids. Sharing the garden with them is the most fun. Your critter pictures are really fun to see. I'm needing more practice with taking those close-up and personal shots. Knowing your grandkids are learning about God's creatures (six spider legs) is very rewarding I'm sure. Memories are being made that will last a lifetime for them AND you.

  11. What a lucky Mimi you are. Your Grands are very blessed too.

  12. meems....i love the quote from sharon lovejoy....i might use it seeing as i am a new grandmother again.
    it is so nice to be able to teach our grands what we love. there are so many life lessons in the garden. i am missing my garden so much while i am away but i will have many years to come. i love seeing all your wonderful critters enjoying the blooms and greens.
    can't wait to visit in a week or so. love and hugs.

  13. What a beautiful look into the lives of some very lucky grandchildren and their equally lucky grandmother. Lovely, truly, photos and sentiments!

  14. It is such a joy to read your blog and enjoy Florida gardening and nature through your lens.

  15. Glad you get to spend so much time with the grandbabies. Cool pix of the armadillos! I'm in your area and I've noticed more frogs and dragonflies this summer than usual.

  16. Your garden is a great playground and a fun educative place for the kids!

  17. What a keeper that photo of your grandson is. Just wonderful! And you are so right about kids and water; I don't have any grandchildren (hey, I think I'm barely old enough to be a mother, despite evidence to the contrary!), but just last week my almost 24-year-old son got out his microscope and took some water from the lake to examine.

  18. Thank you everyone for your kind comments. I am amazed at how time flies. First with your own kids then the grands growing up SO fast. The garden DOES provide a natural classroom and children have a way of drawing out good lessons from all of life. We have had a blast this summer ~~~ they are at great ages to enjoy every activity to the fullest.

  19. Nothing like spending time with grandchildren Meems! Good for us, and good for them too, not to mention good for the parents to get a break.

    We've had tons of dragon flies and butterflies this year - far more than usual. They're so beautiful, and add such life and interest to gardening. It's so much fun observing children interacting with wildlife in the garden.


Have a blessed day,

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