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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.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Comfort and Joy

With only days left before Christmas bits and pieces of to-do lists are still being crossed off each day... a few stocking stuffers to pick up, menus to finalize and groceries to buy, presents to wrap, goodies to bake, friends and family gatherings to attend, kids to watch (so parents can get their stuff finished), and so it goes... add THAT to all the normal stuff that doesn't stop just because it's Christmas.

No matter how many years I've been doing this and no matter how organized I am there are moments of anxiety that creep in.

What to do? What to do?

Get thee to the garden. Right in the midst of the craziness. Because stressful is NOT how I want to define my Christmas preparations. So (I think) I've finally learned. When I start to feel frenzy colliding with peace in my heart and chipping away at the real purpose of Christmas... I take some time to breathe. I do the thing that makes no sense whatsoever. I stop everything. I shift my focus even if only for a few short moments.

Sometimes it's just a matter of walking around the garden pausing to notice the little things, to deeply smell the fresh air or to feel the warm sunshine on my face.

If I want to really relax I take my camera with me. I can completely lose track of everything that is conflicting in my heart when I start taking photos.

There's so much of God's remarkable handiwork to be seen in nature. Just look at the shape of this flower. Brilliant colors of red and green that, in comparison, dim any electric Christmas lights.

We really have had a picture-perfect December in Florida. And our Christmas is predicted to a warm one.

Vibrant red Powder Puff Shrub (Calliandra haematocephala) reflects natural Christmas cheer. Butterflies and pollinators cannot resist its magical beauty.

Paperwhites planted in the ground in November have already sprouted with so much warm weather abounding this month.

Portadora alocasia continue to add drama to the berm pushing out new green leaves in their giant-sized proportions. Leave it to them to keep us feeling ever so tropical right into winter.

One thing I notice about this time of year is how the sun shines extremely clear but softer and the skies are crisp blue. In contrast to the brightness created by the streams of light through the trees, the shadiest places in the garden are more intensely dark.

Christmas cactus must have a signal built-in triggering the time to shower us with the colors of Christmas. Adorned with beauty that can't be reproduced by anything man-made.

The butterfly garden is around the corner from the circle garden seating. I can see much of the fluttering activity from my back lanai where I'm sitting right now writing this post. But I have to tell ya ... walking out there to stand in the midst of it is distinctly revitalizing.

I've seen some monarchs laying eggs recently but didn't realize we had some caterpillars. Don't worry there are plenty of milkweed leaves left even though this little fellow is sleeping on a dried up flower pod.

Bleeding heart (Clerodendrum thomsoniae) vine has a way of stealing mine before its pink buds open.

And also when they do ... revealing the bright cheery red inside.

Every thought of rushing around and feeling hurried subsides at noticing the tiny creatures laboring for their daily sustenance.

Remarkable critters with features so fine and fragile. I often ponder the delightful way their instinctive habits offer the simplest entertainment.

And now I'll just be still and share with you a few of the butterflies in my garden that gracefully move about their days.

All is calm. All is bright after my walk through the garden. The wonders of it take me to a peaceful place time and again no matter what events swirl around me.

I hope you'll take some time to pause. Breathe in your own garden or whatever nature is around you this week.

I wish you the merriest of Christmases! Comfort and Joy!

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


  1. Wishing you aMerry christmas and a Happy New year

  2. What a lovely post in sentiment and pictures. Going out into the garden proves to release stress for me too.

    Your home looks lovely decorated for Christmas.

    Have a wonderful Christmas and a great 2012.


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  4. Merry Christmas to you Meems and wishing you the happiest of New Years!!!

    Haven't had much time in the garden lately...the "part time" job is definitely interfering with it. Your blog continues to be a delight : )

  5. What fun photos love the color and tropicals it is snowing here in Utah! Love your blog just found you see we have a lot in common you should check out my blog and
    follow if you like

    I always FOLLOW back :)

  6. Beautiful color and decoration inside and out :-) Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  7. Isn't it wonderful how the garden does it's own Christmas decorating?

    Have a very happy Christmas.

  8. Loving the reason for the season and the gardens grace keeps grounding us again and again. Merry Christmas Meems and family.

  9. I do the exact same thing....I just disapear from the stress and take a stroll through the garden...aren't we lucky here in Florida...ahhhhh...Thanks for sharing

  10. I know just how you feel when snapping photos in the garden. Nothing more relaxing and yet focused.

    Your garden is lovely. We were surprised to see caterpillars recently in our garden too!

  11. What delightful peacefulness there is in your beautiful garden. Enjoyed the gorgeous and inspiring photography. Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful holiday.

  12. Beautiful pictures! Thank you so much for sharing your gardens. Hope you and your family have a very blessed Christmas!

  13. I am going to go outside today and walk in my garden. Merry Christmas and a very Happy new Year to you!

  14. Christmas blessings to you and your family!

  15. Thank you all for the Merry Christmas wishes and kind comments. We are all set for some holly-jolly family times this weekend. I am so grateful for each one of you. I wish you each the very best Christmas and New Year. God bless you and your families. I'm taking a walk in the garden in a few minutes ... it might not happen again until after the celebrations... gotta do it while there's a few moments in between cakes going into the oven. :-)

  16. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Cynthia. If your photos tell the story then it was absolutely beautiful.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway