Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sunsets by the Sea

I've always been drawn to a beautiful beach. And I've always been fascinated by sunsets. So I take many of my vacations at the shore. Whether it be a salt water shore or a fresh water shore, it doesn't really matter. Just give me the beach!
We just returned from a trip to Marco Island off the southwest shore of Florida. This peaceful little spot is very beautiful, and very relaxing. My goal during our trips there is to catch the sunset at the beach every night. But we had a bit of rain this time, so I didn't make it to sunset every single night, but almost!
A sunset is a beautiful thing, no matter where you are. But if I stand with my feet in the warm waters of the gulf of Mexico while watching one, it's even more incredible.
As lovely as these shots may be, there is no way to fully grasp the beauty until you are standing right there. It's something about the way that the whole sky is involved.
On Marco, the sunset beauty isn't just confined to the western sky. It always seems to wrap itself all around us, from north, south, and east too.
Autumn in the tropics is often rainy and stormy, and while the weather was not perfect, I think it actually made the sunsets even prettier. Seriously, I've never seen pink rain before!
Because the weather is so mild, many restaurants don't even bother having such things as windows and doors. For instance, this lovely sunset was captured right from my seat, while eating dinner and enjoying a glass of wine.
For this beach side sunset, I did have to leave my dinner seat and walk out onto the beach. But it wasn't exactly a chore.
Now I'm back home, and there isn't a palm tree or beach to be found. But the sun still sets! It's just not the same without a beach there to set it off.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Busy September

The month of September is busy in my garden, and I don't even have to be there. You see, it isn't me that's busy. It's all the little visitors that come here in late summer. The butterflies, moths, skippers, bees, wasps, and flies all seem to arrive at once. It feels so good to see them here, because then I know that my garden is a safe zone for wildlife.
There are still some flowers to enjoy here and there. I did lose a few to the drought, but I know that those that remain are a hardy lot. These diehards will be the basis of my new garden technique. I will no longer assume that rain will fall in summer. Instead, I'll expect it to only be hot and dry, and plant accordingly. I'm trying to convince hubby to take the same approach with the lawn, but I'm not sure he's on board.
 I hear this refrain from many other garden bloggers this year. No more prima donnas will be allowed in the garden. Well, except for my roses. I don't consider them prima donnas anyway, like so many others do.
Any new members of my garden will have to be ever so dependable, like Sedum Autumn Joy. This one will never let you down. It doesn't need water, it doesn't need care, and it attracts every pollinator in town. Sometimes you can't even count how many insects are on it at once.
I do love to see praying mantis in my garden. After all, they are considered a beneficial insect, eating up some of the bad bugs. But I'm not sure I like where this guy has set up camp on the aforementioned sedum. I think he means to make a meal of the various pollinators that come by.
But it's nature's way, and I won't disturb him. He and his nearby pregnant wife are welcome in my garden, anytime!
 All the busy bees and bugs are so very welcome here, in September or any time! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's The Little Things

It's early September, and the extreme drought and heat have faded just enough to wake up my sleeping garden. During the worst of the drought, there wasn't much to see. Now some little gems are peeking out for me to enjoy. For instance the tiny "white" sunflowers are in bloom, finally. They were supposed to be large and white, but somehow I don't think yellow sunflowers that are only one foot tall are quite the same.
My black eyed susan vines had withered away to almost nothing after growing only a few inches high. Now suddenly, one little flower appeared. It's not exactly going to make a big impact in my garden, but it's still cute.
Autumn sage recently came to my garden, and I'm enjoying the tiny bright pink blossoms. Hopefully next year they will put on a much bigger show. I've seen them planted in the median of a nearby city, thriving with no care whatsoever, so I figured I could count on them.
I thought the bicolor buddliea was a goner during the drought, but not only has it put on new leaves, it is starting to bloom again.
The world's most pitiful rose bush has put out one single lavender bloom scented so very sweetly. This is Angel Face. 
Black and Blue salvia finally starting blooming. I overwinter this in the basement every year since I'm pushing its zone. Love it!
Here's another one that spends all winter in the basement, because it's an annual here. It's Mona Lavender
Plectranthus, and it doesn't bloom until late summer. It only has one or two blooms right now, but hopefully it will keep on going until it's covered in flowers.
Even Phlox Nicky decided to come out of retirement and put out two little blossoms.
And after two years sitting in the garage, we finally installed the pretty white birdhouse on its pole.
Sometimes, it's the little things that really make me smile!