'scene' along the way, a second look, attention to detail, bugs, Florida landmarks, flowers, gardens, life goes on, making memories, nature, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, perseverance, photography

A quick trip through the botanical gardens…

I had to go to the bank the other day, and since it’s practically next door to the Spring Hill Botanical Gardens a stop seemed in order. But, unfortunately, the butterflies weren’t very plentiful while the no-see -ems certainly were. Consequently it was a quick trip, but not so quick that I didn’t notice all the changes that they have been making at the garden. First of all this sculpture, which is in progress. At the base of the wing you see a disruption in the tree trunk, which I’m sure is why the tree was sacrificed and this sculpture is being made. A beautiful solution. I hope it will be finished the next time I’m here.

Not everything was new however, just seemingly rearranged enough to make it look new. Namely the castle in the feature photo, I hadn’t ever seen it from that side before. I liked that picture.

I love this little scene and take a shot of it every time I go here, but I never sit down.
I suspect that this is a moth, they only flying insect that posed for me.
Just one of a few angels…
Looking for dew on the flowers…
This little scene is one I wish I could walk into and sit a while.

By this time my ankles were so itchy that I was ready to leave. I need to actually use the bug spray that is always in my car, but I forget it’s there. I’m hoping that the hot weather will let up soon, it has been keeping me close to home for a while now. I shouldn’t complain, soon we will be enjoying the weather that drew us to move to Florida in the first place…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, blessings, bugs, butterflies, exploring new places, family, flowers, friends, fun, making memories, natural wonders, perseverance, photography, road trip

Those hazy views…

We looked into the haze at every stop along Skyline Drive. I don’t know if it was better or worse than usual while we were there, but it didn’t stop us from taking shot after shot at every overlook we came to. A couple of days ago I mentioned my previous trip there when the pop-up camper popped off the hitch of my car, and how I just headed for home after that. What I didn’t mention is that my cousin was a supervising ranger at Skyline Drive for 21 years, and that he lives in the area. We had lunch with him on Cape Cod while we were there, but he wasn’t going to be back home when we got to his area the next week. So imagine my surprise when I posted a picture of a surprise engagement shot I got on our first day on the drive, and he commented that his farmhouse is in the background of the shot. Small world and lucky accident of timing, it all factored into the shot, which I love all the more now.

They are strangers to me, but I wish I had approached them to say I had photos. Someone else took pictures and I assumed it was a friend of theirs, or a professional photographer, so I kept quiet. I regret that now.
I don’t know these people either, but I was waiting for them to clear out so I could take a picture of the sign. Then I decided that someone else’s memory-in-the-making would make my photo more of a story. Did I walk on the Appalachian Trail? Of course not, I do photos as a ‘drive-by’ of sorts, content with the overview rather than the details.
Okay, sometimes I take close ups. This fawn showed up just as we got onto Skyline Drive. Then he turned out to be the only wildlife we saw in three days oof driving the winding roads of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
What was odd about the views was that everything close to you was so clear, the distant view was hazy. The color was great. The not-so-great skies meant that the light was softer so your foregrounds looked great. And there were flowers in your foregrounds, and lively butterflies who challenged you to get their photo.
And when I got lucky I spotted bees too.
And yellow butterflies that spread their wings for you.
And yellow butterflies on pink flowers.

There are so many pictures that now I find them hard to group into a cohesive story. The iPhone will tell me where the pictures were taken, and when, which is helpful provided I also took a few shots with my phone as well as the camera. As we approached home I said that I didn’t know when I’d be ready for a long trip like this one was, but the thought of a couple of days here and there is already sounding like a good idea.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, Amazing artwork, bugs, butterflies, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, life, life goes on, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

It’s all about the bees…

Heritage Gardens was supposed to be about the hummingbirds. I was there two years ago and came across a shrub that was just off the walking path and the flowers there were making the hummingbirds very happy. And the hummingbird moths too. So in my usual way I totally expected them to be right there waiting for me to take more pictures of them this time. So much of life has changed in the last two years, why should I expect the hummingbirds to be carrying on in the same way? I’ve certainly chosen a bit of a different path for myself these days, I guess they can too.

