In a Blur

In a Blur – How I feel 2 days after surgery – but all is well – saw doc today. Physical Therapy starts soon. And photo from my garden yesterday is a red ginger with background blurred. Happy day to you!

Captured at Home This Week

Desert Rose
Is becoming a favorite while it blooms!
Home Garden, Atenas, Costa Rica

Heliconia
Home Garden, Atenas, Costa Rica

Heliconia – Fewer of these blooming now.
Home Garden, Atenas, Costa Rica

Red Ginger
My most faithful year around bloomer!
Home Garden, Atenas, Costa Rica

My photo gallery FLORA & FOREST

Flowers Up Close and Personal

 

Heliconia & Blue Plumbago
My Garden, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica
Red Ginger among the Maraca Plants
My Home Garden, Atenas, Costa Rica
“Parrot Flower” or a type of Heliconia

Fern
My Home Garden, Atenas, Costa Rica

See also my photo gallery of Flora & Forests

My New Toy: Macro Lens

Not the expensive one, just a simple Canon 100mm zoom, 1:28, Image Stabilizer (for hand-held) and auto focus. Here’s a few flowers with it and MY VERY FIRST HIBISCUS in my garden! I only recently got the plant which is slow-growing, but here’s the first bloom!

 

Hibiscus
My Garden, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

 

Once de Abril  (haven’t found an English name yet)
My Garden, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

 

Heliconia
My Garden, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

 

Plumbago
My Garden, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

 

Red Ginger
My Garden, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

 

Porter Weed
My Garden, Roca Verde, Atenas, Costa Rica

I think I did okay on close-ups of flowers before with a telephoto lens from a distance, but this is suppose to be better! It has the capability of a 1:1 ratio if I get close enough. Insects will be more difficult because they scare off, so I’ll probably continue with my 300 mm for them. Though, note the little tiny ant on the Porter Weed above.  🙂 And it is so nice having flowers blooming year around!

My Flora & Forests photo gallery

A Walk In the Garden!

Step into my main garden from the driveway or back door of house.
Surrounded by the trees and other flowers of neighbors.
You know you are in a tropical place!

Out my backdoor you are greeted by a pottery bird garden-art by Anthony.
Anthony Jeroski will soon be moving into the house across the driveway since
Don & Lynda just moved back to the states. Anthony & I have plans for
a garden-art bird nest made of wood & wire that will feature a glass egg
made by my Nashville friend Kevin Hunter. I think you will like it Kevin!

Here a garden is really your whole yard and terrace and that is true for me.
With watering during the dry season, my “front yard” jungle has grown,
especially the Cecropia or Guarumo tree, many palms & flowers on a slope.

One is a Nance Tree which by July will have little yellow fruits I can eat! 

Bougainvillea is blooming on my terrace and down below on the slope.
There was not one here when I came and I consider it the quintessential
tropical flower I got used to in Florida and The Gambia. I have two now! 

Once de Abril Planta or 11th of April Plant is what my gardener calls it.
It is becoming very tall and full shrub, adding to my privacy screen and
it blooms year around with seasonal yellow berries that birds eat quickly.
It is one of my favorite plants and was a surprise gift from my gardener.
The 11th of April is Juan Santamaria Day, our only war hero.
He was the drummer boy who stopped the American Walker from taking
over Costa Rica as his personal slave state.
DO YOU SEE THE BEE ON THE FLOWER?
Click image for larger view.

The largest of my 4 Heliconia plants.

The brightest of my Heliconia plants.

The smallest of my Heliconia plants.
And the most prolific of the 4 Heliconia plants.
It greets you at the driveway next to the Plumbago.
Red Ginger is all over my garden & prolific.

Lantanas are my border and called multiple things here. Grow fast!
I have to cut them back regularly or they become shrubs!
That is something like a Florida White Butterfly here today.

A type of Petunia that blooms abundantly every morning, then by
mid-afternoon the blooms have all dropped to the ground.
More the next morning! Year-around. 

Flame Vine in English or Triquitraque in Spanish which
literally means “firecracker” in Spanish
Flame Vine or Triquitraque
Plumbago is beautiful and my most prolific bloomer. My background plant.
But it grows so fast I have to cut it back every few months, losing some color.
But it blooms year-around and especially on the new growth after trimming.

“Crown of Thorns” is what Lynda called it.
I bought at Don & Lynda’s Moving Sale.

Aloe Vera – I’m always ready for burn! 🙂

Sorry I made so many photos this morning! And that is not all of my garden! 🙂  I love it!

