Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Early evening on Lake Harris

It's OUTDOOR WEDNESDAY and WATERSIDE WEDNESDAY again... Be sure to visit all the wonderful posts at Susan's place ( and at Barbara Jacksier's blog ( You will not be disappointed!

Earlier in the summer, I wrote about the Chain of Lakes in Central Florida and posted a couple of photographs of the sunset over Lake of these lakes. Lake Harris is such a beautiful place that whenever I visit my sister, we walk down the path to the lake to watch the spectacular sunsets. On this particular walk, however, I stopped to capture the beauty of her gardens and the land around the lake...

There is something magical about Spanish moss gently waving from the trees. It evokes dreams of days gone by...very "southern" and very coastal. The only time I do not like moss is after a hurricane...

Growing up on a lake near Tampa, our home was surrounded with cypress trees, filled with moss. With the high, hurricane force winds bending the flexible cypress trees, all the moss would end up on the ground...sometimes knee-deep. My brother and I were given the job of picking up this gray mass and taking it to the pit for burning. This job would take days!!! (We lived on 7 acres.) But it had to be done or the grass and bushes would die. Now please understand...this moss is not like the sterile stuff you buy at the craft's full of tiny "red bugs" which creep under your skin...and in the strangest places. The only way to kill these little critters is to suffocate them...and Mom always used fingernail polish. So not only did we have to do that dreaded job...we ITCHED for days...and had dots of bright RED nail polish all over our bodies (Mom's favorite color). Thankfully, we did not have many hurricanes!!!

This lovely pink vine is a Mandevilla Vine... It's growing up the trunk of
a Bay tree...a relative of the Magnolia. The deep color is striking all
spring and summer long and well into the fall, until the first frost.
There is Spanish Moss caught between the tree and the vine...natures way of framing her beauty...

The spiky grass-looking foliage are varieties of Day Lilies...They have finished flowering for this season, but when in bloom they are a mass of yellow-gold, red, and striped flowers.

This "ancient" turtle planter lays beside the
walkway to the deck. It is filled with
Sansevieria plant...also known as a Snake
plant...or Mother-in-Law Tongue (notice
the sharp points...I hope my tongue is not
that sharp with my daughter-in-law.

Here we are looking down a slope to the lake. There are natural limestone boulders incorporated into the garden. Here you see a variety of Ginger nestled beneath large oaks. Just beyond you see more cypress trees and the lake. Dotted along the lake are restaurants where you can tie your boat up to a dock and enjoy a meal...and often music. Our favorite little place is a "biker bar" (called that because there are always a large number of Harleys in the parking lot...but they're usually ridden by white-haired, young-at-heart Senior Citizens! Maybe they were with the Hell's Angels when they were young...). This dive has GREAT cheeseburgers.

As we strolled down the path, I noticed this "little" creature. He was enjoying a tasty meal. Isn't he wearing the most beautiful colors!
We hated to see him chow down on this plant, but he was so beautiful, we truly hated to disturb his meal.

In the warmth of the last rays of the sun, we spied this nest high in the branches of a Cypress tree. We were unable to tell if it was an Osprey or Eagle nest...but we did hear the sounds of young ones waiting for their dinner.

Look closely and you will see the pods that this tree produces. They are a pale gray/green.

My sister and I settle on the dock's benches to watch the show.
It's a different every night... and we NEVER get tired
of watching it.

As we walked back to the house, I looked down into the water to see what had just jumped, and I noticed all these Cypress "knees" sticking up from the water. Without the sun shining, the water was an eerie black color. The starkness of the gray knees and moss looked like something from a spooky movie... The night songs begin...frogs, cicadas, owls, birds... The little bats are swiftly flying about, catching their dinner... There are the flashing lights of fireflies in the rustling reeds...
And a very LARGE alligator glides by...time to go in!


Kammy said...

Hi Jane !
Such pretty pictures and soooo different then my Colorado ! Thanks for sharing !

LV said...

What a lovely place to see. You did a really great job capturing all the natural beauty of your state.

Claudia said...

In another time in my life i spent about 6 months in the south... and loved the moss growing all over the trees, people told me it would eventually kill the trees... but to me it was wonderful and very cool feeling.

thanks for sharing..

If you get a chance please stop by and say hi!

TTFN~~Claudia ♥ ♥

Kathleen said...

Beautiful! I never tire of the sunset at the beach either..and so thankful to be able to enjoy it...

Elizabeth said...

Hey, sweet lady! Your pics remind me of the part of swampy North Carolina which is my place of origin. Sniff, sniff. I am way out West. People don't know how beautiful is the South, unless they can go there, but your pictures help a lot. Thanks!

Queen B. said...

wow...that is really cool !!!!!

Bonnie said...

What a beautiful spot. Gorgeous photos.

Mary Bergfeld said...

That is such a lovely spot to visit. Factor in the company of your sister and you must really enjoy your stay on the lake. Your photos are wonderful. I hope you are having a wonderful day.

Ms. Bake-it said...

