Thursday, February 25, 2010

Signs of Life

As yet another cold snap hits the Bay area, I'm pleased to report that the plants in My Florida Backyard are soldiering on, and even the slowest to recover are finally beginning to show some green.

The hibiscus has been the slowest of all to show some improvement, but in this weekend's warm sun, I noticed some leaf buds finally beginning to break along the branches. If we could only get some more warm sun, instead of these everlasting 50 degree days, the hibiscus would be putting out large green leaves in no time.

The Christmas Cassia is also starting to recover nicely, coming back from the ground slowly but surely. I'm working hard to get some cassia established in My Florida Backyard this year as larval plants for sulphur butterflies. I'm hoping Florida's hot summer will help this plant be a small shrub by the time late fall rolls around. Sulphur caterpillars are some of my favorites, and I'd really like to be able to raise some bright yellow beauties when the Christmas Cassia flowers late in the year.

The Candlestick Cassia is coming back as well, giving me hope that it will be able to rival its former glory by summer's end. We actually had a bunch of sulphur eggs on the Candlestick Cassia around New Year's, but the freeze, of course, made short work of both plant and eggs, leaving us to start again from scratch and hope for better luck next time.

Gardening in My Florida Backyard for the last few months has been all about waiting and hoping. It's nice to see some of that waiting and hoping pay off, although we just can't wait for this wretched winter to finally end!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Way We Were

I was looking back through some old pictures, and couldn't help missing My Florida Backyard's gardens in their prime. This winter is really dragging on forever, so for now, we just have to enjoy the...

Like the corners of my mind.

Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Red Wing

This winter has been pretty ridiculous across the entire country - there's snow on the ground in 49 states right now (but not here, thank goodness). We're expecting yet another week of below-average temperatures here in Tampa, ushered in by a very rainy, windy, and chilly day today. 

When I looked out the window this afternoon, there seemed to be nothing but gray, gray, gray to see. Then, on the feeder, was that familiar flash of red - a cardinal dropping by to brighten up the afternoon.

A picture through the window screen never turns out well, but the flash of color is still evident. I'm so grateful for visitors like this who help keep My Florida Backyard cheerful when the weather is dismal!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

This Bud's for You

On honor of Superbowl Sunday, today we salute the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) tree. (Not following the logic? Superbowl = Beer Drinking = Budweiser = Bud = Redbud tree. Too much of a stretch for you? Too bad!)

My Florida Backyard isn't fortunate enough to have one of these beauties, but a neighbor down the way has one, and we can enjoy the view for free.

Native redbuds are deciduous and in Florida are often considered an early sign of spring. The redbuds began to bloom a week or two ago, and are reaching their peak now. Click here to see some nice up-close shots of redbud blooms taken in the MOSI gardens by a friend of My Florida Backyard.

About a month after the Great Freeze of 2010, most things are recovering nicely. The grass is green again, many plants are putting out new shoots and buds, and the sun is warm on our backs even if the breeze is still a bit cool. Spring is here in My Florida Backyard, and it's nice to have a redbud tree nearby to confirm it!

(Sorry for the blurry picture - it's really hard to get a clear picture of a tree on a windy day!)