February 17, 2015

Greetings From a Warmer Place

palm

I'm following the advice of the Ithaca, N.Y., Convention and Visitors Bureau, spending the end of winter in Florida. (The fishman and the kids will join me later for a family vacation week.) Actually, this trip was planned months ago, but it certainly makes sense with all the crazy weather the northern U.S. has experienced lately.

My parents live along the Gulf Coast of the Sunshine State during the winter, and they're kind enough to host me for a few weeks. So I'm living and working here until spring. Yay. I'm just getting my bearings these first few days, but I'm planning to post a few highlights of my stay.

Mom and Dad have a nifty, comfortable little place with some fun plants of note:

spanish moss

Nothing says the South like Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) hanging from the trees.

tropical

And the views in most directions around here are lush and fertile.

lemons

Including the neighbors' Lemon (or Grapefruit?) trees. Yum!

tangerine buds

The folks recently planted their own Citrus tree--a small Tangerine (Citrus reticulata), which has several buds just about to bloom.

hibiscus

Mom also planted a lovely Hibiscus.

jasmine

And a Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum).

lattice

She's training the Jasmine up a lattice behind the Hibiscus.

moses

Her Moses-in-the-Cradle (Rhoeo spathacea) has really filled in since the last time I was here.

umbrella1

The Umbrella plants (Schefflera arboricola) in the raised planters are lovely at this point.

umbrella2

Beautiful scarlet, orange, and yellow berries, with variegated foliage.

In addition to the plants, there are many other fun discoveries.

shell

Since we're near the coast, there are seashells scattered here and there.

lizard2

I always enjoy the lizards! I'm not sure if this is an anole or some other type of lizard.

lizard1

Another one tried to get into the house--between the window panes. No luck, but he's so cute!

So much to see here, and I'm excited for the adventures to come during the next few weeks!

53 comments:

  1. Oh that looks lovely. Enjoy your break. :)

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  2. Enjoy the weather. FL is a place to be right now for some warmer days. Of course we have snow, but that makes winter for me. I hope if you are there because of the recent death in your family, that at least you find some joy. Take care.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. This trip was planned for several months, but it IS good therapy. Plenty of snow in Wisconsin, too. I'm glad to escape it for a while. Soon signs of spring will greet all of us.

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  3. Enjoy Florida! You are there at the right time. We are in Kitchener-Waterloo in Ontario and Monday we had the coldest temperature ever registered - It probably was cold too in Wisconsin! We spent 3 hours in the morning thawing frozen pipes (fortunately none burst.).

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    1. Thanks, Alain. Oh my--the coldest temps ever registered! Wow! Well, I guess if you're going to be cold you might as well break a record. ;-) Yes, it's cold back home, too--double-digit temps below zero F at home, and even colder windchills. Sounds like we'll get a freeze (32F/0C) here in Central Florida, even, tomorrow night! I'm glad your pipes didn't burst!

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  4. Oh such a nice break from the winter weather! Florida has such different, tropical looking plants. I just love the citrus trees! I am excited that I will be leaving the winter behind for a few days soon as well, as I will be joining my husband when he goes to a conference in Las Vegas. Yay for some warm weather!

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    1. Yes, it's wonderful! Vegas sounds like a great destination, too. I've never been there, but the dry warmth of the desert sounds alluring. It's so enjoyable to be able to walk outside without needing layers of clothing and a coat, mittens, scarf, etc.

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  5. Perfect timing, Beth--tonight it's supposed to get bone-chilling cold here again. What a lovely place to spend the end of winter. Have a wonderful stay and enjoy your time with family.

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    1. Yes, after last winter's repeated polar vortex events, I had my eye on a warm getaway for this winter. I'm so fortunate my parents live down here during the winter and that they encourage us to come visit. Thanks. :)

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  6. I was wondering if you had left yet Beth for your trip South. Glad you are there during this continuing cold we are both having. We enjoyed a nice warm visit to AZ in Nov., but we are realizing a trip to a warmer climate in February would help break up the long cold, white winter. We both love winter, but it is good to get away. Looking forward to your posts, and hoping you have a wonderful time to recharge and find some solace my friend.