I was attracted to the intense blue and purple colors of this hydrangea.. The bee was a bonus.
Gorgeous hollyhocks.
The charming windmill.
Chipmunks are so cute, and we don’t see them in Florida.

Wait, I said this was about the bees, didn’t I?

Orange bee…
Pink bee…
Purple bee…
Oops, this is a butterfly!

Lego sculptures were found throughout the gardens.

Same picture from this angle…
And then from this angle.
And now we see how this was done…

We had such a nice day. And when we got back my friend got to reunite with two close friends from childhood for the first time in over 20 years. After all my travels and reconnections these past few years I know just how great that feels. What a very nice day.

'scene' along the way, a second look, bucket list, bugs, Florida landmarks, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, Just do it, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip, silliness, weather

And furthermore…

Bok Tower Gardens is, of course, a garden, so we did see some flowers and beautiful vistas.

Do I know what this is? No, I don’t, but I like it.
The same with these, and I’m too lazy to look them up.
In the beginning.
In full bloom.
This looks like the plant from The Little Shop of Horrors, so I think that bug had better watch out.
There were angels in the garden, watching over the children.
And bee boxes to house the bees that don’t live in hives. A fact I learned at Felt’s Preserve.
You have now entered the children’s garden where there were endless opportunities for kids to climb, jump, run, and just about anything else they could think of.
There were fairy houses in the children’s gardens.
This is my favorite fairy house.
I loved the images in stone on the pathways.
There was a walk across an expanse of lawn to see this vista. I hurried to take a picture because we could hear the horde of orange-shirted kids approaching behind us. When they got to the hill one of the boys fell to the ground and rolled down, and I kicked myself for not getting the picture.
And then this happened. I should have expected it, since kids will be kids.
And sometimes grown-ups act like kids too!

It was fun to spend time with old friends and make a couple of new friends also. The rain and thunder held off just long enough for us to make the most of the trip to Bok Tower Gardens. And it left us wanting to return, eventually.

'scene' along the way, adventure, bugs, dragonflies, exploring new places, finding my way, flowers, fun, gardens, Just do it, live and learn, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Newhall Audubon Preserve…

My young cousin and I had a conversation the other day about taking the detours that you see along the highways of life. She says she always takes the detour if she is traveling with time on her hands. I always feel like I spotted them too late to take the turn, or I think I have nowhere to pull the car over safely. There are missed photo ops that have been living in my head for many, many years. And while I missed a great potential shot the other day, I later hung a right at Newhall Audubon Preserve, a quick but worthwhile stop. Stopping to smell the roses, so to speak. I need to do that more often…

I confess that heading down a path like this by myself doesn’t always feel safe. Other hikers are a welcome sight.
The views are often lovely.
I didn’t walk the path around the little lake.
There were no big fat bumble bees, just tiny little ones.
Oops, one fat bee.
Loblolly pines are amazing. So tall and straight, I’m sure they were prized for timber. But taking a picture is almost impossible, except from this angle.
So very tall.
This isn’t the butterfly I had in mind, but he’ll do.
I loved seeing this dragonfly’s shadow.

After a short while I got back on A1A, knowing that just beyond the beautiful houses I was seeing on my left as I drove south, there was the ocean. I passed up one beach access turn off, I guess I hadn’t quite learned my own lesson, but I took the second one. I was catching on…

The ocean has my heart.
'scene' along the way, adventure, bugs, butterflies, Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Preserve, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, nature, perseverance, photography

Into the woods…

I tagged along with my friends into the woods at the Chassahowitzka Wildlife preserve yesterday, which always involves lots of fun. And bugs, lots of bugs. We took pictures of some of them and swatted many more.

And not only bugs, we also found a deer, a fox squirrel, and we had to search but we did find the baby alligators we were looking for. I can almost say that they are cute, but they are alligators so they won’t be cute for long. And they were calling for their mother, I think we were distressing them. We didn’t see her though, but chances are good that she wasn’t far away.

You do have to wonder what happened here. Maybe someone was extra anxious to jump in the water at Eagle’s Nest for some scuba diving. Or something like that…