And this is very near the end of the dry season, meaning we have had no rain since November. I water most everything every two days. It is work but worth it! I even have green grass which is rare here this time of year. And it has been especially hot this summer or dry season. So my garden has been a lot of work! That is what it takes to have a piece of paradise! As Rudyard Kipling says . . .

“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful!’ and sitting in the shade.” 
― Rudyard Kipling, Complete Verse

Zooming In On Blossoms

Plumbago

I think most of my photos have been of the total garden or yard and not each blossom. So here are some close-ups of a sort, zoomed in on with my Canon Rebel and 75-300 zoom lens. Enjoy!

Flame Vine  or Triquitraque
My large Heliconia
There are so many varieties that
I hesitate to identify the species

This large Heliconia has seeds in it that birds eat or they grow to new plants

There are 6 varieties of this small
yellow Heliconia growing in wild
and cultivated. I have two . . .
This is my other small yellow Heliconia
Then this small red Heliconia that is finally blooming again. None open yet.

The almost constantly blooming Red Ginger
here with a fully open bloom and . . .

A Red Ginger bud just opening and growing sideways
I cut all of mine back and so they are just now starting to fill with blooms again.
One of the many colors of Lantanas I have as a border.
They are coming back strong after I cut them to the ground 2 months ago.

Porter Weed for Hummingbirds
I have pink and purple.

A special Costa Rican variety of Petunia that blooms heavy each morning
and then all blooms drop off in the afternoon to none, nada! Every day!
It is kind of like the Morning Glories my landlord has growing on his fence.
They too bloom every morning only. 

The flower that smells the sweetest is shy and lowly.    ~William Wordsworth

Changing Garden

 I did what I thought was pretty radical pruning of the overgrown giant Porter Weeds and some of the Overgrown Red Ginger. But my “TuttiFruti,” which had been my most colorful plant, was apparently dying. So the gardeners cut it to the ground which I would have had trouble doing, though we had been pruning it some. They also sprayed for a leaf-eating insect. If it does not come back healthy, we will pull it and plant something different on my border. But we will probably have nothing blooming along the border when Reagan visits in just 4 weeks. Sorry Reagan! Though plants fool you here and some grow really fast!

The colorful border (inset photo) was dying, maybe insects for which he sprayed, but it is cut to ground now,
hoping for a beautiful renewal or revival. If not, I’ll get a different border. But waiting is hard!  🙂

Even without the border and the heavy pruning, the garden looks okay.
The Red Ginger and Purple Petunias will always bloom, even when cut.
And also the Plumbago, though it blooms on new growth, so cutting it back diminishes blooms briefly.
And though not seen above, I am getting new blooms on my Heliconias as seen in below photos. 

The tall plant in the back of garden photo above is where
this large Heliconia sports 4 blooms right now!
This is the biggest of the four.
This smaller Heliconia by my kitchen window also has several blooms.
The other plants like it have red and orange blooms but are dormant now.
I cut back the two big Porterweeds the hummingbirds love, BUT
I still have one smaller plant blooming and attracting hummers!
Though the hummingbirds are mainly in the Yellow Bell Trees now.
And very few butterflies are around this time of year.
May-July was the most butterflies last year.
The TriqueTraque or Orange Trumpet Vine has not done well, but now that I started feeding it fertilizer I’m seeing it grow a little and getting a few flowers, so there is still hope that it will cover that big massive concrete wall in time! That’s my goal!




The Maraca blooms at the
base of a very tall plant.

Also once my Planta Maraca or Shampoo Ginger gets established, I expect to regularly have more blooms, which is more exotic to me than the heliconias! And every time we trim the Blumbago it shoots out new growth with lots of blooms, so everything will have its ups and downs but as I wanted, something is blooming year-aroung, all the time! And it is fun to watch it change, though I have learned (what I really already knew), that maintaining a garden this big and a yard with lots of flowers is a lot of work, even with a hired gardener a couple of times a month! And for any reader living here, my most constant and prolific bloomers have been the Red Ginger and Purple Petunias. And I still don’t have all the Spanish names for these flowers and that sometimes that changes depending on who I talk to or which website I check!  🙂

PURA VIDA!
EDITORIAL CORRECTION: Yesterdays post was of an unusual bug in my bathroom, I tried to call it a stick or matchstick insect, but Kevin & Charles both correctly noticed that it is/was a spider: 

It’s a spider – 8 legs
Insects have 6 legs                        THANKS KEVIN!

AND LATER: A note from Charles Parker with the same 8-leg, 6-leg story! Did I know that? 🙂

This is the way. Walk in it.

