Christmas Poinsettias

People around the world buy these interesting tropical plants as an indoor natural Christmas decoration. I bought two last year and after Christmas decided to plant them in my garden so I would have my own outdoor Christmas Poinsettia this year since they are native to Central America. And surely you know that they do not have a flower but the top layer of leaves turn red around Christmas. Well, I kept watching mine in the garden as it got closer to December and now Christmas and MINE STILL HAVE NOT TURNED RED!

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So like any good internet user, I Googled it and found . . .

“The Poinsettia is a light sensitive plant. When you deprive the plant in its full leafing stage of light, the only chlorophyll used to turn the leaves green cannot be produced. As a result of this total darkness and lack of light, the only color that will be produced is red. This is called photoperiodism.”

~from the internet

I’ve seen red ones in other gardens here but this quote makes it sounds like I needed to cover them from the sun in my garden to get red. Then by reading further online in this article on How Poinsettias Turn Red, I learned that the two I bought from the supermarket last year are hybridized by nurseries as indoor plants and yes would have turned red if I had given then weeks of darkness. BUT, the ones in other gardens here that bloom are “wild poinsettias” which have somehow developed a way to turn their leaves red to attract pollinators. Wow! Nature is amazing and interesting! So . . . if I want them blooming in my garden, I need to get wild ones!   🙂   Oh well, I tried!   🙂

Now, to get my red, I bought two new ones again this year, one little and one bigger one and I now have Christmas red inside my house, just not in the garden!   🙂   But most importantly I’m trying to “live Christmas every day!”   🙂   And hope you are able to do that too! Be Merry!

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“Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day.”

~Helen Steiner Rice

¡Pura Vida!

Golden Orb Spider

She was in my garden today and the first time I have ever seen a web by one of these Golden Orb Spiders that was actually gold in color, though hard to see in the photo. I assume that is how they got their name, but most of the webs I’ve seen in the past with them looked no different from other spider webs, dirty white. Nice to see a “golden” one!   🙂

“The spider’s web: She finds an innocuous corner in which to spin her web. The longer the web takes, the more fabulous its construction. She has no need to chase. She sits quietly, her patience a consummate force; she waits for her prey to come to her on their own, and then she ensnares them, injects them with venom, rendering them unable to escape. Spiders – so needed and yet so misunderstood.”
― Donna Lynn Hope

Check out my More Insects CR (65+ species) for more interesting bugs in Costa Rica!  🙂

¡Pura Vida!

Oh, the Places I’ll Go!

Monday I’m off to Arenal Observatory Lodge in Arenal Volcano National Park with my choice room reserved again – #27 – where my deck looks up at the volcano and out past the bird feeders to Lake Arenal over which the suns sets each evening in brilliant colors!

I was there a year and a half ago and you can see why I like it in my trip photo gallery: 2018-May 4-9 – Arenal Observatory Lodge.  It is truly one of my favorite places and I’m beginning to return to such more often now, where there are more birds than I will every photograph! (An “official” birding hot spot.) Plus waterfalls, trails, horses, a farm, beautiful scenery, good food, and a comfortable room with more places nearby to visit. And I will probably relax more this time without the rush of trying to see and do everything the first time!   ¡Tranquilo!

“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

¡Pura Vida!

Flowers Inside

A little bouquet from my garden and supplemented with some cheap fresh cut flowers from the supermarket as here. As much as I enjoy my garden, it’s nice to have flowers inside occasionally.   🙂

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“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”  – Henri Matisse

¡Pura Vida!

Garden Remodel Yesterday

Yeah, I recently added the white caladium border and another little improvement, but this was a BIG change! With 2 hours of rain delaying some of the work, my gardeners spent most of the day on my flower garden yesterday including buying all the plants, soil & rocks. It was for a requested restructuring and elimination of some invasive plants.

The results will look better in a week or two, but we needed to get it done now because the rainy season will end in mid to late November and new plants need rain. I am so fortunate to have such a good crew to do work that is much more difficult for me now.

I’ll update the blog from time to time on the garden, but tell you now that they added a new “feature plant” at the corner by my door called in English an “Elephant Foot” plant which you can see in one photo with the “Elephant Ears” behind it!   🙂    It will grow and bigger ones are beautiful! Much of the other is for color without competing plants and providing a little more cohesive, flowing look to the garden with mounds of new dirt adding to the flow. In a few weeks it will be great! And the Elephant in a year or two!   🙂

Garden Crew Working

 

The New Garden

Please click an image & do manual slide show.

