Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Versatile Blogger Award ... and Some Cool Birds

I thought I'd share a favorite photograph of an anhinga (or two).

Beth from Plant Postings surprised me with the Versatile Blogger award. I had seen other bloggers write about receiving the award, and it made my day to get one myself! (I will confess I had some brief misgivings that it was a type of chain letter, but I decided to get over my skepticism. Life is too short to be cynical.) The whole point of blogging to me is to interact with others, and it's wonderful to hear that people find my blog worth visiting. It's also enjoyable to recognize others. 

(Insert another random photo from the Florida vacation that I promised to blog about long ago. Actually, I see red-shouldered hawks all the time in my backyard, but not when I'm wandering about with a tripod.)

The rules of the competition are: 

1. Post the Versatile Blogger button. 
2. Thank the blogger who nominated you. Thanks again, Beth!
3. Include 7 random facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers. 

7 random facts about me:

  • I am 5’ 7” tall. My husband thinks I’m 5’ 6.” Perhaps this is because he’s 5’ 5.”
  • I like to walk in the woods. I sometimes hug trees when no one’s looking.
  • I wish I could swim in the ocean more often.
  • I met my husband riding bicycles while training for the AIDS Ride.
  • I like cookies.
  • I once drove an M1A1 tank. 
  • I believe in God. I feel God's presence in nature.  

(Have you ever seen a Great White Pelican? They are 5 feet from tip to tip.) 

Time to announce my awards to 15 wonderful bloggers. I couldn't include everyone whose blog I enjoy, and I deliberately did not include some bloggers who had already been nominated multiple times. 

Stacy at Microcosm. Stacy has a lyrical writing style and lovely photographs. She blogs about the small things in her garden and has a gift for finding depth and beauty in them, while making larger connections to life.

Linnie at Women Who Run With Delphiniums. Linnie makes me laugh. Every time. She's original and irreverent - I think she knows a lot more about what she's doing in the garden than she lets on. Great photos, too.

Linnie and Kininvie at Uncanny Death. Who can resist an intercontinental murder mystery involving gardening being written by two authors on Twitter?

Karen at Southern Meadows. I love Karen's blog. She photographs and writes mainly about native plants and the creatures she finds in her backyard. Her photographs are stunning and she often writes informative profiles of a particular plant or animal.

Donna at Gardens Eye View. Donna writes about her life and garden in a personal style that is easy to connect with. Like most of the bloggers I follow, she is interested in organic gardening, native plants and wildlife.

Donna at Garden Walk Garden Talk. Donna's photos are truly inspiring - and not just because she lives near Niagara Falls.

Carolyn at Carolyn's Shade Gardens. I wish I lived near Carolyn's Pennsylvania nursery of mainly native shade plants! Since I don't, I have to settle for frequently reading her blog. She offers excellent information about plants, often grouped by category, and also blogs about inspiring gardens she's visited.

Chris at New Hampshire Garden Notes. Chris has a very attractive and enjoyable blog. I particularly enjoy her collages of plants.

Carolyn at This Grandmother's Garden. I always feel good when I visit Carolyn's blog. Her photographs of her garden are lovely. I am jealous of her view of the mountains. I appreciate her openness about her faith.

Heather at Restoring the Landscape. Heather writes very informative posts about native plants and insects in Central Minnesota. Unfortunately for me, many of the plants that are native in her area are not native to central North Carolina, but they're still interesting to learn about. Her blog also offers tips on how to restore your garden by planting natives.

Meredith at Great Stems. Meredith has amazing nature photos, especially of birds. She gardens in Texas.

Hanni at Sweet Bean Gardening. Hanni is a relatively new gardener who writes about her vegetable garden in Indiana. I like her honesty about gardening successes and failures and her enthusiasm.

Aimee at Red Garden Clogs. Aimee is also a new gardener with a small plot in urban New York. She's a fun writer to read, and as a former city resident, I like hearing about her efforts to grow plants in an urban environment.

One at Onenezz. One has fun photo-captioning contests. Plus, as One lives in Malaysia, I enjoy the exotic photographs.

Nell Jean at Secrets of a Seed Scatterer is a prolific blogger from the South. She writes about what's happening in her garden in a down-to-earth style.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

First Daffodils

Early daffodils are blooming in sunny places. It has been one of the mildest winters on record, with many 60-degree-plus days. A respected local garden center has been telling customers it's ok to start planting early seeds, according to an article in the News & Observer. 

Excuse the poor quality of this smartphone photo.
I have missed blogging and reading blogs lately as I adjust to a new schedule with my new job. We also are getting ready to put our house (garden!) on the market in a month, so free time has disappeared. But I'm going to try to find a way to blog despite the busyness because I've so enjoyed hearing from other gardeners and nature lovers and responding to your blog posts. I'd appreciate your tips on how to blog in small chunks of time!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Signs of Spring?!

A crocus greeted me when I walked out the side door. Normally, I enjoy seeing crocuses, an early sign of spring. But I am somewhat disturbed by signs of spring the first week of January. 

While watering the potted pansies out back, I noticed green shoots of daffodils poking up through the leaves. Again, I was more dismayed than excited. The daffodils are the Ice Follies variety that bloom in early to mid-spring. Has this winter been so warm that the plants are fooled? It was 70 degrees yesterday.

The neighbors' Japanese quince has begun blooming. 

I hear that the winter in Maine has been so mild that people are still playing golf and snowmobilers are upset by the lack of snow. In Florida at Christmas we experienced near-record warmth, with highs in the low 80s. I didn't complain, but I do wonder. Where is winter?

On December 9, I took this photo of a Prunus mume in bloom at the Coker Arboretum. I haven't had a chance to check back to see if the blooms got nipped when the temperature briefly dipped below freezing, but I have noticed other Japanese apricots in bloom in town.

Could this be another sign of global warming? Yes, I know that we cannot draw firm conclusions from one season of unseasonable weather. But it seems that we've been having many, many seasons of unseasonably warm weather. I trust plants (and my senses) far more than politicians.

Has your winter been unusually mild, too? 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Random Exotic Photos

I have been away in Florida on somewhat of an Internet-free holiday. I took lots of photographs. Too many, perhaps, because now I have to decide which ones to include in my next post. In the meantime, here are a few random photos to enjoy - photos that are not predominantly brown!

Roseate spoonbill and ibis, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Brassolaeliocattleya Momalani Rainbow 'The Gypsy'

New Year's Eve sunset, Fort DeSoto North Beach, Fla.