Tag Archives: flowers

A visit to the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

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IMG_6509In celebration of the Florida Panther Festival here in Southwest Florida, I participated in a field trip on Friday 11/09/2012 at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Collier County, Florida. Last year, I hiked the Bird Rookery at CREW (Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed); this year, I went a little further afield. The excursion came in two parts. First, we rode along the firebreaks in a swamp buggy, learning about maintenance efforts that keep the habitat in good shape for the Florida panther’s food chain. Then, we took to the trails on foot, exploring “the clubhouse” and back-country areas that are only seen by the public perhaps twice a year. The cell phone signal was spotty, sometimes working great but other times dismal or completely absent, so I did not attempt to mobile blog the adventure. Are you ready to explore? Let’s go!

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Our leaders for the field trip were several members of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife team who maintain this refuge as well as Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, also located in Collier County. There were two swamp buggies, each of which could seat 6 or 7 participants, and about 24 people showed up. Therefore, we were split into two groups. One group hiked while the other group rode, and then we made a rendezvous and swapped places. I was in the first buggy group with my friends Charles and Vicki Wright who run Everglades Area Tours in Chokoloskee, FL, and Jacquie Roecker, hiking buddy extraordinaire and sole proprietor of Nature’s Voice Photography in Naples, FL. Jacquie and I do these things together on purpose, but stumbling across Charles and Vicki was a pleasant surprise.

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The buggies would stop along the way so the rangers could point out efforts to control overgrowth, invasive exotics, and habitat diversity. They talked with us about herbicides, fire, and hydrology. It’s been an okay summer rainy season here in Lee County, but further south there has been disappointment. They’re just not getting the rain that they should, and man’s efforts to control flooding has resulted in a complex canal system that often diverts water from where it is needed and carries it away to where it’s not. I snapped the above photo while standing on a dock out back of the “clubhouse” that should have been under water. If freshwater wetlands do not receive sufficient water in the forms of sheet flow and rainfall, then they cannot properly support the life forms that depend upon it for habitat and food.

I’ve mentioned “the clubhouse” twice now. It’s an accessible-access wooden structure, screened in, which is intended to someday house an environmental education program about the refuge in general, and specifically about orchids. The failure or success of orchids growing in the swamp is monitored closely, and with great interest. Orchids are an “indicator species” for a Florida swamp; if your habitat has them, then your habitat must be doing pretty well. A lack of them growing where they are supposed to be could indicate that environmental conditions are not right, or perhaps another species is hogging all the resources.

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Every now and then, while prowling through panther country, you come across something like this. Panthers like to use a fallen log as a scratching post. The fallen log happens to be alongside a footpath or firebreak trail that is used by humans. It doesn’t matter to the panther. Panthers like to use the trails because they will be unencumbered in their travels by understory plants. In addition to stretching and sharpening their claws on a log, panthers just plain like to play with such things, biting and wrestling and rolling it around. But how do we know that panthers like to do these things while no one is watching?

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Someone IS watching! The location of such logs is the perfect spot to install both video and still cameras. In this manner, wildlife can be observed without being disturbed at the presence of people. In addition to capturing the antics of panthers, these cameras pick up the activities of other wildlife on the preserve such as the black bear, the white-tailed deer, bobcats, and raccoons. The rangers mentioned that lately, there is evidence of coyotes moving into the refuge. I’d love to be the person who gets to review the footage :)

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Once the field trip was over, we filled out evaluation forms and took a quick turn through the newly built greenhouse, where different plant experiments were in various stages of being conducted. I snapped the above photo at pond near where we had all parked. There’s allegedly a one-legged alligator lurking in there. If there was one bee on these wildflowers, there were a billion! Jacquie and I had each packed a lunch, so we dragged our beach chairs out of our cars and sat in the shade of some ginormous live oaks dripping with epiphyte air plants, ferns, and Spanish moss. One of the refuge interns joined us and we all enjoyed being with our “tribe” for some lively discussion. I drove home contentedly, and felt the wild desire to nap when I got back to the house. An early start and lots of fresh air will do that to a person 😉

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A day of play in Southwest Florida