Life begins the day you start a garden.     – Chinese proverb

¡Pura Vida!

 

 

Guachipelín Butterflies

Here’s some butterflies I photographed on the hotel property during my stay there. The only two that are new species to me (if labeled correctly) are the Felder’s White and the Blue & White Heliconian. Love them all!

“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”
~William Shakespeare

Guachipelín Butterflies

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

 

The caterpillar among the photos appeared on my leg right at the hem of my shorts. The Hot Springs attendant took a flat rock and scooped him up then on to the flower on which I photographed him. He looked scary at first, thus today’s quote:

“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

¡Pura Vida!

Hacienda Guachipelín

And by the way, I’m home now for at least 3 weeks! I’ll wrap up these reports, a gallery and photo book soon on this interesting “wild west” vacation. Then prepare for a relaxing repeat visit to Arenal Observatory in November.

Arrival Day Photo Overload

By the time I get to a place and settle in I usually have less than half a day there but seem to get as many or more photos as other days – the excitement of a new place I guess!   And so it was yesterday at Hacienda Guachipelín!   🙂

So to spare you, I’m saving today’s birds and butterflies for another day and putting today’s other photos in slide shows so it won’t look like so much.   🙂

Airplane Shots

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Hotel Grounds

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Hotel Mirador (Vista Point)

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Hotel Flowers

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“Wherever you go, go with all your heart”    –Confucius

 

¡Pura Vida!

The Craziness of My Passion

Yesterday I hired Walter to drive me to the three hotels within an hour and a half from my house to deliver the photo books I made about the three hotels:  Jaco-Carara Birding Hotels.  (Click to preview the book.)

I visited these 3 hotels in March, June and July this year and because they are all in the same area of Costa Rica near Jaco Beach and Carara National Park I decided to do one photo book instead of three, thus the title and combination of photos. A nice book if I do say so myself, with a large variety of coastal and forest birds and other wildlife plus the best sunset photos yet and an interesting sunrise photo I used for the front cover. Check out this book about Punta Leona Hotel, Villa Calletas Hotel and Macaw Lodge by clicking the above link. An electronic “Preview” is free!

Walter picked me up at 10 am and I was home by 3:30 pm which included a super lunch at Villa Calletas which the book notes as the best of the three for food (according to me)!   🙂

Why would I spend as much money on delivering 3 copies of the book as I did on printing them? Because I’ve had 2 hotels not receive their book through the mail and most of all I’m passionate about making nature photos and sharing them, especially with the people who helped me make them and love the nature of their surroundings as much as I. One young hotel employee was thrilled to see his work surroundings depicted in a photo book – his smile alone made the trip worthwhile!   🙂

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”       ― Mother Teresa

Visit my Bookstore  for other such books.

¡Pura Vida!

Couple of Skippers

Possibly the most common broad category of butterflies  in Costa Rica is the Skippers and there are 3,500+ species of Skippers!

Though I may have seen both of these before, I don’t believe I have previously named them or shared photos of either.

DISCLAIMER: Uniquely colored butterflies are easier to identify than the thousands of brown Skippers which are very difficult to identify, even if in the book or online (and all are not). Thus no guarantee of the accuracy of these identities!   🙂

Skipper – Gold Costa

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Gold Costa Skipper

 

Skipper – Common Brown

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Common Brown Skipper

 

“Just living is not enough, said the butterfly, one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”    – Hans Christian Anderson

¡Pura Vida!

 

See my Butterflies & Moths of Costa Rica Photo Gallery – 85+ species!

For most identities I use the book A Swift Guide to Butterflies of Mexico and Central America: Second Edition

Another joy of being Retired in Costa Rica!

🙂

Of the Marvelous – Trip Book

Sorry there were two posts yesterday, the old man gets flustered on the computer sometimes and makes mistakes! I intended for one of those today and this one for tomorrow, but here it is anyway! 🙂

I think this is one of my best books yet on travels around Costa Rica, this one about my week in Uvita on the southern Pacific Coast, whale-watching, many birds and other wildlife, sunsets, a river trip and visiting one of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve seen yet in Costa Rica, Nauyaca Waterfall, my 27th waterfall to photograph here!

You may see or “Review” every page of the book electronically for free without having to order. Enjoy another one of my tropical adventures in Costa Rica!     ~Charlie

The book:     https://www.blurb.com/b/9678019-of-the-marvelous

Or click the book cover image:

Click to PREVIEW this book online for free

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
~Aristotle

And for even more photos see my “Trip Gallery” 2019 Cristal Ballena, Uvita

¡Pura Vida!