Why Decorate?

dsc_0397

After being away on a trip, we returned home to see the neighbors had put up their Christmas lights.  As we pulled into our drive, I caught a glimpse of glowing rose colors lighting up the front beds.

dsc_0408

It took a second to realize that we had not decorated and the landscape lights were hitting the ShiShi Camellias causing them to light up.

dsc_0402

So why decorate? Nature is providing its own Christmas display.  The hollies are loaded with berries.

dsc_0412

Red climbing roses have decked out a tree.

dsc_0403

Cannas are covered in glowing reds

dsc_0405

and also have formed their own round ornaments.


Mourning Dove

dsc_0232

Doves have never been a favorite bird of mine.  I don’t like the sounds they make and they sit in the feeder leaving droppings, not politely hanging their tails over the edge as the other birds do.

But while testing out a lens for my camera, I took a photo of a Mourning Dove and blew it up for a closer look.  I was surprised to see the blue ring around its eye which also continued on the beak.  The Dove’s wings also look shimmery in the photo.

I did some research to find out that Mourning Doves are monogamous and both parents care for their young.  They can have up to six broods of two a year.  Maybe after a closer look, I will think of them more kindly.


Passion Flower Update

dsc_0353

In a recent post, I had documented how the Gulf Fritillary caterpillars ate all the leaves off my Passion Flower Vine.  Many readers told me the leaves would grow back and they did.  But just enough to feed one hungry caterpillar.  On the top leaves are eggs that may be future caterpillars.

dsc_0343

Some of the caterpillars got enough to eat and were able to make a chrysalis.  I think they look like little hanging bats.

dsc_0344

Here is the back view of another chrysalis.  Some of them have survived and transformed into butterflies. Now I have quite a few Gulf Fritillaries sunning themselves and feeding on Fall blooming flowers.


A Confederate Rose Cutting

dsc_0295

The Confederate Rose (Hibiscus mutabilis) is one of my favorite Fall bloomers.

dsc_0299

I was trimming my Confederate Rose and decided to stick some of the cuttings into my rooting pot.  They rooted in no time, which is why in the South, they  are great Passalong plants.  It is nice to imagine friends and family sharing their plants with each other as the population moved west.

dsc_0303

As I already had a large Confederate Rose, I was not that interested in another one, so I stuck the cutting in a broken plastic pot filled with old dirt. Basically, it looked like a big stick in a pot.

dsc_0307

It grew well and rewarded me with its gorgeous flowers.  If you follow my blog, you know I can’t get enough of them.

Here are some photos of the Confederate Rose as it turned from morning white to dark pink in the evening.


Flashback Friday

DSC_0044

In this part of the country we rarely have a colorful display of Fall leaves, but many shrubs begin to bloom this time of year and it is time to plant cool weather annuals for continuous winter color.

Enjoy this flashback to Blooming Shrub for Autumn.


Good News, Bad News

dsc_0049

I was very happy when my Passion Flower finally bloomed after having no flowers for years.

dsc_0225

I was thrilled when the Gulf Fritillary Butterflies laid eggs and caterpillars appeared on the the Passion Flower Vine.

And of course, the good news is that there are lots of butterflies in the garden.

dsc_0275

The bad news is that there are too many caterpillars for one plant and they have eaten almost all the leaves from the only vine I have.


The Return

img_4765

While working knee deep in the middle of an overgrown bed, shadows came over me.

img_4768

I looked up and saw a large flock of American While Pelicans.  They have returned to the area to spend the winter. Of course, I only had my phone to snap some photos and there were many more birds in the sky than I was able to photograph.  Typically, they seems to take a morning fly to stretch their wings, but usually only a few are in the flocks.

img_4773

The American White Pelican breeds in fresh water lakes in the Northern Great Plains and returns to the Gulf Coast in the winter to enjoy the warm water.