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Don’t you love it when you are working on something, but it barely feels like work, just because you are loving it so much? That was today! I started out meeting up with a “work day” group at Deep Lagoon Preserve, one of my county’s land conservation preserves. The county conservation land stewardship and management entity is called Conservation 20/20, and I’ve been helping them to raise their social media profile by creating and administering a Facebook page to promote interest in the preserves. This particular preserve was once a farm. Gladiolus bulbs were raised here. After that, it was turned into pasture and fenced in so the cows would not wander and cause trouble 😉 Now, it is slowly but surely being restored to it’s natural form, so that it may serve as habitat to native plant and animal species. During the height of the summer rains, this place is ankle-deep or more under water. It therefore also serves an important recharge function. There is a connection to the Caloosahatchee River and Pine Island Sound, which is salt water, and there’s some tidal flooding action that occurs as well. Therefore, the edges of the preserve are actually home to some mangroves, which I’ve recently read are very efficient processors of carbon dioxide. Worth conserving, I’d say!.

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There are dozens of native plants and wildflowers growing here. These are a variety of loosestrife. They’re on the “rare” list for this region.

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Here’s a closer view; they’re actually called winged loosestrife.

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This thistle has a visitor; he barely gave me a glance, and kept his butt in the air the whole time I was watching him.

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Thistle sans lunch guest; aren’t they pretty?

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After I was done photographing the work day (will publish soon on Facebook!), I decided to check up on a friend on the island, so off I sped, oops I mean off I sedately traveled at a speed no greater than 30 MPH 😉 over the causeway to Sanibel Island.

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After having some brunch with my friend, I decided to start at Periwinkle Place and shop my way off the island. This is the butterfly garden out back; there were no butterflies to look at, so I continued on to the little pond across the back parking lot.

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There wasn’t any action in the pond, either. There’s actually a tall berm/hill between two ponds that are sort of connected but not really, and I stood up there with a dad and his two kids, watching bubbles rise periodically from one of the ponds. We were hoping that an alligator would emerge, but if he was down there, he was keeping his own counsel and not pandering to the paparazzi this fine day.

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Coming back from the pond, I passed this tree, and spied something in one of the cubby holes…

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Tree snails live here! Upon further inspection, I saw a few empty snail shells on the ground around the base of the tree. I was reminded of the years before I lived in Southwest Florida, when my niece and I would “go shelling” in my brother’s front garden up north on the Loverly Isle of Long. Now I can just drive to a local beach and go shelling pretty much any time I want. How cool is that? :) I left the snail shells where they lie, smiling to myself.

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At last, it was time to leave the island and go home. Yes, those are storm clouds. No, it did not storm. Yes, we’re wondering when it will, too. It’s too dry here!

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Orlando Do-Over: Day 3, explorations in EPCOT



This is the SEVENTH in a series of “do-over” posts that are being created to make up for the mobile blogging errors that occurred during my last trip to Orlando.

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The “pearly gates” of Disney. Day 3 started out with a few hours of work; income is a good thing, as it supports the Disney habit, so I’m not complaining! On my way to EPCOT, I hopped off I4 at Apopka-Vineland Road. There’s a Starbucks there :) After getting my treat (I was a good little worker bee, so I deserved a treat, right?), I purposely passed the entrance, made a U-turn, and doubled back so I could stop at the light and get this picture (above) before turning into Disney property. This is “Pearly Gates, Jr.”.

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No parking mojo at Disney. The parking mojo was not too terrible; Discover 13 isn’t bad at all. It could be far worse. To be honest, I don’t really think parking mojo applies at Disney World. They’re so busy telling you where to park, it’s unlikely that mojo will have a chance to exert itself. Still, this was not terrible.

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It’s a blue sky Disney day. Ah, look at that blue, blue sky! Yes, it really IS that color. Those are jacaranda trees to the left, which grow just before Spaceship Earth/the geosphere. Next time I come back, which will be in May (conference/credits to maintain my professional certification), the jacaranda will will hopefully be in bloom. Spring came mighty early this year – I’m going to guess that everything is about three weeks ahead of schedule, all up and down the Eastern states. I’m hoping that the jacaranda will wait for me!