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    1. Thanks, Donna. I think this is a worse winter for you this year--we had a horrible, nonstop arctic winter last year. The jet stream seems to have shifted east a bit this year. Arizona sounds fabulous, too! I love Wisconsin, but if it was up to me I wouldn't live there in February and early March. Hopefully, when I get back home, some of the spring plants will be starting to poke out of the soil.

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  7. If we weren't experiencing our mildest winter since 1940 something, I'd be horribly jealous! What amazing and exotic (to northern eyes) pictures! I'd never seen a schefflera arboricola in berry! Mine spends the winter in my classroom and summers in my garden. Looking forward to your posts from the warmer place.

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    1. Yes, it sounds like your weather out on the West Coast is pretty comfortable. Yay! The Schefflera is lovely, isn't it?! Many people in the Midwest have them as office plants, but having them planted outside around the house is novel to me, too. That's a great idea to move them inside and outside with the seasons.

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  8. I'm so glad to hear you have found a warmer place for a few weeks! Double-digit below zero is worth escaping for a while. A bit of cold even followed you down. Your views of Florida look laid-back and welcoming. The anole is probably a brown anole, the Caribbean cousin introduced to Florida decades ago.

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    1. Thanks for the info about the brown anole, Shirley. I was reading a few things about various types of lizards, and that was one of the ones I thought it might be. You're right--it's been cool even here in Florida the past few days. We dipped down to 28F the other night, and people had to cover their tender plants. Wild! Now it's warmer. :)

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  9. Am I jealous? Of course I am! How lovely to spend time with the folks too, I'll bet they will love having you there. Great idea to escape the bad weather. I used to escape to my brother's for a few weeks when he lived in Asia but now he's back home, I have to suffer winter. Mind you, not nearly as bad as you guys get it.
    Have fun and I look forward to reading the posts from FL :)

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    1. We're having a nice visit. They have a modest place, but it's very comfortable. The fresh produce and seafood are fabulous! Asia--wow, lucky you! Yes, Midwest winters (especially last year) can be brutal and long. It's the long part that I dislike the most. I like a touch of winter, but it drags on so long.

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  10. What a lucky girl! I can't complain as I have sisters snowed in in three states. Hate this cold but at least the roads are dry.

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    1. Yes, I'm feeling fortunate. :) Before I left, actually, I was feeling fortunate that the winter wasn't as bad as the previous year. That was brutal--perhaps the worst extended subzero, mixed with snowy winter that I can remember. It seemed relentless. The jet stream seems to have shifted a bit east this year. Even Florida--most of the state--was below freezing the other night!

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  11. seeing a baby star jasmine being encouraged on its way, reminds me that our HUGE plants were loved when they started. Longing to reach that nurturing chosen beauties stage.

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    1. Yes, it will be interesting to see this one grow from year to year. Mom's lucky to be able to grow such interesting plants that wouldn't survive our brutal winters in the north.

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  12. I think I have only seen Schefflera as a house plants, I didn't know it had such beautiful fruit. Enjoy your time in the warm south. You picked a good time to go - there's a brutal cod front here right now.

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    1. Yes, many people seem to have Schefflera as office plants, too, in the north. I like the way they're planted in raised beds here, as foundation plantings. They're so colorful! Seems like I got out of town just in time to escape the coldest weather of the season. Yay!

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  13. What a great way to spend the winter! These pics even look warm. :o) I saw a lot of those little anoles when I was in FL over Christmas. I wanted to bring them home with me. We have a bit of a lizard shortage.

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    1. I know, right?! I love anoles, geckos, and lizards. I'm not sure I appreciated them when I was a little girl, but I so enjoy seeing them when I travel now. Of course, we don't have them in the north. Yes, we have a lizard shortage, too. ;-)

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  14. That Moses in the Cradle plant is really gorgeous! Love the reddish stripe. My folks are in Ventura,CA, and it looks a bit familiar being near the coast and all. Wonderful that you could escape the wicked weather! I really feel for man and beast on the Eastern Seaboard these days, as well as the Midwest. Brrrrr.

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    1. Yes, the Rhoeo is a lovely plant. It started with a cutting that a retired woman gave me when I was a college student. We befriended each other (long story--I should do a blog post about it), and she gave me the start to the plant during one of our visits. Yes, it's fabulous to be out of the bitter cold.

