Friday, February 22, 2013

Simple Gifts

There's something so wonderful about an afternoon to yourself at the end of a very busy week. And it's even nicer when that afternoon is warm and sunny (while the weather reports are full of the winter storm up north!), and you have a few new plants needing homes, like the kalanchoe and sedum you found that are just perfect for the rock planters, and the marigolds you rescued from the clearance rack for half price.

Nothing fancy, nothing crazy... just some simple garden tasks in the backyard that you've finally taken back from the weeds of last summer. Remember this nightmare from last fall?

You can't help but pleased to know you're finally in charge again, and your favorite bench is available for basking in the winter sun once more.

Once you're done getting your hands in the dirt, you can wander around and see what's new in the garden. Winter is a wonderful time for native Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), and in a few weeks the hummingbirds will pass through on migration and stop to enjoy it. This afternoon, the pleasure was all mine.

I've not been alone all afternoon, of course. The tufted titmice and cardinals are visiting the feeder, and a Great Egret is stalking its dinner in the pond nearby. Even more interesting, a pair of Blue-Winged Teal are floating past, the first time we've documented this species in My Florida Backyard.

And now, as the song goes, "the purple dusk of twilight time steals across the meadows of my heart..." as well as across My Florida Backyard. 

It's not as calm and peaceful as the pictures might suggest - our neighbors are racing a dirt bike around the block, children are playing a noisy game across the lake, and it's our time of night to be in the flight path for Tampa International Airport. But the frogs are singing too, and a mockingbird in a nearby tree is trying out every tune in his repertoire. A limpkin calls in the distance, and the flapping of wings on the ponds suggests not all the ducks have settled down for the night. Nature fights for dominance in the suburbs, and rarely wins. But we do our best to focus on the simple gifts of My Florida Backyard, and let the rest slide by - at least today.