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Jiminy Cricket! I was not in any particular hurry on this day, so I just adopted a meandering, vague touring style. First stop – a browse through The Art Of Disney store, just to the side of Spaceship Earth, where I saw this cute little Jiminy Cricket figurine.

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Croc encounter. Next, I popped into Mouse Gear across the plaza, where I encountered the strangest pair of Crocs I’ve ever seen. It’s got a canvas upper, like a regular loafer, but the foot bed is pure Crocs. Weird!

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EPCOT’s snapdragon sea. After a satisfying browse through Mouse Gear (I want it noted: I have been in two stores full of Disney merchandise so far, and purchased NOTHING!), I became interested in examining EPCOT for signs of Flower and Garden Festival preparations. It’s rare that I’m in the Disney parks when there is NOT some sort of festival or celebration going on, so the entrance was looking a bit spare to me. I wanted signs of festivular activity! The first thing I encountered was a sea of snapdragons. They were quite impressive!

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EPCOT flower power. Just beyond the snapdragon sea, near the entrance to the Rose Walk, the flower power landscape of EPCOT was taking shape. The display on this side of the lagoon was pristine and orderly – and it smelled divine! It boggles the mind to think of how many pansies were painstakingly started, seed by seed, to become this magical landscape.

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EPCOT’s hard hat mystery men. I came upon a section that was partitioned off by a marching row of vegetation. Peering through a space in the wall, I spied a small knot of men in hard hats and safety vests, conferring seriously with one another. Who could they be, and what could they be talking about, hidden there behind the shrubbery?

NEXT TIME: The hard hat men revealed, and epicuriosity in EPCOT!


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Orlando Do-Over: Day 2, Disney’s Animal Kingdom

© Copyright 2012 | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view



IMG_1130This is the fourth in a series of “do-over” posts that are being created to make up for the mobile blogging errors that occurred during my last trip to Orlando.

The next morning, I did something unconscionable; necessary, but unconscionable. Through the miracle of the hotel wake-up call, I arose at 6:00 am, struggled into some clothes, and stumbled down to the lobby for free coffee. Back to the room I went, fixed myself an organic apple smeared with peanut butter, and sat down at the computer to work for two hours. That’s right, work. I’m currently an independent consultant, and I was on a deadline, which would not be met if I didn’t put in a few hours each day slaving away on an epic technical report. So I worked for two hours, hit the shower and then hit the road, with a stop in between for another free cup of coffee (it’s actually not bad for free coffee – also, free-trade!).

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It was past 9:30 AM when I arrived at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but apparently it was still too early for some. Here in the Oasis, the black swan slumbers persistently, despite a throng of gawkers passing by on their way into the park.

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As I made my way along the path that goes up the right side of the Oasis, I spotted these tiny lantern-like flowers blooming on a shrub. I tried to find the plant in my Audubon app, but I’m not too good at that yet so I don’t know the name.

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As it turns out, there’s construction happening on the right side of the Oasis, and the path proved impassable. Blocking the way were those familiar walls that declare activity on behalf of our future enjoyment, peppered with Walt quotes. Here’s one of my favorites; I’m a do-er, just like Walt :)

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I texted my friend Joy, who was already in the park. We agreed to meet by It’s Tough To Be A Bug, and I found her there, waiting in line to have her photo taken with Flik. We proceeded to Expedition Everest. I have video of our terrifying trip through the wilds of the Tibetan mountains. We both screamed quite a bit. The amazing thing is that I was able to hold on to the phone the entire time. I will upload the video to YouTube; in fact, I think I shall go start that now. Hold that thought…

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Although we had met earlier at It’s Tough To Be A Bug, we did not actually partake of the show until Joy’s husband Al showed up in the park. Joy and I spent some time stalking the otters for a bit; they seemed to be taking their cue from the black swan, and remained in a snoozing pile while we pleaded and cajoled for them to come on over and play. At some point, one of them looked up when I whistled, but he wasn’t interested in abandoning the pile and soon settled down again. *sigh*


Next: Lunch, and fish are friends, not food 😉



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Pathet-o-meter



Pathet-o-meter, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

If there was any doubt about how early I headed out to run this morning, then here’s the definitive indicator – it was so early, the moonflowers had not yet closed up! How pathetic is that? ROFL! 😀

There are banks of moonflowers to be found here and there throughout the park. I wonder if that means there would be lunar moths there at night?

