The Garden in January

I often think January can be a bit of a dreary month no matter where you are.  All the lovely decorations have been safely stored away for another year and there are a few more weeks ahead before we can begin to safely say its spring.  Early mornings here have been a little chilly but no frosts yet, although I think we may have come close on a couple of occasions.  At this time of year I always look at the nighttime temperatures for the week ahead – just in case!

Despite it being fairly mild I still put food out for the birds as I enjoy watching them when I am outside.  The berries around the garden which they normally eat are still on all the bushes and I haven’t seen the flocks of robins which often pass through here in winter stripping the bushes and the pyracantha in minutes.

 

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Young Cardinal

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Male Cardinals are always bossy at the bird feeder

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The occasional Woodpecker gets a look in.  You usually hear them before you seem them!

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Carolina Wrens are another noisy visitor although I had to look carefully to find this one as it was well hidden against the old palm tree.

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The vine that is creeping up this tree is a Passion Flower.  People find them aggressive but this one seems to be keeping itself contained to this one area and with blooms like this I have no choice but to secretly love it.

There is still plenty flowering in the garden and many of the perennials and container plants are loving the cooler temperatures.

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Salvias such as this Salvia Amistad are really flowering prolifically as is a new Salvia I am trying this year – a paler blue Salvia Uliginosa.

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The flowers that I really relish at this time of year, however are the orchids.  I am definitely not an orchid connoisseur and I am still trying to commit the different ones to memory, but I have really started to take an interest in them of late.  They seem to be such a reliable plant in Florida with just a little care. Mine bloom in winter and early spring.  Over the years I have added to the collection and they reliably send up a flower spike or two year after year, as long as I can protect them if it gets too cold.  Most of them are Phalaenopsis or Moth orchids but I have started to collect a few Oncidium and Dendrobium too.

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During the summer months I put all the pots outside in semi-shade.  They love the summer humidity and the rain, as long as their roots can drain freely.  Occasionally they get repotted into bigger pots and perhaps a little sprinkle of orchid fertilizer but other than that they require little fuss and attention.  I have even started attaching some to trees in a small area of the garden, making a little mossy ball around the roots and attaching it with wire or string to a tree branch.  As the orchids attach themselves, I simply cut the anchor free.

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Orchid roots growing around the branch – it’s quite an amazing sight.

I love these pictures taken after a passing rain shower.  The whites look so lovely and refreshing with the rain drops.

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I usually forget which colors are which so it’s a nice surprise when a bud finally opens to reveal the color inside.  I rather like this soft lemon color.

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The different colors just seem to glow in the evening light.

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This one is a new Vanda orchid, a little more tender than the others and very striking.

IMG_3222Other orchids which are not out in the garden are on the porch, either to enjoy out there or sometimes to be brought indoors too.

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Another Phalaenopsis and some Oncidiums potted up.  Some of the Oncidiums smell like chocolate!

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If the weather is not too bright outside they can certainly add some color to an indoor display and once they are done flowering can go back outside again to wait for next winter.

Hope you enjoyed a little orchid color for January!


25 thoughts on “The Garden in January

  1. I certainly did enjoy your orchids, Kate! It must be a bit like paradise to be able to grow orchids in the trees. Since seeing your orchid posts on IG over the last few months, I’ve moved my remaining live orchid plant out onto the patio. I do think it looks happier there than it has indoors, where there is just no relief from the dry air. At least one new leaf has emerged 🙂 Getting it through the summer may be a good deal harder but well worth a try!
    I’m intrigued by your bird pictures too: much-loved species we had during summer months in the Midwest. Carolina wrens built nests here and there, from a bin full of lumber inside the barn, to a half-empty bag of perlite I had stored in the BBQ area. I didn’t even know they were in the bag until the babies started to leave the nest… 😉

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    1. Hello Amy! Thank you so much for visiting. You are always so sweet and generous with your comments. Glad you liked the orchids! I am learning more and more about them each year and they are very rewarding. Even though I like to bring them into the house, I think you are right that they really prefer to be outside and certainly the flowers last longer. Glad you liked the bird photos too. I smiled when you mentioned the antics of your wrens in the mid west as the ones here do exactly the same thing and build nests in the strangest of places. How amazing that you never even knew they were there! I find that mine seem to build several nests before Mrs Wren settles on which one she prefers! The last one was in a hanging basket and needless to say I couldn’t water it so I just had to have dead plants until the babies had gone!
      Have a lovely weekend and thanks again!
      – Kate

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    1. Thank you so much Heather! I really love the different Salvias we can grow here and there are so many different ones to try as well. Have a lovely weekend!
      – Kate

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  2. Lovely photographs of your visiting birds Kate, the Woodpecker is similar but less marked than the UK ones here and the pots and perennials look quite summer like, what sorts of temperatures would you expect there? Do you leave the Orchids grown in your trees to over winter outside or can you prise them loose again from the trees. Moving from here to a different climate must take some adjustment but I can imagine grey drizzle must be a thing of the past.

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    1. Hello Julie! I’m so glad you liked the photos of the feathered visitors to the garden! Generally we are very lucky with the weather here throughout winter. I would say our daytime temps are about 70F so that is about 20C approx, so it is lovely to be outside. We do get the occasional frost and if we are really unlucky a freeze at night but it doesn’t happen too often. I do love the fact that we don’t get too many grey drizzly days either! Although, sometimes in the summertime that actually sounds rather lovely!! The orchids that I have in the trees are just left there. I can wrap them quickly with some burlap if I think it will get cold but I also think having the protection of the trees helps a lot too. So far so good! Thanks as always for visiting and for your lovely comments. Hopefully you are getting some lovely feathered visitors to your garden this winter too.
      – Kate

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  3. This is such a pretty post, full of wonderful photos of flowers and birds! I enjoyed seeing the lovely photos of your orchids. I have one Phalaenopsis which has been in flower continuously since I won it in a raffle three years ago and a Cymbidium which doesn’t flower very often at all! I love the way you are training your plants onto the trees in your garden; they look so exotic there!
    I adore salvias too – there are so many different ones – the ‘Amistad’ is gorgeous and is a favourite of mine.