LifeWay VBS 2015 Theme Journey Off the Map, and yep! Parts of Costa Rica look like this!
Remember, Jurassic Park was here! Some thought of Costa Rica with Avatar, but there are no blue people here! 🙂

I just read about the jungle theme “Journey Off the Map” and focus verse of Vacation Bible School at my church back in Nashville. I love it! It is where I have been and where I am now both physically and spiritually:

Isaiah 30:21, “And whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: ‘This is the way. Walk in it.'” 

I taught in Vacation Bible School this time last year at First Baptist Nashville and learned then this would be the theme and verse. I liked it. Soon afterwards I wrote a poem based partly on this Bible verse:  “Metaphors of Modification” which was one of the early posts on this blog. I’ll let you click the link to read it if you wish. It was back when I was still dreaming, before even the relocation tour.

I have felt at peace ever since about my “Costa Rica Decision Process,” the first title of this blog, and at peace about the final decision I made in September, and all that has happened since then.“This is the way. Walk in it.” (And I understand that the spiritual meaning of this is not specifically about my move. I hope to write more about the verse later, because in some ways it is another “life verse” for me.) I will miss teaching in VBS this year and especially the theme. If you are one of the good guys who helps in VBS, think of me down here in Costa Rica!  🙂

ADDENDUM: WORSHIP WITH FIRST BAPTIST NASHVILLE ONLINE TODAY

When I was in the apartments the first four months, I was walking to the nearby little non-denominational evangelical church most Sundays and the two times I tried the “streaming worship service” from First Baptist Nashville, my connection was not good enough to get more than little hiccups of video. With my new and better internet connection in this house I discovered today that it works very well here! I’m thankful for many reasons! The local worship in Spanish is not always working for me and Pastor Frank started a new sermon series on “Mile Markers of Life” today. I’m looking forward to his messages and thank Bill Latham for sharing them on Facebook.

But the biggest surprise today was that the flower arrangement in the Nashville church looks like it could have come right out of my Costa Rica garden, with Heliconia and Red Ginger dominating the arrangement! Both are blooming in my garden every day! Maybe they chose it for the exotic VBS theme! VBS starts there tomorrow. Here’s the two dominate flowers in their arrangement:

Heliconia in my garden, Atenas, Costa Rica
Red Ginger in my garden, Atenas, Costa Rica

Both of the above two flowers in my garden were a part of the flower arrangement at First Baptist Nashville today as I saw them on the computer screen in a streaming of their worship service.

Chili Fiesta

Billboard at entrance and in town advertising Atenas Chili Fiesta.

This gringo-sponsored fund-raiser for Hogar de Vida children’s home is in its 8th year and a big help for the Christian home for abused and abandoned children in Atenas, down the road from my apartments. The chili cook off is a major event of the day, but as a parking and traffic cop I did not get to taste, vote or participate in the chili, the multiple concerts or the many vendors, games, raffles, bingo, etc. But I’m glad I got to be a volunteer helper and thoroughly learn one more Spanish phrase, “Directo y a la derecha.” (Straight ahead and to the right.) as I sent people to the parking lot or “parqueo.”

I did get a lunch break and tried Costa Rica BBQ Pork with coleslaw and baked beans, none of which is like we had in Tennessee, but good. The slaw was tangy and delicious, the beans so so, the BBQ sauce sweet and good, and the pork very good.

Since I don’t have photos of the fiesta activities, here’s some of traffic, oxcart at entrance, and flowers in a yard next to the Sabana Larga (fairgrounds and bull fight/rodeo arena). I’m tired, since I worked two shifts, but it was a good day and glad I helped! 

A Motorcycle Club Came to the Fiesta
And a lot of those dreaded Rich American’s SUVs.
The Famous Painted Oxcarts Add Color to Many Events Here
Most Are Made & Painted in Nearby Sarchi Village
And lots of taxis at left!
Red Ginger Flowers Along One of the Perimeter Roads I Worked Today.
In someone’s yard! I frequently photograph yard flowers.

This is one of, if not the biggest gringo event in Atenas each year. Though a lot of Ticos participated in producing it and attending, it was definitely a gringo event with Texans trying to dominate the Chili Cook Off and old white people in charge of everything. I finally met a lady from Nashville, Tennessee yesterday, my first to meet from anywhere in Tennessee. Fun! But I’ve already forgot her name! And I’m probably known for more for my accent than anything else here, at least among the gringos. At events like this I see people I know from all my circles now: the apartments, church, Spanish Class, and local Tico friends. So it was fun to be in the middle of it and start becoming a part of the Atenas community! There is a good chance I will stay here long-term.