When is a Leaf not a Leaf?

There really are many answers to this in the world of botany.

In this case I am referring to the puzzling plant, Epiphyllum oxypetalum.

This leggy plant sprawls as it grows. It is in a heavy pot for balance not for root room.


Mine has not bloomed yet, but I am enjoying its peculiar habit of growth.

When is a leaf NOT a leaf?  When it’s a stem.


The orchid cactus has flattened stems that look like leaves with thick veins.

When new leaves pop out from the ends of these veins,


you realize that the leaf was a stem.

Epiphytes that live in trees have different rules than ground plants.

A stem has to serve as a leaf and a stem.

Another lesson in life from a plant.

Thanks nature.


The Rainbow Cloud

I watched with amazement as this rainbow cloud formed and evolved.IMG_0780

Rainbow clouds are formed when light passes through a new cloud which has tiny water droplets or ice crystals of approximately equal size.


This phenomenon is called cloud iridescence or irisation.


The light that passes through is spread out into the different wavelengths.


As this cloud spread out, the colors spread out.


It was an amazing thing to witness.


Bunny Trouble

It is not easy being a bunny mommy.  If they weren’t cute they would be of no use.

It’s Barley’s bottom again.


Or is it his bladder?

He pees where ever he pleases.

If he is inside, that usually means on the floor, not in one of the litter boxes.

This morning I discovered it also means in the bunny bed.

This had to be washed an hung out to dry.

Don’t get me started on the vet bills and expensive electric razor for his monthly Brazilian…

I think Flower has finally decided that the bunnies must reside OUTSIDE


in that pen that I spent months constructing to keep them safe from

raccoons and coyotes.

Who is going to protect me from my own stupidity?

That’s what I want to know.


Why Boughs Break

It seems like this answer would be simple, but it is not.

It is not death that brings them down, its all the new life they create as they die.

While they are old and weakened other things move in.

Insects bore holes through the bark.

Birds peck at the holes to get the insects.

Water gets into the bark and fungi follows.

Now water hides in all those nooks and crannies.

Lichens like this environment so they start settle in and grow.

Moss spores get blown on the breeze and light on this new little habitat.

More rain, more spores, more insects, more holes.

One day there is a wind or a heavy rain.

There is not enough old dead fiber left in the bough to support all that new life,

so it breaks.

Gravity brings the bough back to earth with all the new life on board.

Death is part of a continuum.

Not the end.


The Decorated Stick

Sometimes I think nothing is going on around here

and then I look and realize I have been missing things.

My expensive stick ( Edgeworthia / Chinese Paper Bush) that turned into a lovely shrub over the summer has become a decorated stick.


Its leaves have dropped to reveal silky white buds hanging down like holiday baubles.


These glow in the morning sunshine.


Things happen in the garden year-round in the south.

You just have to pay close attention to notice.



Start with a Parade

My life has punctuation points.  Beginnings, pauses and endings.

I mark time with events.

One of my punctuation points is the Blowing Rock Christmas parade.


Every Saturday after Thanksgiving I try to get there.

I start my Christmas season with a parade, not a shopping trip.


I like how folks come together in the streets to celebrate the season.

The firemen start the procession.


There are costumes and characters

dancers and drummers




bands and ballerinas



horses in hats


and swinging bears.


Both naughty and nice flow past.



Santa comes at the end waving and pointing at children while smiling.


That’s how I know the season has started.

Standing on a sidewalk with strangers.

There together waiting and watching and waving.

The parade makes me pause.

When the procession ends.  The pause is over.

We all break ranks and get back to our busy lives

with smiles on our faces.


Happy Holidays