My little lime tree that I planted three years ago teased me last year with its blossoms that never came to fruition. Soon after I saw them, we had a significant windstorm that blew them all off. This year I have high hopes that I will see fruit, however, partly because I have been tending to the tree more, and partly because there are many more blossoms than I saw last year, along with considerable new growth showing.
The low-lying buds are still tightly closed, not quite ready to bloom and grow. With a little bit of luck, I will have limes a little later on. Unfortunately, I have managed to kill all my mint, so there will be no home-grown mojitos for me.
The little blue heron stands in the swampy grass, just across from WalMart, surveying his land. He has no fear of those around him, but fixes them with his calm eye. He struts along, seeking his next meal.
Even when it does get cold down here in Florida, there are flowers all around. During the cooler winter months, we actually have some very showy flowers, such as big, bright azaleas, camellias, and roses. All of these are beautiful flowers, but I really look forward to the redbuds that bloom just before I feel summer creeping in.
Along with the redbuds are an abundance of small flowers that aren’t as showy as many of the flowers around here. Many of these flowers promise fruits later on, such as the ones on these berry brambles.
Or the wild plums that flower prolifically, and end up making bird food in the summer. The wild plums here are small and black, and as far as I know, not fit for human consumption. The birds love them, though.
The white buds and blossoms are a great way to cheer up an otherwise grey day. One of the things people often don’t realize when they set out to try their hand at photography is that grey skies can produce some of the most beautifully saturated photos, so while the photos above are bright, the weather was not.
When I look out my kitchen window and see my little maple tree, it always makes me happy. Today it is covered in leaf buds that will soon push out into full-sized leaves. Although I love winter and dream of snow, it is hard not to be joyful at the sight of tender leaves emerging from a tree.
Nobody but the birds were out on this quiet morning, hopping about busily, or searching the waters for their breakfast. Anhingas float along the water, with bodies submerged, only their long necks and heads visible.
After seeing nothing but snow in my Facebook feed for the last several days, I knew that people were ready for something else. While it may be a little while for the rest of the country, there is hope of spring beginning to appear here. We will probably have a much more noticeable and beautiful spring than usual, because way back in October, the leaves all fell from the deciduous trees at the same time. That means that they will likely come back at the same time, which is unusual for us. In the meantime, the maples have blossomed in beautiful red seeds. There really is hope that spring will come!
Yesterday seemed like a good day for a small adventure, so I headed over to the Devil’s Millhopper to see the big hole in the ground. Although there are plenty of sinkholes around, the Devil’s Millhopper is special because of both its size and age. It’s about 150′ deep, and is believed to have formed thousands of years ago, and is always beautiful.
I always love to stomp around the Millhopper. It is always green and cool, with the sound of water trickling down its walls. The water today was higher in the swampy bottom than I have ever seen it before, probably at least partially due to the torrential rains the day before.
There used to be trails, long before I ever moved here, but because people were not respectful of the fragile ecosystem, a boardwalk and stairs were constructed to contain the visitors. The stairs are really popular with runners and exercisers who like to run up and down them.
Every time I have gone, I have found tiny violets growing among the moss, which remind me of the larger violets that grew wild in our yard when I was a kid. Violets aren’t really common in Florida, so I’m always glad to see these ones.
The greens down at the bottom are incredibly vibrant, even in February. Much of Florida is green, but a more muted, olive tone than this. The brightness of this green thrills me to my soul.
Autumn afternoons in Florida are filled with exquisite light and beautiful flowers. This one is in my mojito garden, from a bulb I missed when I prepared the soil. The sun shone over the roof of my house and caught the bloom in perfect illumination.
I moved to Gainesville FL to earn my degree in architecture and never left. You can often find me wandering the many trails with my camera, always on the lookout for our famous gators. When I'm not on the trails, I'm probably walking the streets of a neighborhood, discovering the beauty that each one offers.