Parasite part deux



Parasite part deux, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

This is an orchid labeled "cattleya", found growling on a strangler fig (ficos aurea, S. florida and West Indies).

While I was standing her taking the photo, a giant, spent palm frond liberated itself from a nearby tree and plunged (some things just don’t waft!) SPLOOSH into the river. As it bobbed around, a huge beetle crawled frantically all over it, trying to figure out what to do. I hope he escaped, but I wasn’t about to risk a dunk in the river to assist. No, let’s let Darwin have his way with the beetles!

Photo Friday: Sharp Focus

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Some more “messing around” with the macro focus on my Nokia N97. Man, I LOVE this phone :)

These are TINY flowers on a plant found at Bowditch Point Regional Park on Fort Myers Beach, Florida. The people we saw photographing these identified them merely as “heliotropium” so I had a tough time isolating it even with a bazillion books at my disposal. Finally found it at this site: www.regionalconservation.org/beta/nfyn/plantdetail.asp?tx… – and found it interesting that on the east side of South Florida, they are yellow, but here on the west coast, they are white, as pictured. So it’s actually a Pineland Heliotrope but I’ve also seen googled pictures identify it as a “seaside” heliotrope.

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Southwest Florida Scenery

© Copyright 2011 Tink *~*~* | http://MyMobileAdventures.com

Causeway sunsetIt’s been hot and sunny here in Southwest Florida. Late last week, the set-your-watch-by-it afternoon thunderstorm started to make appearances, although it’s not really consistent yet. Sometimes, friends on Sanibel Island say all they got was a lot of rumbling and a little spit; meanwhile, out here on the mainland, it’s pouring so hard, I can’t even see across the pond out back. Other days, they get the deluges and I don’t even get the spit! Well, it will settle in eventually, the sooner the better. I really want to turn off the irrigation system and save some bucks on the monthly utility bill.

Yet another causeway sunset shot

Here’s what sunset looked like from one of the causeway islands early last week. Also included below is a shot of one of my plumeria trees in bloom. These beautiful creamy-yellow blooms look good enough to eat and they smell absolutely outrageous. Typically, they will take a short rest and then start blooming again, right through the summer and into about October. Can’t wait for the fuschia-colored tree to bloom again!

Plumeria Report 25 May 2011

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Hey, #SWFL – Edison & Ford Winter Estates Groupon Deal!

Mina Edison in the GardenMy Mobile Adventures *~*~* mobile blogged a visit to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates earlier this month.  At $24 for the garden tour, I thought it was a BIT pricey, but $12 is a GREAT bargain!  So if you’re interested, jump on this deal – I think it will only be good for two more days (Until Monday May 30th 2011).

CLICK HERE to get a GROUPON for Edison & Ford Winter Estates Tours

Slideshow: MORE from the Edison-Ford Winter Estates

© Copyright 2011 Tink *~*~* | http://MyMobileAdventures.com

IMG_5521Here are some more photos from our great ramble around the Edison-Ford Winter Estates here in Fort Myers, Southwest Florida. The place was lively with school tour groups, flowering trees and shrubs bursting into bloom, bees bumbling, water fowl foraging – and mangoes dropping out of the trees.

I like that you’re encouraged to walk on the lawns, and that it’s not that perfectly manicured golf course stuff. Loved the story of the Edison Botanic Research Co., which was formed because both Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone needed a domestic source of rubber. The location just can’t be beat – with the beautiful Caloosahatchee River spread before them, why would they want to spend their winters anywhere else? All in all, a splendid morning.

