I've been collecting seashells for as long as I can remember. From east to west, coast to coast, and shore to shore, I always find a treasure to keep, and adore.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Washington Oaks Gardens ~ A Little Piece of Paradise

I really enjoyed my walk through this park, but would recommend going in the spring, fall, or a nice winter day. NOT in the middle of a hot humid Florida summer! At least the gardens area...there was a nice breeze on the beach, and there's enough beach to set up a canopy. I will take one of my sun shades next time.

I'm only going to give you a glimpse of the gardens, as I didn't take photos of every copse of trees, or every grouping of plants....or the rose garden.

The entrance and property was once the private winter residence of The Young's, and was along the original A1A.

I love when natural elements are used in landscaping and building(s).

These came from the nearby beach.

Unfortunately I cut off some of the words.

One of my favorite things was this staghorn fern.


There were several around the park just like this!

These are the feet. This plant propagates by growing a new one, called a pup. I would love to have a big staghorn!

Another thing that made me say WOW, was this palm growing in an old oak tree.


The Koi Pond was another favorite~

These fish are big! There were a few big catfish in here, too.

Bamboo, many types of ferns & palms, tropical plants, and flowers are everywhere.


This is Plumbago in front, and some type of Ginger or Canna's behind. Guess I need to go back and see for sure lol.

When you reach the end of the pathway, you are at the river/inlet.

I wanted to get down there, but it was blocked off. There were rocks covered with shells!

Probably would have hurt myself anyway, rofl!

Down the other side, people were fishing, and boats would go by.

We left from here, and made a beeline to the beach!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Beach Days and Recovery Mode

Wow, it's been a long time since I was here! I'm sorry. Sometimes, I have no control over my health, or lack of it. Lupus truly sucks. I'm still not 100%, but feeling a tad better most days. Blah! I would do so much better if I just stayed my ass home, and didn't go anywhere. But who can do that 24/7??? I do like to get out once in a while, lol.

I did have some fun beach days before I went into recovery mode ;) but I was gluten poisoned on a Gulf beach by a fake hamburger patty, and have been sick ever since. I won't be eating from the beach food trucks again. ugh! It's a good thing the Gulf was the last outing we did during that weekend, lol.

I didn't find great shells, but I did find some neat pieces and small shells, and regular ole clams, arks, a couple of augers, and ceriths and such.

We visited Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, but that's another post on it's own. Part of this park is across the road from the gardens, and is the Atlantic Ocean! Which is one of the reasons I chose this park to visit!

It was a beautiful day to be on the beach!

And this is what drew me to this park, besides that it has a beach. The Coquina rocks are amazing!

I'd like to go back in the fall when it's not quite so hot & humid. I want to explore some more, and this is where I found all the very smooth pieces of shell.

Our Goddaughter was visiting at this time with her father, who is a good friend of ours from Idaho.
She turned 15 in Florida, and had the vacation of a lifetime. Her daddy spoils her big time ;)

She's such a cutie, and a sweetie too! Love this girl!
She loved Florida, and will most definitely be back! This was her first time seeing the ocean, so we made sure she saw the Atlantic, and the Gulf! I just wish there had been better shells to find. There's always next time, right?!

We also visited the St. Augustine Lighthouse while on the east coast, and so close to it. I made a photo into a watercolor with my app.

One of these days I will find a perfect spot to stand to get the entire lighthouse. I wanted the top of it for sure, so cut the bottom off. I still love it though! I took a lot of pictures at the lighthouse, again, lol I always do. This is one of my favorite lighthouses! If you are in the area, you  must visit!

There is so much to see and do in Florida, and I hope to cram in as much as I can! Even if it means days or weeks of recovery.

The actual gardens in the park (across the road from the beach) was a real delight. I did take several pictures, and could have taken more. There was so much beauty!

That is my next post...

and my raised garden beds, and sea themed gazing ball. That ball has been a long, slow process. I can't wait to move on to the next project!

I did make some Etsy purchases recently, and they are stellar! I also received a very cool & special gift, and I must share that with you too!

What are your must do's for this summer?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Returning to Paradise

This can actually be taken as a double entendre. Returning to Paradise...

My hubs David, and I, recently took a trip out west.

Was going out West returning to paradise? Or was coming Home returning to paradise?

We drove out West for a reason. We towed a cute charcoal grey 2006 VW Bug to our granddaughter, for her 16th birthday! We are so thankful we could do it!

Photo credit Ali Ann Teuscher

I'm sure some people see that part of the country as their idea of Paradise. It is beautiful, at this time of year, from one side of our great country to the other. Everything is lush and green, where it is normally dry and brown for most of the year. Many places across the Mid West and Plains were at flood stage. Rivers were spilling over their banks, and at many bridges, were running close to the bridge. The construction zones were endless, as always. The price we pay for decent roads!

But as I watched the landscape pass by on that 5000 mile round trip, I knew it would be the last time I saw that part of the country from this perspective. Never again will I see the majestic beauty of the mountains, and enormous rock formations up close and personal. I will fly next time! We have made 12 trips from one side of the US to the other over the last 34 years. That doesn't include miles upon miles of vacations with the kids, or trips north to see my family.

We pushed too hard, drove too many miles a day, to get there in 3 days. The end of day 2, my Lupus was flaring. Running a fever, nauseous, throwing up, unable to eat, and in severe pain....and I was already in pain before setting out for this long journey. (but it was so worth it!)

It was a great trip aside from the fact that I didn't feel well, lol.

