Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A trip to St. Petersburg, FL

I just got back from a quick jaunt to St. Petersburg, Florida for the FAEA (Florida Art Educator's Association) Annual conference, where I was one of their keynote speakers.  I also presented a workshop on creating books with a coptic binding.  I love going to art educator's conferences, art teachers are such fun! 

While I was in the area, I looked online to see what attractions I should check out.  I did visit the Dali Museum, which is where one of the evening events for the conference took place.  This is a new building that houses a large number of Dali works.  Above is the central staircase that is modeled on a DNA strand.

Another thing on the list was the Sunken Gardens, which is a historic 100 year old botanical garden over 6 acres.  The gardens were well tended and full of lush, tropical plants.
The bamboo were clacking together in the slight breeze, a charming sound.
There were so many beautiful plants.  But almost none of them had labels on them, which was a disappointment!
And little lizards were everywhere!

This was an interesting tree - I wish I knew what it was!  It had large fruits hanging, the picture on the right shows what they look like with segments missing.

I loved the dense greenery.  The garden was really well tended and I enjoyed my visit!

 After visting the Sunken Gardens, I went to a local city park so I could see some alligators (I saw a really big female with two of her little babies, and a medium sized one sunning itself), and then went to Tampa to check out some manatees.  So I did manage to squeeze in some interesting trips during my 1/2 day that was unscheduled!

Monday, November 05, 2012

one year later

These are just a few shots of my yard, comparing the pictures I took when we bought the house a year ago, and the change since then.  Lots of these are fairly recent changes, but taken as a whole, it helps me to see the progress we're making.  Step by step....

The first is the front flower box.  The mums that I bought at the dollar store burst into bloom this week - just in time for Halloween.  It's cheery to drive up to at the end of the day!  I took the iris on the far left of the 'before' picture, chopped it down into smaller bits and alternated it with the mums.  There's a climbing black eyed susan vine that I thought was done for a month ago, climbing up the post.  It was looking dry and leggy, I pushed it back down the post and it seemed to appreciate it.
This was the first section I cleared out and planted, and it's the most established.  This area gets sun all day.  Almost all of these are freebie plants I picked up from Craigslist.  A couple were moved from the front flower box (the aloes).  Everything's looking happy here.
The planting strip on the other side of the house, it gets early morning sun and then shade the rest of the day.  The plants here are filling out nicely.  I took out the evergreens (which did not look as nice as they do in this picture, above right), and the grass, and added some gravel and stepping stones since this is where the neighbor gets into their car every day -- no point in planting up to the edge.

This is the last part planted, and it's not even done yet. I have a gaping hole in the bed where I intend on putting in some steping stones.  I also want to remove the rest of the brick walkway and change the steps into something more artful and less -- well, less a straight line across the strip.  You can also see here how bad the ivy was on the tree and how it looks like a normal tree now. This winter, we'll take the remaining grass off the strip and get the rest of the plants moved so we don't have dead grass along this area.

Getting ready to hit the road again this week, off to Florida for a conference.  This is a busy month!  I'll be traveling later to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter in Chico, that will be a fun break. 
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