Archive for the ‘Flora & Fauna’ Category

Meanwhile, at Lake Alice

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

All of my fellow Gators will know all about Lake Alice.

For those of you who are not UF alums, Lake Alice is a favorite spot on the University of Florida campus.

Although this is just a little guy, I can’t believe these people got so close to him while taking pictures, and I totally flipped my lid when the young lady asks the guy taking the video to “please grab my phone”.  WTH?

Anyhoo, we DO love our gators.  All of them.

~ BG

Beach Day

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Today was the last day of “Surf Camp”, so we all went over to the beach this morning.  It was an absolutely beautiful day.  Surf Camp is at “our beach”, which is kind of a local hang out.  We noticed the Summer Surfers about six years ago, and this year, we enrolled the grandson for a week of surfing, skin diving, tubing, etc.  He had a blast.

"Our Beach" spot, looking North @ Hillsboro Inlet (old photo)

“Our Beach” spot, looking North @ Hillsboro Inlet (old photo)

Hidden Entrance to "Our Beach"

Hidden Entrance to “Our Beach”

Sometimes the Yachts Make the Waves

Sometimes the Yachts Make the Waves

Paddling Practice ~ Out to the Pylon

Paddling Practice ~ Out to the Pylon

Kowabunga, Dude!

Kowabunga, Dude!

The Sea Oats are Making a Comeback

The Sea Oats are Making a Comeback

Even a Bee Was Busy at the Beach Today

Even a Bee Was Busy at the Beach Today

Our Happy Surf Camper at the End of Surf Camp

Our Happy Surf Camper at the End of Camp

We are quite pleased with the experience at Surf Camp.  There were probably 40 – 50 kids there, but lots of adult supervision, and the camp was very professionally run.  There were some really wee ones there, too…all participating and having a ball.  It’s funny, we live about 1/4 mile from the beach, and haven’t been there in almost five years.  That’s going to change, I forget how beautiful it is to just hang out, catch some rays, take a dip, and see someone walk up to your umbrella…and recognize an old friend!  We’ll be back, and soon, too.  The little guy is enamored with skin diving, and I know a couple of other good spots.

See you on the beach!

~ Blonde Gator

Now We Know

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

We’ve been wondering for a while why there was such a commotion whenever the food bowl approached the half empty mark.  Now we know.  And….we’re totally sick of the “Song of My People”.

~ Blonde Gator

Carnivorous Pitcher Plant

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

My little garden genie has been such a help (“Did you buy any more much, Grama?”) that I bought him a carnivorous pitcher plant a couple of weeks ago.  It’s been growing like a weed (somehow, I always thought they were hard go grow!).  I have it in total shade, but in a bright location on the patio.  I move it out from under cover when it rains, as chemicals of any sort are a buzz kill for the carnivorous plants (a Venus Flytrap is on our list to find).

Mason checks it diligently, and carefully waters it (and partially fills any empty pitchers) with distilled water if it’s dried out.  Yesterday, we discovered a stealthy little baby pitcher, growing in the soil under the plant, instead of hanging off a branch at the end of a long leaf.

Baby Pitcher ~ about 1 1/2" tall

Baby Pitcher ~ about 1″ tall

We also spent a little bit of time learning about the difference between a picture and a pitcher.  And then I had to take a picture of the pitcher.  So that everyone can see Mason’s happy pitcher plant.  Enjoy!

~ Blonde Gator

On The Patio, Still (yet and always!)

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

Even though I’m feeling kind of blah (kid germs or spring, take your pick), I decided to take the new camera for a whirl, and update some of the stuff that’s been going on on my patio.  Fortunately, you’ll be spared the destruction of the tomato plants, which got attacked, AGAIN, by the stupid hornworms (after serious efforts on my part to eradicate them).   Someone please remind me next fall that I DON’T even like tomatoes that much, they’re a nuisance (although rewarding in their rapid growth)….and not worth the effort.

I ordered some amazing and exotic new varieties of chile peppers, though, from since I’ve had such spectacular success with my poblano (and mini-Thai) peppers.  They arrived in beautiful shape last Thursday, and I’ve spent a couple of days carefully acclimating them from their greenhouse environment to the wilds of hot, humid, and windy South Florida environment (today it’s 95 degrees, humid, harsh wind, and a 102 degree heat index).  They seem to be very happy.  Today they got about 6 hours of filtered sun.  Another few days of hardening them off, and they’ll hit their permanent homes (big pots and earth boxes).

Baby Chiles ~ Nom Nom in Six Months!

Baby Chiles ~ Nom Nom in Six Months!

I ordered Anaheim’s (or Hatch, Big Jim’s); Chuihuacles Negro & Rojos (for mole); a Caribbean Habanero; Thai Red, and a couple of Ichiban Eggplants.  Aren’t they beautiful?

I’ve also been working on doing some repotting of the orchids.  I got kind of a cool green pot for my cool green Paphiopedilum….it’s rather happy.

Repotted Paphiopedilum

Repotted Paphiopedilum

I also purchased a new little Vanilla orchid (it’s a vine), and it too, is thriving in its new home.

Baby Vanilla Orchid Vine

Baby Vanilla Orchid Vine

Now, a couple of oldies, but goodies….



Psychopsis papilio

And finally, something new (for me).  At Christmas, I bought 3 pots of geraniums for some “color” (I know, I like pink Christmas stuff….whatevs!).  I have poured the Osmocote on like mad, and watered them faithfully, as well as dead-heading the spent flower blooms.  They have more than doubled in size, are blooming splendiforously, and are absolutely spectacular, for that extra “pop” of color when the orchids aren’t doing much (and they mostly don’t do very much, except demand attention).

