Thursday, September 12, 2013

The End of Summer: Flowers and Bugs

Summer won't really be over here until about Halloween, but I have lived in the South long enough now to see the signs that it is wrapping up. Afternoons don't have the punch of heat like they used to. I can actually get out and walk without looking like I've been swimming. Ick. Sweat. Not my favorite thing. There is that afternoon breeze that whispers, "Fall is almost here! Yeah!"

Dragonflies start showing up in groups. I don't know if they are mating or just hanging out enjoying the fine weather, but you usually see them alone earlier in Summer. This is the Emperor Dragonfly. He's big and beautiful. About the length of my hand, going by the last one I found (who had expired in the pool.) We found a baby dragonfly (also expired) but have no idea which kind he might have grown up to be.

Also found this time of year is the appearance of what the locals call Carpet Weed. Not a nice name for such
a beautiful, delicate vine, but it grows fast and will soon be covering up fences and pastures, so I understand why a farmer might not like it so much. It is Cypress Vine. Similar to Cardinal Climber, but different leaves. The leaves on Cypress Vine are fern like and the flowers are about the size of dimes, and the deepest scarlet. Little star shapes. I adore them.

The Bleeding Heart vines are also putting out a big effort before Fall arrives. Deep pink and they drape down over trees and fences like miniature grape clusters. This is one I drive past every week on my way to and from church. I love it when there is color. Everything is usually green. Just green. Oak leaves and pine leaves and kudzu. Palm trees and out of bloom azaleas and magnolia trees and others. I bet you have never heard of a Popcorn Tree. Unless you've lived here. (It makes white clusters of flowers and in the fall the leaves change to beautiful gold and red shades before dropping.)

The Showy Rattlebox should be showing up soon along road sides and in culverts.
I had to look it up under Northwest Florida Wild Flowers. It gets very tall, like Hollyhocks, and the flowers remind me of Snapdragons. The flowers drop and they are replaced by pea pod-looking things. Seeds in a package, I suppose.

 Someday I am going to figure out how to get these pics to line up side by side.

Last of all, and most people dread them, the Love Bugs. Little black things with orange heads. Attached to each other at the rear, hence the name. Swarming harmlessly all over your car at red lights. Not getting out of the way when you are driving. A local saying is that the only natural enemy of the love bug is the grill of a vehicle. It can be frustrating. But it is great for business at the car washes!  I'll spare you the pictures of that.

I am working on quilting two Halloween quilts I have made for the grandbabies.

I will show pics of them as soon as they are quilted and bound. Hopefully before too long. Halloween candy and costumes are already in the stores. Another sign that Summer is almost over!!