Blue Skies At Home

Since Hurricane Ian cut his way through Florida, we’ve had beautiful blue skies, less humidity, and no rain. For several days we even had highs in the 70’s. It felt like winter. I always say the change from the wet season to the dry season is like a switch is flipped.  Today’s photos are beautiful views of blue skies from my yard here in central Florida.  Enjoy!

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Early October Garden

A hibiscus flower usually has five petals (a single hibiscus). Thanks to modern cultivation techniques, some varieties can produce flowers with more than five petals – called “double hibiscus” – in a dazzling array of colors, sizes, and shapes

This last week hasn’t been one with drives or walks to enjoy nature. These photos are from the archives of my garden in a past October. In the present, there is still debris in the yard and several plants are looking tired from all the flapping in the wind from Hurricane Ian. Within a few weeks, it will be back to normal and I’ll share newer photos. Let’s take a look at the tropical double red hibiscus with its multi-layered ruffles.

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Sundown The Night Before Hurricane Ian

I must say thank you to all who contacted me about my safety during the hurricane. It is Thursday morning and I still have electricity. Yeah! Currently 43,000 people in my county are without power according to the news. I was very lucky. I had over a day of rain and wind, but nothing like poor Sarasota County. They had storm surge of almost 20 feet. Lots of flooding all around the storm’s path. Today the storm continues its path past Orlando to Daytona and then who knows. This morning the wind is like 40 miles an hour in my area and will decrease to normal this afternoon. Then I will open my front door and go into the yard to look around. It really doesn’t matter if limbs or debris are in the yard. I just pray all my neighbors are well. It’s amazing how stir crazy it feels when you know you can’t open the door or go outside. I will only move the sandbags by the front door. There are more tropical storms out there and hurricane season will not be over until November. I’ll celebrate November by moving the sandbags in front of my garage door and side door. I’ll bring them into the garage. Now I have photos to share.

By Tuesday afternoon, I was inside my home which was surrounded with sand bags on all exits. The chairs and table from the porch were all in the garage as well as the garbage cans. My car was parked next to Vickie’s house which is higher ground than mine. As we say in Florida, I was hunkered down. I had plenty of water and finger food. I wasn’t leaving my home until the storm passed. In the early evening as the sun set, I saw beautiful colors in the sky. These photos were take from my new sliding doors in the dining area. Remember I couldn’t open the door without messing up the sandbags. They are placed against a closed door.

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Colorful Crotons in The Fall

Croton is a tropical plant known for its variegated foliage covered in green, scarlet, orange, and yellow splotches. Crotons are native to the tropical forests of southeast Asia and Oceania. In the wild, they grow as large shrubs, reaching up to 10 feet tall. It is not hardy and frost will kill it. It was introduced in Europe and the USA as a colorful houseplant loved for its bright, colorful foliage.  It can be grown outside in tropical climates like Florida.

Years ago I moved from Tennessee to greater Miami. It was like a dream with the ocean and warm climate. One of the first things I discovered were neighborhoods filled with crotons. I didn’t know what they were, but I loved them.

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Periwinkle in the Fall

Vinca is a genus of flowering plants in the family Apocynaceae, native to Europe, northwest Africa and southwest Asia. The English name periwinkle is shared with the related genus Catharanthus.

September in central Florida is still bright, sunny, and hot. The high temperatures are a little lower than August, but it still gets in the 90’s. We continue to have almost daily showers in the evening as fronts filled with moisture come ashore from the Gulf of Mexico.

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Visit to Glacier National Park, Montana

Today’s photos are shared by my nephew and his wife, James and Heather. They celebrated their 10th Anniversary with a trip out west to Glacier National Park in Montana’s Rocky Mountains. Glacier National Park is a 1,583-sq.-mi. wilderness area with glacier-carved peaks and valleys running to the Canadian border. It’s crossed by the mountainous Going-to-the-Sun Road. Among more than 700 miles of hiking trails, it has a route to photogenic Hidden Lake. Other activities include backpacking, cycling and camping. Diverse wildlife ranges from mountain goats to grizzly bears

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Fire Bush Taking Over

Firebush is a perennial or semi-woody shrub that is known scientifically as Hamelia patens. Gardeners love firebush because it produces flowers from late spring until the first frost, and the bright red flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, including the zebra longwing and gulf fritillary butterflies. Song birds also like to feed on the berries.

Back when I first started planning my garden and adding native Florida plants, I bought a small fire bush plant. It loves the sun, thrives in the central Florida’s rainy season, and survives dry periods. That little bush became huge and took lots of time trying to cut it back and to control it. In the last few years, I am not physically able to do many things I used to do. I had a good yard guy who helped me maintain the yard. I lost him two years ago and have struggled trying to find help I can afford. I found a new guy to mow the lawn. Lots of people do that, but his full-time job is maintaining the local elementary school. He doesn’t have time to do many other projects. I have a plan to cut back the gardens to a smaller areas. As I mentioned the other week, I have found a gentleman to do landscaping projects.

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