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    1. Thank you so much Clare! I’m so glad you liked all the photos. Well done for doing so well with the Phalaenopsis – my family in England always struggle with them so you are obviously giving it exactly what it needs! England always has so many lovely salvias. I have only seen the Amistad for sale here just this year and I was so happy to finally find one. The other salvia I saw when I went to Petersham Nurseries with my sister and I was so taken with it I had to look it up when I came back to the USA and order it online! It seems to like it here so I hope it will continue to do well.

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  4. Hi Kate! From the birds to the orchids, this post is a feast for the eyes. Everything is just beautiful in your gardens! How wonderful to be able to leave your orchids outside.
    The weather has just been amazing, and I’ve been taking advantage of it, getting outside as much as possible. I am sure that you are doing the same. Enjoy your lovely garden…thanks for sharing it. _Janice

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    1. Thank you so much Janice! You are always so kind and generous with your comments. I’m glad you liked the photos for this month. It has been lovely being outside hasn’t it? Its nice being able to put a jacket on for a change and enjoy the cool air and sunshine. Have a lovely week!
      – Kate

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  5. Love the photos! May I ask what lens you use to get the bird pics? I also love the passion flower– I want to plant one myself this spring. I love the orchids living on the tree– I have a staghorn fern I need to do something with, just not sure exactly yet. This is my second one, since I killed the first one accidentally!

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    1. Hi Wendy! Thank you so much. I got a new zoom lens for Christmas so I have been trying it out a lot recently. This one is a Canon EF 70-300mm (not that the measurements make any sense to me but I know that I can zoom in pretty close!!) I am trying hard to better my photography skills and I have to admit this lens is really cool. Its pretty hefty though and would probably be a lot better if I used a tripod all the time! Glad you liked the Passionflower. They really are amazing. I would love a Staghorn Fern! I have never owned one but I have seen quite a few around here hanging from people’s oak trees, so its on the list!

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  6. Kate, your orchid collection is just wonderful! As is everything in your garden! I also feed the birds even though it’s been warm out and enjoy seeing which ones come to visit each day. And I especially love the Carolina Wren – they sing so beautifully. I always love looking at your photos – you have such a lovely home and garden!!!

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    1. Hello Lynn! Thank you so much for your lovely comments! I know that you are a bird lover too and take the most wonderful photos of the beautiful ones that visit your garden. I guess there is always a debate about whether to feed them or not but I just love to. Also, they are so used to me now that they get really upset and noisy if I am out there and the feeders are empty – especially the Cardinals! Hope Mr Chirpy is still visiting and doing well!

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  7. Orchids growing on trees! Now I know your garden is a paradise! I also enjoy watching all the birds in the winter garden. I have mixed feelings about those cute woodpeckers, however. For some reason they think the stucco on the front of our house is wood! We are constantly having to chase them away and patch up holes.

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    1. They try to drill through your house?!! I shouldn’t laugh but that is too funny – what crazy woodpeckers. We obviously have well behaved ones here, although this brought back a memory of North Carolina when we had a home in the woods and they used to drill on the gutters and wake us up! Thank you as always, Deb for your kind comments.

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  8. How amazing! I’ve never seen orchids attached to trees like that . I’ve just started growing a few that I bought at Lowes, and they are still a mystery to me. Thanks so much, Kate, for sharing these beautiful images! -Beth

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    1. Thank you so much Beth! I know what you mean about them being a bit of a mystery! I have a lot to learn about them but mine seem to prefer life if I don’t fuss with them too much. I think our summer humidity, whilst being unpleasant for us, is exactly what they love and I always think it is amazing and quite exciting to see that flower spike coming up and wonder what color it will be! Just think – you will be able to fill that lovely porch with them all!
      Thanks again and have a lovely week!
      – Kate

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  9. Quelle merveille que vos orchidées Kate ! Elles sont absolument magnifiques et cela est tellement exotique pour moi de les voir fleurir en plein mois de janvier et … sur vos arbres ! (mais bon, vous êtes en Floride !). Je vois que nous avons la même passion pour les oiseaux du jardin. A la différence, que, malheureusement, le Cardinal rouge n’a pas fait le voyage jusque chez nous (quel superbe oiseau !). C’est effectivement un plaisir de les nourrir et donc de pouvoir les contempler à loisir. J’espère qu’Oliver se contente également de simplement les regarder 😉 Merci chère Kate d’avoir partagé les beautés de votre jardin de janvier ! C’est un rayon de soleil pour nous qui, au nord de la France, gelons un peu ces derniers jours … Bonne semaine Kate !

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    1. Hello Virginie! Thank you so much for your lovely comments! I’m glad you liked the different orchids – we are very lucky that they do so well here in Florida and it is nice to have something so exotic flowering in January! I’m glad also you liked the photos of the different birds – I try to show a little of Florida in each post and I love to see the different photos you take of yours. Oliver is very well fed and hopefully that means that he is happy to leave them alone, although I notice his tail twitching back and forth as he watches them! I think he seems more interested in the squirrels but as they are a lot faster than he is, hopefully they are safe too! Hopefully spring will not be too far away for you and then I can enjoy all your lovely spring photos from over here!
      Have a lovely weekend!
      – Kate xx

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