Saturday, 25 July 2015

Extreme Orlando

When we arrived in Florida this afternoon the temperature was over 30 degrees and the humidity was more than 80%.  

At the hotel where we are staying for David to attend a conference, the busy swimming pool had been cleared due to an imminent thunderstorm and the danger of lightning.

The little blue sky that was left soon clouded over and down came the rain..

It rained solidly and very hard for several hours.

We had a walk around the grounds before the rain and came across a supersize creature...

He is a giant yellow grasshopper, known as an Eastern Lubber - at almost 4 inches long quite shockingly huge!  He didn't like being disturbed and made a hissing noise.

Because of his size and the fact that he secretes a poisonous or irritating substance when attacked, he has no natural predators and can apparently be quite a pest for crops because of his voracious appetite!

We saw several more..

They weren't very pleased to see us either!

Friday, 24 July 2015

Butterflies Live!

At the Botanical Garden yesterday I was thrilled to see an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly flitting around the flower beds.  Although they are fairly common here they are very beautiful to watch.

This is not a very clear picture but it is, I think, a humming bird moth.  

The bees were huge too.. This one is working his way along all the florets of a pineapple lily.

In the glasshouse was a summer 'live' exhibition of many types of exotic and very beautiful butterflies..

They were all very beautiful - and the most beautiful in the greenhouse were very elusive and impossible to capture.. but my favourite of all was still the native Swallowtail..

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Botanical Garden in Richmond

Today when David went to his meeting I headed for the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden outside Richmond.  The garden was built only in the 1980's from the private garden around the house of the descendants of Lewis Ginter - a philanthropist who made his fortune in the Virginian tobacco industry. 

It was very warm today - more than 30 degrees - and so the shade of the grape myrtle trees around the fountains was very welcome.  Alas, no paddling allowed!

Within the garden are a series of interlinked and themed formal gardens.

The rose garden is beautifully planted but past its best for this year.  There were still some lovely blooms..

Outside the pavilion (apparently modeled on the glasshouses at Kew), there were some beautiful water lilies..

More pictures tomorrow..

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Wind's Up

This extraordinary sculpture in 'downtown' Richmond was created by the sculptor Lloyd Lillie in 1986.

The sculpture, outside the James Centre, depicts three muscular men hoisting the halyard.

The ultra-modern buildings around the sculpture - the First Capital Bank and others - reflect in their very shiny glass facades the older buildings of Richmond that surround them..

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Resplendent in Red & White!

David took these pictures of a red-bellied woodpecker outside our window the other day.  He is a frequent visitor to the suet feeders, with or without his oversized 'chick'.

Inside we also have a splendid red and white creature at present, in the shape of the 'Cat in the Hat'!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Aerial Critter

Another very warm day today and even at close to 6pm when I went out to the car it was around 32 degrees.

I noticed a movement on the radio aerial and this dragonfly was basking there..

He didn't seem to mind me approaching him, so I went a little closer with my phone camera (all I had with me!)..

..and just a little closer, until I could look him in the eye..

Sunday, 19 July 2015

July Weather

Today was very hot indeed and we did not venture very far.

There was a 'Severe Weather Advisory' in place due to the poor air quality arising from the combination of temperatures rising to the mid 30's and humidity of 73 percent.

When we did step outside the feeling was rather like walking into a sauna wearing a nice warm blanket!  Coming back into the house - where the air conditioning was cooling to a not particularly cool 25 degrees, it felt distinctly chilly.