There’s a slide show below. If you want to read the detailed commentary that goes with each photo, CLICK HERE to visit the set on Flickr. Enjoy the photos :)

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Slideshow: More Naples Botanical Garden

© Copyright 2011 Tink *~*~* | http://MyMobileAdventures.com

050320114738Lots of times, while I am out adventuring, I take pictures faster than I can mobile blog them. I also sometimes take photos with a regular camera instead of my phone. There were a couple of times this happened today while my friend Christene and I were touring the Naples Botanical Garden in Southwest Florida. I decided to go through the photos that didn’t get mobile blogged, select the ones that don’t suck and make them into a slide show for your botanical pleasure :)
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Bromeliads blooming at Naples Botanical Garden

These are so cool the way they capture the water for later

Sent from my Nokia N97

Photo Friday: Trees

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There are some wonderful flowering trees that bloom in the spring, just in time for Disney’s annual International Flower & Garden Festival at EPCOT. They bloom at varying times during the spring season. Here’s a sample from the front entrance of the park.

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In May, you can see the jacaranda trees in bloom. Planted in clusters near the geosphere, their misty lilac color melts into the steely gray of Spaceship Earth. They smell heavenly :) The bees like them even more than I do, so there’s an opportunity to observe them in the act of collecting pollen.

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Here’s a closer view of the jacaranda blooms with the geosphere and the sky as a backdrop.

Crepe Myrtle at EPCOT

Just one month later in June, the jacaranda have already stopped blooming – but the crepe myrtles are now in full force. These vines have been expertly woven over time into beautifully shaped trees. These bright pink ones stand in stately rows alongside the Leave A Legacy monuments near the geosphere. I’ve seen white ones scattered throughout the park too, most notably by the French pavilion.

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A closer view of the crepe myrtle blooms against Spaceship Earth.


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It’s just ducky in Canada

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A pair of ducks stop for a rest on the lawn of the Canadian pavilion at EPCOT.

Someday, when I grow up, I want to live in that little cabin.

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Shady glade on the rose walk

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:) EPCOT’s rose walk has the only bench that I know of in any of the Disney theme parks that has a market umbrella installed next to it. The umbrella is a testament to the fact that it’s a rare thing to find a shady spot along rose walk. There are two places where trees throw shade JUST off the walkway. Even if you can’t sit in that shade, it still brings a smidgen of relief just to look at it on a hot day.

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Epcot Flower and Garden Festival – well, except for gardenias and magnolias!

It’s a little late in the season down here in Florida tp be waiting on gardenias and magnolias, but waiting we are. I think maybe the freeze we had during the winter can be blamed. The good news is the orange blossoms smell outrageous :)

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Stalking the big, red “hidden” Mickey heads at EPCOT

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I love the banks of the lagoons at EPCOT during the International Flower and Garden Festival, because of the all the fun shapes planted into the flower beds. I’ve seen hearts, stars, half-moons and of course, “hidden” Mickey heads. Last spring, the landscaping included two huge, red “hidden” Mickey heads in these locations. One was very close to the glass pyramids that house the Imagination! attraction. The other was quite close to the butterfly house on the other side of the park. Here we go – enjoy!

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EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival drives away the winter doldrums

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During the winter time, even here in Florida it can be chilly and bleak. Right now, we’re having an unusually long cold snap, with temps plunging into the lower 30s at night and never making into the 60s during the day. So I went looking for outdoor, watery scenes full of flowers and color and spectacular skies for today’s post. Here’s EPCOT during the Flower and Garden Festival this past May (2009). The Festival will begin again in March – that’s only 2 months away! In the meantime, photographs and memories can keep us going until spring comes once more.

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Royal poinciana on the Lee Island Coast

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IMG_4434-Royal-Poinciana-Cabbage-Key:) One of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen is the royal poinciana. This tree is a native of Madagascar and is widely cultivated in the subtropical climate of south Florida. Generally, they are blooming profusely along about May of each year, but some of them are still blooming long after that, into the summer months. This one was captured in May of 2007, when my friends and I rented a boat and ran it out to Cabbage Key, a small vacation island that is part of the Lee Island Coast. I thought the color was especially striking and could not resist snapping away at it. The royal poinciana blooms in colors ranging from yellow through orange and into red. The green feathery foliage makes it doubly ornamental.

