Color in the neighborhood

With the scorching heat in August I was taking quick walks around the neighborhood early in the morning before work instead of after work. Plus it’s usually raining after work so at least I’ve gotten my walk in. Walking with just my phone, I can’t help but stop and take pictures of all of the blooming things along the sidewalks. I realized there are a lot of magnolia trees here and they all had bright red seed pods on them. I’m assuming the critters will eat them so I’ll have to keep an eye for them

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A field of sunflowers

It all starts here. Not quite yet blooming at Sweetfield Farms.

It’s somehow theraputic to walk around a sunflower field. They were in full bloom in mid-May. Most were blooming way over my head.

It was a perfect sunny day to take pictures of the yellow flowers (even though ti was a little warm)

Every one looks just a little different. Many had bees on them.

Someone had made a face out of this older flower. You could see the sunflowers seeds underneath. In the past you would just buy the flowers already picked at the barn on the way out but this time you could pick your own. They give you clippers and let you walk around and pick out the ones you want. One thing they said was to cut the flatter faces if possible. Those were fresher since the seeds hadn’t started to grow. As the flower gets older the seeds grow and the face bowls out. By the time it bowls out the yellow petals will fall off soon. Another thing is that they are heavy. I cut 5 big ones and was trying to carry by camera stuff and the zinnias I had cut before this. It was a long trip back to the car. This is where having Brett with me would have come in handy (although then I would have spent a small fortune). He was busy playing golf so I was on my own.

My stash when I got home.

I guess my love of sunflowers started early. We grew them in our backyard when I was growing up. They were always much smaller than the ones on the farm. This was me in the early 70’s.

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In the backyard

I didn’t plant these sunflowers on purpose. I didn’t think we had the right kind of soil since our dirt is so sandy. Of all of the years with a bird feeder, this is the first time I had a rogue sunflower seed take root. The double one came up first but wasn’t very big. The bigger one came up right next to our petunia pot a few days later. I think an animal, maybe a squirrel, ate it after a few days. It was all torn up on the ground near the feeder.

A macro fly on the leaf.

Taking some shots around the backyard with my macro lens.

I had to get even more shots of my hibiscus plant.

One night I went out to move the garbage can to the street and saw this black racer cutting across my driveway. I was glad I had my phone in my pocket so I could quickly snap this.

We’ve had a lot of duck families cruising past our dock. This was one of the first in early May.

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Color explosion!

Since I missed the Sunflower festival at Sweetfield Farms last year, I had to go this year. In late May the zinnias at the farm were in full bloom. While the farm is mostly sunflowers (all boring yellow), I think my favorite part is the zinnia field. So many colors growing in one place. After taking tons of pictures, I went to the “You pick” booth and got some clippers. They were $1 per flower and I got as many as I could carry. One in each color.

The butterflies love the zinnias as well. My favorite part was all of the little flying critters that were landing on the flowers. I could have spent all day here but it was getting hot and I was getting hungry so it was time to pack up.

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Fun things at Lake Mirror

Color at Hollis Garden in Lakeland in early May.

I thought these lily pad were cool holding the water in their leaves. Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland was full of them.

There’s a reason they are called “common” moorhens. They are everywhere and they have tons of babies starting in the spring.

I noticed this baby grackle screaming at his Mom for food. He was hopping around behind Mom but I think she was trying to get him to feed himself. He was old enough to be able to do that.

Across Lake Morton a new building was going up. The flags would have looked very magestic if they weren’t so worn out.

I don’t alway stop at Lake Mirror after a walk at Circle B Bar Reserve but this morning in early May I only did a short walk at Circle B and then went over to Lake Mirror. I was in the mood for some spring flowers that were in bloom at Hollis Gardens which sits right on the lake.

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Color in the gardens

Lots of color in late February at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales.

I love this plant with the bright pink stalks and the shiny green leaves. It looks like pink celery but the leaves are different so I’m not sure what it is. It might be swiss chard.

If there was ever an on line scratch and sniff invented, it would be for this. The smell of an orange blossom is the best smell ever. When you drive into the gardens you wind your way through a large orange grove before getting to the parking lot. In February you have to roll your windows down to take in the smell. There were also orange trees scattered around the park and I just stood there for a while taking it in.

The azaleas were in full bloom and the park had sections that were covered in the bushes. This was the perfect time to be outside in central Florida.

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A little bit of fall.

I always forget that there’s a park close by that has a lake lined with cypress trees. In late fall the cypress trees turn orange before they lose their leaves and it’s a little bit of fall leaves that we get in central Florida. I stopped by Kapok Park in late November and missed the peak orange but caught it at the end. It was a cool morning out so it was a few minutes of feeling like fall season.

Panos taken with with my phone. I wished I had remembered to come a few weeks earlier.

This tree was pulled over during a storm several years ago. It’s still alive and many birds and critters live in it.

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Getting out in the gardens

Still so many pretty flowers at Bok Tower Gardens in November. The big lily pads were still blooming.

I hadn’t seen any frogs there in several years so I was excited to see this guy in a small pond.

Little flying critters.

I’ve taking a ton of pictures of the bell tower but this was the first time I noticed that there was a calendar carved in the back of the tower. I’m not sue what the lines mean. Has anyone seen this before?

There were still lots of caterpillars in mid-November.

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Pretty things in November

I always love coming around the corner on the sidewalk and seeing the big burst of pink in the air. The huge silk floss tree at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo blooms in the fall. I was there at the end of the blooms but there were still some left on the tree and the fruit was starting to come out. I could also see a parakeet high up in the tree.

Other plants at the gardens.

The giant milkweed plant was covered in caterpillars in the middle of November. This was before it was starting to get cold so I hope these guys all made it through.

It was a quiet day for birds.

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