Three weeks into June, and there was STILL snow on the mountains!

So very beautiful!

But being out West, at a higher altitude, where the air is thin, and it's closer to the sun, is not my idea of Paradise. I NEED my humidity!

While we were out there, we also visited family in Idaho. While we were in Idaho, we bought more Idaho Flagstone, to finish my pathway. What I had, was what we brought with us when we first moved back to Florida.

Now my side yard project can be worked on/completed! I just wish I felt a wee bit better. I do have a few plants and flowers to replace after being gone, and after having the AC guys here...but that's another story.

We had a lot of fun, and a lot of laughs on our trip. But I am so glad to be home.

Friday, June 12, 2015

When it's Cold in Paradise

I know it's June, and we've been in the 90's....but,

Donna was asking about where I live that we see frost. I hate to even think of winter, ever! I don't like it at all! But, on occasion, we have it, here in north central Florida.

This was November 20, 2014 at around 6am.
I get shivers just looking at this!

Fortunately, it doesn't stay bitter cold for very long. We have little cold snaps, and then we have 80-90 degree days in the middle of winter. It's really a wonderful place to live!

I could do without the cold snaps.

I live for the warm sunny days!

My screen room plants made it quite well this past cold season. Hubby put them in the center of the room, under and around the table, with sheets and blankets surrounding them, hung from the ceiling fan...with the lights on to provide a little warmth.

I have had this plant for years. It froze really bad in 2009. I thought I was going to lose it. I'm so glad it recovered! It's a Money Tree (photo above), and started as just baby, under a foot tall. It has to be cut back every year, to keep it short enough to stay in this room.

This is one of my favorite rooms. I love the greenery!

I wouldn't say that I have a green thumb. I recently lost killed a beautiful topiary Gardenia. I may have over fertilized it? I will get another one, and I hope to keep the next one. I love the scent of them!

I'm also terrible with orchids :(  I'm going to give it another shot! I've been watching YouTube videos on orchid care. There is hope ;)

Do you have any Gardenia or Orchid care tips  for me?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Creating My Own Paradise, In Paradise

A direct quote from Wikipedia, "In paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but is not necessarily a land of luxury and idleness." I really like this statement. I think it speaks volumes.

In my quest to create tropical surroundings, I feel as if we have finally developed our own little paradise. In my home, and on my grounds, I truly feel at peace, content, happy, and prosperous in many ways.

This area grows more beautiful every day! We are always adding little touches, like the pavers in the center under the table...done! Mulch around the bananas, pineapples, and tomatoes, and my how they have grown since I took this pic a couple of weeks or so ago! It has been a work in progress for years, but really started coming together when the chain link came down, and the white vinyl fence went up.

We are currently working on a pathway from the front gate, thru the side yard between 2 garden areas, with 3 raised beds that hubby made for me. It's not quite finished, but a far cry from where it was, and certainly far better than the blank slate of a yard we started with. We barely had grass, and zero plants.

This area has a looooooong way to go, but progress is being made. I'm guessing maybe a couple more years til it's finished to what we are planning? It's still my Paradise. I'm at peace here playing in my gardens.

This little picket fence area is where my blueberry shrubs are growing! This area is now mulched in also, and looks so cute. The little fence was intended to keeps my furkids out of here...but the mulch and stone pathway is doing it, lol they hate it...or consider it off limits. Which is fine by me :)

The fish pond was moved when the fence changed....It's bigger than it looks, and we've done a little more with it. This was on the other side of the yard, but I still have my pond with waterfall by the front door.

Changes have been made in the front yard, too.

You can tell by these two photos that this was done around the end of January/beginning of Feb. Well, I can lol hubs is wearing long sleeves. Here in Paradise, we enjoy the cooler days as well :)

Hubby does the heavy lifting, and big jobs. I'm the designer, creator of art, and supervisor. I do get my hands in the dirt, I love to plant, and weeding isn't even so bad now that we've about got them under control (a layer of cardboard under the mulch. We tried landscape fabric, and Florida grew right through it!)

I am currently working on garden art. One piece at a time. And you know it's all going to be beachy, tropical, coastal, nautical, with seashells included here and there.

The only change directly in front of the house, and the front door area, was replacing the plants that did freeze, or got frostbitten. They looked terrible!

So, I'm starting over again, and will try to better protect these the next cold season. The others had gotten so big, and were just beautiful. And yes, we did plant the same plants!

I added this beautiful hibiscus about a month ago.

Check out the size of these flowers! And ignore the dog pee by the plant. That's why it was still wrapped in plastic. I know my boys...it was something new, out of place in the screen room. Boys will be boys! Even in Paradise lol.

Now it has a spot to call it's own. and a prettier pot to boot! And....the boys will leave it alone.

Something I've been wanting to do for a long time, like over a year, was to get the Waterlogue app for my Iphone. A couple of months ago I did!

I've had some fun with this!

I took this at the beach last year, when we were glamping in Crystal River. I used this to make my blog header, using the Waterlogue app.

Unfortunately for me, this Kings Crown was alive, so back he went in the water.
It was a really nice one too, look at the crown on it!!! One day I will find more :) I believe in good Karma. And it sure made a pretty blog header!

I'll try to keep a hold on my blogger cap this time. I have another laptop, so it should be better for me. I've been lost without my laptop, and the desktop computer just doesn't do it for me.

I do have a few choices, after all, and this is just a few of the hats I wear...errrr except the first one lol I left it there.

Welcome back to Paradise....
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