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  15. How lovely to get some sun and exotic plants and spend time with your parents. I look forward to more beautiful plant posts.. How wonderful to be able to grow tangerines.

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    1. Yes, it's very pleasant here--just the right temperature for comfort. The Tangerine flowers are just about to bloom. I suppose they'll have fruits when they get back here in the fall. That will be sweet!

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  16. I love that little anole. When I lived in SC they males would spar off trying to out-do each other with their dewlap displays.

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    1. That would be fun to watch. I've never seen them sparring--just darting here and there and pausing to watch. Cute little creatures!

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  17. Oh my...... It is 2 degrees here...sigh

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    1. Yes, the Midwest got a touch of the subzero stuff again, didn't it? Yuck. Mild winter weather isn't so bad, but the below zero stuff with the windchills is awful. Hang in there--it's almost over!

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  18. Glad you're enjoying a bit of the warmer side of life. The photos are all terrific, I love the close-up of the lizard--his (her?) expression is too cute. I don't know the Moses-in-the-cradle plant, but it's sure pretty.

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    1. Thanks, Tina. The lizards are fascinating to watch. He/she thought I couldn't see him/her, so I had a chance to observe for a bit. Great camouflage, though.

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  19. It's another world. And the Spanish Moss - how extraordinary!

    I notice on Hollis' blog you say you are interested in Street Plant blogging. It will be great if you join in. There's more about it here http://looseandleafy.blogspot.co.uk/p/street-plant.html

    Enjoy your holidays!

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    1. Hi Lucy: Yes, another world. A good way to put it. :) Yes, I will plan to join in the street plant meme within the next few weeks. I'm actually working while I'm down here--a benefit of having an Internet-based business. :)

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    1. Thanks, Linda. It's very colorful here--in every season!

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    2. Thanks, Linda. It's very colorful here--in every season!

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  21. I could definitely use some of the warmth, and I am just north in Alabama! We have ice and some snow predicted for tonight and tomorrow night, but hopefully will be temporary as we warm above freezing during the day. I admire all those tropical plants growing there, especially the Moses in the Cradle. I love its colors! And I have always loved Spanish moss. Live oaks along the coast are always draped in it.A live oak grows in my garden, but no Spanish moss. Enjoy your time in the sunshine!

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    1. Hi Deb: I've been watching the national coverage of all the awful weather around the country. Weird for mid- to late February! Usually this time of year, even in Wisconsin, the winter is starting to turn the bend toward slightly milder weather. Maybe spring will happen suddenly this year. I love the Spanish Moss, too! My current post features tons of it! Gorgeous stuff!

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  22. Enjoy the warmth, love both lizard photos.

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    1. Thanks! I am enjoying it, but I'm starting to feel a little bad that others (family and friends) can't be here with me. It's a bummer when winter drags on.

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  23. Lucky you, getting to travel south during these last few weeks of winter. Love the hibiscus!

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    1. Hi Heather: Yes, I feel fortunate. It's obviously worlds away from Wisconsin this time of year. The Hibiscus took a bit of a hit last week with temps below freezing. But we covered it, and it's bouncing back and blooming again. :)

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  24. That was a delightful walk off. Thank you for all of the tropical plants. It reminds me of summer in Oklahoma. It's snowing here again. I needed those pictures.~~Dee

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    1. Hi Dee: I'm glad you enjoyed the walk-off. :) I'm amazed with how wintry much of the country has been in February this year. Even Wisconsin has been colder than normal. Almost spring. Yay.

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  25. You deserve to enjoy some days of sunshine weather, enjoy them!! These pictures sound so familiar landscapes!

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    1. Thanks, Lula! It was a great getaway. I'm glad to be home now, though, to see spring unfold here at home. :)

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  26. You're so lucky to have a place to stay!! Enjoy your time & your parents. The plants are so different than what grows around here! It's heavenly to see "green" again when everything has been brown (or white) for so long.

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    1. Yes, I was fortunate to spend the end of winter with my parents. I really enjoyed the first couple of weeks and when my family enjoyed us for a vacation. But I was glad to get back home, too!

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