According to Wikipedia, there are lots of nicknames for the royal poinciana. It differs from country to country. But the name I like best is the one that the Vietnamese have given to this tree – the phoenix tail. There are two reasons I like “the phoenix tail” best. I like the concept of infinite opportunities for transformation, and it reminds me of Fawkes, the phoenix who lives with Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter stories. :)

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Sky travel at EPCOT

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You can get into EPCOT without ever having to set foot in the park. All you have to do is hop aboard the Walt Disney World monorail. It dips into the park before pulling into the station outside the gates.

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Depending upon where you are in the park at the time, it is possible that the monorail train will go softly whooshing right over your head – photo op!

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I was standing in a rose garden at the time these shots were taken. WHOOSH!

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The “unknown flower” at EPCOT

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
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These bright, orangey-RED flowers were found growing in a pot inside the Festival Center at the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT this past May.


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Normally when I photograph flowers at EPCOT, I look for a sign posted nearby that tells me what I’m looking at. However, for whatever reason, I don’t appear to have done that this time – and therefore, I’ve got NO CLUE what this flower is called! I tried googling, and the closest I could come up with was gerbera, but didn’t see any in this particular shade of red.

Anyone have any idea what this flower is called? Please leave a comment to let me know!

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Horse out of water at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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IMG_1459:) As previously mentioned on this blog, there is a good deal of carved statuary scattered about Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Some is carved from stone, while other pieces more resemble wood – some of it painted, some of it presented in a more natural state. Here’s a wonderful example – the figure of a sea horse, which I belive was found outside the gates of Asia, just across from one of my favorite gift shops. I like the way this one has weathered (or maybe it’s just made to look weathered!). Once again, care has been taken to ensure that he blends in with his surroundings – and as admirable as that sounds, he is, after all, a SEA horse, so why is he out in the jungle? 😆

IMG_1457These statues have plenty of places to congregate and sometimes even hide, for there is no shortage of beautiful, flowering foliage in the Animal Kingdom. Tropical trees, plants and flowers are featured prominently throughout the park. They serve as an exotic and verdant backdrop for both the real animals and the carved ones.

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Bee-auty in bloom at EPCOT

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After getting my new camera for Christmas, there was a long stretch of time before I was able to get over to Orlando again to Visit Walt Disney World – but when I did, boy was I glad I now had a camera with 10x optical zoom! I was able to capture this little guy feasting on these blossoms at EPCOT.

Todays-Flowers-Logo Scenic Sunday

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Tales in topiary at Walt Disney World

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:) Rafiki presents the newly-born Simba to his father’s kingdom. The scene, from Disney’s animated feature The Lion King, has been rendered in topiary as part of the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT.

I have fond memories of taking my two oldest nieces to see the Broadway stage adaptation of The Lion King in New York City, when they were 6 and 8 years old. Now they are 18 and 20. Where does the time go?

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Hidden Mickey in full bloom

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😉 Hidden Mickey on the shore
grow and bloom forever more!


Can you find the “Hidden” Mickey in this photo?
I’ve sort of helped to “point” you in the right direction!
°o°


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A Disney Dance of the Hours

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One of my favorite parts of Disney’s classic animated film Fantasia is set to a musical piece known as Dance of the Hours, the ballet section from Ponchielli’s opera La Gioconda. Disney’s inventive animated interpretations made classical music accessible to everyone. In this scene of the film, an assortment of ballet-dancing critters – hippos, ostriches, elephants and crocodiles – were used to portray the music’s charm and humor.

At the 2009 International Flower and Garden Festival in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park, these characters from the ballet sequence in Fantasia were represented in topiary around the Innoventions section of FutureWorld.

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Crepe myrtle, or crape myrtle? blooming at Walt Disney World

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IMG_1803-WDW-EPCOT-geosphere-pink-crepe-myrtle😉 Being a girl from the north, I hadn’t any idea that these trees that were blooming last month in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park were actually crepe myrtle That’s a link to pictures of crepe myrtle on Flickr, which includes some of the most amazing macros. It’s also a search where I spelled it wrong, like I’ve been doing all along; according to Dictionary.com, it’s actually crApe myrtle; that link yields a completely different set of photos on Flickr. Anyhow, I had to take a photo with my cell phone and send it to Twitter and this blog in order to find out what it was. Many thanks to Debbie and Wendy for their responses that day.

