Tag Archives: plants

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Red leaf (C) 2013

I ventured into my “backyard” (or whatever you call the outside of your apartment) to do a little picture taking, and these pictures are some of my favorites from the stroll. I’m fortunate that I open my eyes every morning to a view some would kill for. I peer through the vine-covered tree trunks and see a pond. The palms grow in patches at the feet of the trees, and occasionally the wildlife draws me outside for a closer look.

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Great Blue Heron (C) 2013

I often think that what I see everyday is photo-worthy, and I’ve made good on that thought a few times. It’s summer now, and the turtles happily cruise the pond and sometimes wander towards even the parking lot during their carefree days. If you walk out onto the dock, you’ll see them swim towards you, hoping for a handout of breadcrumbs or other snacks. For such a slow mover, the turtles sure move fast in the water when they want to.

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Apple Snail with eggs (C) 2013

Some small fish also gather to beg – which leads me to believe that a resident often makes their way out to the dock to give the turtles a special treat.

On the legs of the dock and long woody stems of aquatic plants that jut out of the water, pink columns seem to “grow” above the waterline. A closer look reveals a clutch of eggs, and a giant apple snail laying a late-season clutch. The eggs are everywhere. Anywhere they can lay them, they do. And in some time, more baseball-sized snails will patrol the pond.

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Under the dock (C) 2013

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Red-eared Slider in water (C) 2013

A Great Blue Heron slowly stalks the bank, looking for his next meal. Probably some small fry that enjoy the warm water close to the bank. Still as a pole, the heron moves slowly in the grass, striking quickly when its prey is within reach.

I’ve seen ducks, Canadian geese, Snowy egrets, cardinals, vultures, and many other varieties of birds in my neighborhood. Florida is surely a state “for the birds”.

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Creeping vines (C) 2013

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Vine roots (C) 2013

Frogs serenade the night, loudly on more humid nights, and sometimes you’ll find them sticking to the windows and peering into your home. There are some even as small as a fingernail that hop through the grass in the evenings.

Lizards, particularly anoles, peruse the palm leaves and climb the stucco of my building. Curious and personable, these guys show little fear of humans. I’ve seen skinks, including one variety with a rainbow-colored tail. I’ve yet to stumble upon a snake, and I’m thankful for that!

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Anole on palm (C) 2013

When I was younger, I ventured outside and could tell you all about the critters that lived in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t have known the variety of creatures that dwell in my picture-perfect view if I never ventured to take a closer look. I’m sure my big backyard has more secrets to share with me down the road.

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Bird of Paradise – *available for purchase*

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“Bird of Paradise” 2006 acrylic on canvas board 9×12

My favorite flower – the bird of paradise, or Strelitzia. There are 5 varieties of the plant, which is native to South Africa. I saw these often, growing up in southern California, and I’m surprised I don’t see them here in Florida. They grow in a large bush, and occasionally I’ve found the cut flowers for sale at Whole Foods. A little unusual, perhaps, in the cut flower world, but I love them.

“Bird of Paradise” is available for purchase! It is 9×12″ on canvas board and ready for framing. You can purchase it at my etsy shop by clicking HERE. The price is $75 plus shipping. 🙂