Colorful Enjoyment

Colorful, Constant Enjoyment

I can’t say enough about this new camera!  I’m slowly learning what the buttons and settings mean, but these pictures were taken on basic PPD mode (point & push dummy!).  I am super excited to think about what fun we’ll have (and I’ll be able to document) over the summer, as we have all kinds of fun outings and “cultural” stuff planned for the young man and the old grands, including the Miami Zoo, Discovery Museum, Planetarium/Aquarium, Miami SeaQuarium, Lion Country Safari, and Cub Scout Day at the new Marlins stadium.  The camera even takes HD movies!

That’s it for now.

~ Blonde Gator


On the Patio, Again

Monday, April 6th, 2015

I was recently given a lovely plant, a Neofinetia falcata, by one of my orchid pals, Capt. Joe.  This is a beautiful miniature orchid, from Japan, which will bloom in a year or so, with sprays of spectacular white, sweetly fragrant flowers.  I “potted” it, in a giant tun shell, into which I’d drilled several drain holes.  Neo seems to be thriving in this new environment, in bright light (but no direct sunlight), where I water it every other day.

Neo. falcata

Neo. falcata

Now in bloom, is one of my very favorite “mini-cats”:

Beautiful Catleytonia

Beautiful Cattleytonia

When this little beauty shows her face, I know spring is here in full force.

I have a few more orchids pushing spikes, and then we’re on to the “hot, humid, and RAINY season”.  Where not much happens, bloom-wise, but where the orchids and other patio dwellers put on foliage and size, and thrive in our tropical paradise.

~Blonde Gator

April Blooms

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Well, BFF Island Girl gave me a spectacular birthday gift earlier this month, a gift certificate to my favorite nursery, Nu Turf.  So I splurged on the BIG sizes of thyme and rosemary, augmented my parsley by two plants, and got some dill, oregano, and mint.  And I was so inspired, I bought myself a birthday gift.

Angel Wing Begonia "Dragon"

Angel Wing Begonia, “Dragon”


One of my favorite orchids is the Psychopsis papilio (cool name, too), which is very unsual.  I bought it in bloom two years ago, and it has been in bloom ever since.  It only ever has one bloom on the very end of its bloom spike, and after the flower drops, it pushes a new bud through the same bud end, so one should never cut the bloom spike off this plant, until the entire spike dies.  It is an extremely slow growing orchid, and in the two years I’ve had it, it has only produced one new pseudo-bulb (new plant growth), but that, too, has pushed a spike, and this picture is the first bloom on the new spike (you can see the “old” spike to the left of the bloom).  I hope to be able to catch it when both spikes are in bloom, although the new spike is about six inches shorter than the older one (pushing a bud now).

Psychophsis papilio, April 2014

Psychophsis papilio, April 2014


Look at the Face on that Flower!

Look at the Face on that Flower!

Also in bloom is one of my Paphiopedilums, Paph. Hilo Jewel #4 x Paph fairrieanum ‘Green Horn’.  I had hoped it would have a double bloom this year, alas not.  This is the picture from last year, as my camera is having hiccups, and I must send it in to have the zoom and focus adjusted *sigh*.  (Second Panasonic Lumix to crap out on me, I love it, but they seem to die after about 2 1/2 years).

Paph. Hilo Jewel #4 x Paph fairrieanum 'Green Horn'

Paph. Hilo Jewel #4 x Paph fairrieanum ‘Green Horn’

Also blooming, now is my Cattleytonia “Why Not”, which I’ve had for at least 20 years, which was given to me by my old friend Dianne, who moved to Cali and whom I miss very much.  I’ve divided this orchid countless times, and given away all of them, this plant makes a great gift.  Alas, the picture I took earlier was out of focus, but I’ll try again in a bit and update this post.  This Why Not is a bloomer, and grows like mad.  A plant I would highly recommend for anyone who wants to start growing orchids, it’s a disease resistant, happy grower.  A Cattleytonia is a cross between a Cattleya (the corsage orchid) and a Broughtonia, which looks like a tiny little Cattleya, but which has multiple red blooms on a spike.  The plant is compact, maybe 8″ tall, as opposed to the regular Catts, which can be well over 2′ tall.


Cattleytonia "Why Not"

Cattleytonia “Why Not”

Happy Gardening this spring!

~ Blonde Gator




In Bloom Now

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

LC Rojo (C. Aurantiaca x L milleri):

c aurantiaca x c milleri ~ LC "rojo"

c aurantiaca x c milleri ~ LC “rojo”

And, one of its parents (not its actual parents, but one of its parents of the same breeding), the C. Aurantiaca:

C. Aurantiaca

C. Aurantiaca

I have been working on the patio to get everything ship shape.  It’s a slow thing.  Since Blonde Mom has been sick, the orchids have suffered.   Must get them back in shape.  And replant my herb garden.

All is well.

~ Blonde Gator


Hello World

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

My internet pal the Wrathful Brunette sent me a small cattleya seedling last year for my birthday, it was probably about two to three years old.  After hanging out on my patio for the last sixteen months, it is a now a “first bloom seedling”….and is she ever a beauty!

Blc. Krull's Lemonade "Sunshine"

Blc. Krull’s Lemonade “Sunshine”


~ Blonde Gator

Surfing Killer Whales ~ Part Deux

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Holy Canoli, Batman!!!! This time with a video…..

The excitement in the voices on the boat…..can you imagine the shock and awe?!?!


~ Blonde Gator