2020 – Something New or a Continuation?

Does entering a new year mean new beginnings for you or does it mean a continuation with a new number? The latter is true for me. I spent Christmas week dog-sitting for friends, which meant I was alone for the holidays (except for the dog, who loved to carry my slippers around!). It made me feel like I missed Christmas completely.

Dog sitting at Christmas with a yellow lab

In my much younger years, I did look at January as an exciting beginning to what may end up being a happy new year – after I got over my hangover! I stayed up until midnight to say good-bye to the previous year and to be awake for the first moments of the year to come. I guess being young was what gave me hope for the future. Now I am in bed at nine.

Continue reading “2020 – Something New or a Continuation?”

Cyber Monday Once Again

Because I sell online, Cyber Monday gives me some hope for an increase in income. Realistically, the competition for sales means this is unlikely.

Getting ready and designing for the holiday season begins for me in June. In fact, I sell holiday themed items year round. Sales do pick up around September and of course now that it is December (am I the only one who thinks it came super fast?) sales are bustling.

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Around the Yard at The End of July

I just bought a new iPhone XR and wanted to try out the camera so I took a quick walk around the yard this evening. The no-see-ums were brutal so it was a quick photo shoot. Not all photos were taken with the new camera.

My caladiums are doing well. The white-leafed variety is not looking so good, but the red looks nice. Did you know they come back each year after winter?

red leafed caladiums
Caladium with red leaves

My bromeliad is shooting off some new little babies. I already started two new plants from this one and it looks like I will have more.

Bromeliads
Bromeliad with “babies”

The hot house hydrangea, which I planted in the garden, is doing very well! It is in the shade most of the day and I think that helps a lot. I just cut off the dead blooms to find new flowers hidden among the greenery.

hydrangea shrub
The hydrangea shrub is doing well!

The swallowtail butterfly has been busy laying her eggs on my fennel plant and I counted 40 worms, in all stages, crawling on the stems and chowing down on the flowers. The cardinals have grabbed some, but many remain. I hope some of them survive to become butterflies.

swallowtail worm
This worm will become a Swallowtail butterfly if it survives the cardinal attacks

Along the back hedge I spotted this pretty white flower which looks quite exotic. I believe it is an invasive species (it’s Florida, what else is new?) called the Japanese Honeysuckle. On the other side of the house I have the invasive Brazilian Pepper plant growing like mad.

Florida invasive species Japanese Honeysuckle
Japanese Honeysuckle?

The frogs were napping in their usual spot on top of my front door light. They make an awful mess, pooping all over the place. At night they travel over the window, front door and walls catching bugs.

If you look closely you can see the head of the third frog in the lower left of the photo. They are literally piled on top of each other. I believe this is an invasive species of frog which has killed off the beautiful green tree-frogs that used to be plentiful in Florida. I don’t know if these are Cuban tree frogs, but our outdoor security camera captured a possum climb the wall and snatch a frog off the light in the back yard! I also find dead frogs in the yard, so something is after them. The University of Florida has a page about frogs comparing the unwanted invaders with the cute green tree frogs which I never see these days.

frogs sleeping the day away
Frogs on my front light

Of course my two cats followed me all around the yard. They love having my company outdoors and since it’s usually too hot, I don’t do much outside with them. Below is Skittle who is always interested when I am pulling weeds.

Skittle the cat
Skittle

Beautiful Fontana is my older cat but she loves to be outside as well. Both cats spend most of their day sleeping outdoors even though it is extremely hot this time of year. I am home, and always let them in to cool off and fill their bellies, but they usually go right back out.

Fontana
Fontana

So that is my yard at the end of July. When we get through the next two months I will feel better. Nights will become cooler and I look forward to having a fan in the window at night. Aside from cutting the grass, not much is getting done in the yard. My vegetable garden is producing nothing much and my citrus trees are doing very poorly. I keep the bird bath filled and enjoy watching the birds that come to eat bugs and take baths.

Are We Gardening Yet?

Anyone thinking about gardening yet? If you love getting your hands into the dirt like I do, then I’ll bet you are dreaming of seeing green now that Spring is on the horizon.

Somewhere under the mounds of snow are my hydrangea shrubs.  I long to see how my new little cutting from last year is doing.  I planted next to the steps and it was my fist try and propagating a hydrangea.

It can be a long wait to see our garden beauties again, but they somehow manage to come back looking just as lovely year after year (with perhaps a few broken stems) despite the igloos they inhabit in winter. I had noticed that the main, large shrub had another off-shoot, or new little plant growing up beside it last summer, but I never got around to digging it up. I plan to do that this year, but I’ll have to check with my landlady to see where she’d like to plant it since this isn’t my yard.

If you are thinking about buying a hydrangea for the first time to add to your yard, check out my Blue Hydrangea page which includes information about choosing a shrub, how to plant it and how to take care of it. They are very easy to grow if they get a good start and are planted in the right location. The blooms last a very long time on the bush, and they have some of the most gorgeous flowers you’ll ever see. Remember that the plant will end up being quite large so give it enough space to fill out in the years to come.