The most common type of crape myrtle in the United States arrived here at the end of the 1700s from Asia. I’ve read that it does best here in temperate climates where the risk of fungus is low, such as the drier parts of California and Texas.

I actually found quite a few of them growing and blooming in EPCOT that day. They were all along the front entrance near the geosphere – Spaceship Earth – and sprinkled throughout the World Showcase in various countries, most notably in France. The wind kicked up and blew the small petals to the ground in heaps. Children were playing “snow” with them, throwing handfuls up into the air. The wind trapped some in a corner and whirled them around in circles – check out this video of the crape myrtle dervish.

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Lotus in the pond at EPCOT

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:) Same pond at the China pavilion that was featured in yesterday’s post about the dragonfly gymnast :) I had to scour Google Images to figure out that this was a lotus bud, and not just a run of the mill “water lily”. Oddly, the way I finally identified it was not via the bud, but via the seed pod!

I don’t usually go in for pink much because it is not on my color chart – I’m an “autumn” – but I just love this shade. I bet it looked really pretty when it finally did bloom.

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Dragonfly gymnastics at EPCOT

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:) I found this little guy hanging out in the lily pond outside the China pavilion in Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park. I don’t know what he’s doing, but it looks like gymnastics to me! Click the photos – you’ll be taken to Flickr, and you can choose a different size to examine. You’ll see that the poor little fella’s wings are a little tattered and torn – I wonder how that happens, and how it affects his ability to fly?

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Water lilies at Disney’s EPCOT

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Found these blue-lavender water lilies reflected in the pond that sits before the China pavilion at EPCOT. There were some really fat tadpoles swimming around in there, too!

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A colorful and spicy display at EPCOT

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:) A delicately blue sky and SPICY-scented yellow marigolds help to frame a scenic view of the butterfly tent at the 2009 Flower and Garden Festival. And there we have it – this week’s entry in the Monday Meme Trifecta!

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Jacaranda in bloom at the 2009 Flower and Garden Festival

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There are several jacaranda trees planted in the courtyard right before you pass underneath Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT theme park. May is the perfect time to catch the jacaranda in bloom. The flowers are a lovely shade of lavender and they give off the most subtly sweet scent.

The jacaranda is not a native of Florida, but close enough – it’s found in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America and other subtropical and tropical regions of the world.

On the day I took these photos, I stood beneath the jacaranda breathing in the fragrance as blooms shook free in the breeze and rained down softly upon me. It was heaven!

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SNOW White at Walt Disney World

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<h2>SNOW White at Walt Disney World</h2>
(a Manic Monday post)

Click photos to see the Flickr version

Time for another Manic Monday post! This week’s prompt is “SNOW”. Well, I live in Florida, and I don’t have to deal with that stuff on a regular basis any longer! So, here’s Florida’s version of “Snow” – White, that is 😀

EPCOT, April 22nd, 2004 – alone –

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and with Dopey

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DISNEY-MGM STUDIOS, April 24th 2004

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Love the waves in her skirt on this one –

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With a few of the Seven Dwarfs –

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November 5th 2004 – a mural in the queue for the Snow White ride at Magic Kingdom –

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May 28th 2005, EPCOT, Flower & Garden Festival –

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May 12th 2007, EPCOT, Flower & Garden Festival (and I’m afraid I chopped off her hair bow) –

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May 24th 2008 – EPCOT, Flower & Garden Festival. Those of you who have been reading here for a while should recognize this as “Sky, Ho! Sky, Ho!”, a Skywatch post –

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Tiny RED Flowers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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title goes here
(a Ruby Tuesday post)

One of the things I love about Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the beautiful environment that has been created to showcase the animals. I’ve heard it said that there are over 4,000 varieties of plants and trees at DAK. One day in October 2008, I stopped to experiment with the macro button on my camera. Since Mary has suggested macro shots for today’s Ruby Tuesday, I went searching for a few of these experimental shots.

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Messing around with macro shots in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. These tiny red and fuschia blooms were perfect subject for the experiment.

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This is what those tiny red blossoms look like before they unfurl; tight, red, almost like little beans.

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