Beautiful pictures Jane! You did a great job capturing all the natural beauty of our wonderful state! I never tire of taking photos of the beauty that surrounds us.

Thank you for sharing them with us.

~ Tracy

Maya said...

I only really know coastal Florida..., I have seen the lakes on the map, and always wondered..., so thanks for the "Lake Tour"!

claudie said...

First, thank you for reading Lucy's post. I think of her often.
Second, living in Canada, I have a tree that produces those pea like things...not sure what it is, but when it's hot out they SNAP like rice crispies. The other thing is the moss trees... when we lived in Georgia, I wanted to just lay beneath one and let the win blow. The natives told me I would love to hate them... I guess we never stayed long enough to dislike them.
That turtle planter? I have NEVER seen anything like it.
Now that sunset... i'm very fortunate to live on the river, and enjoy one every night.
Do you know Sheila, Mrs. Magpie? I think I asked you this before. I spoke to her on the phone today. She has a beach house for sale in St. Augustine. I hope she doesn't sell it before I visit in March lol
Happy OW
Love Claudie

Eileen said...

I enlarged all your photos, they are really beautiful! They belong in a nature magazine, I especially loved the sunset, it looks like a postcard! I want to be there!
Great job!
All the best,

cherry said...

I felt as if I was right there with you and your sister. What a lovely post and the Cypress knees are awesome!

hugs, Cherry

Jeanne said...

I loved the part about gathering moss with bugs after hurricane winds. Leaves will be falling from our trees soon, get out the rakes. at least we won't have 7 acres of little red biting bugs.

erin's art and gardens said...

wow! love, love the spanish moss and cypress knees!! so exotic! i "clicked" on the images to super-size them...very nice and what a wonderful evening you had!

My name is Riet said...

First of all thank you for visiting me and I am glad you did because now I found you and your beautiful blog. Beautiful pictures, lovely stories to go with them.
Florida is my most favorite country in the world. We have been there at least 12 times and maybe we will be going one more time. Last time was two years ago and my husband got sick there so he said never again, but just last week he said we might be going again.
When we go this time we will only be going to Miami and the Keys. We always go to Islamorade and we love it there. So beautiful, and peacefull.
Now I keep on rambling so I better stop. I started following you. Hope you don't mind.
Have a nice day
Riet, The Netherlands

CurtissAnn said...

I very much enjoyed the tour of your magical land. I found memories there. As a child I lived in Tampa, and later hubby and I lived in Jax. I do love this southern landscape. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Anonymous said...

What a very beautiful place. I just love the way the moss hangs out of the trees, so romantic.

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Hello Jane! Who could ever grow tired of such gorgeous sunsets! Nice you were able to spend this time with your sister. I enjoyed seeing the varied plants from the Tampa area. I have grown the beautiful Mandeville at my south Jersey home in pots on the patio but they would never survive our winters unless brought inside. Do yours flower year round?

Thank you for becoming a follower and for visiting my Outdoor Wednesday post.

See you soon!
Kindly, ldh

❀~Myrna~❀ said...

What amazing pics & Such a beautiful place to live ! Thanks for sharing & thanks for stopping by.;~)
~Myrna Lee

jean Stockdale said...

What a lovely place! You did a wonderful job capturing the beauty.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my pictures of New Orleans. We enjoyed our little day trip there. I traveled with my husband on business and we stayed in the area an extra day to do some site-seeing there. It is lovely and it was good to see the city was intact (in most areas) after coming back from the brink of disaster. Some areas are still badly scarred and my heart hurt to see vacant lots where homes and buildings were demolished, but for the most part the city has survived. Blessings.

santamaker said...

Such pretty pictures. I grew up in Winter Park, so the lakes and mossy trees make me homesick. You did a great job with you photos. Thanks also for the recipe, I just don't have a clay hoo...

Amy said...

So beautiful. I have lived amongst the mountains for years now and seeing the beauty of the south and the ocean is such a contrast. A wonderful contrast!!!

Carla said...

First off I did not know the moss had bugs! Are these chiggers? Sounds like what lives in our tall grass here in ETexas. Ugh. WHAT BEAUTY!!! Thank you for sharing:) WOW!

Brenda Pruitt said...

I love the way you write. With such steady ponderings. As though you know where you're going, and you're steadily on your way.

Maria Killam said...

What a gorgeous sunset. Thank you for your lovely comment!

Phyllis @Around the House said...

I did the same an Eileen and enlarged the pictures, she is right they should be in a mag. they are wonderful, so lucky to be able to be in such a beautiful place, thank you so much for sharing those wonderful memories and pictures....Phyllis said...

Jane I just adore that pink vine - it is so pretty. Thanks for your kind comments on my blog yesterday.

Kat said...

I love the Mandevilla Vine so beautiful. Mine always die our winters seem to be to cold I guess. Have a great evening.

Ethel McEaddy said...

Thanks for the beautiful pictures of the place I live! Sometimes I don't take the time see all the beauty around me. I walk this lakefront most days (in Yalaha), and I will take extra time to enjoy, thanks to you.