Friday, September 20, 2013

Adios Florida. Adios Raccoons.

On Central Ave. Pet portraits on wall

My Brother In Law built us these lovely shelves. 

The handle of my bag made with a Thai sash

The bag is made from a vintage textile...piece of a traditional baby carrier. From Etsy.

The light fixture was an anniversary (28 years) gift from the Raz Man. We call it the Maharaja's Lamp. Because of the proximity to the pool (and a cement block house) we had to mount it with no electrical. We plan to convert it with an LED light.

Add caption

We left Florida on Wednesday. Saying goodbye to our friends, house and garden is always a sad moment for me. I have come to love it so much there and count the days until we return. This time we battled raccoons swimming in the pool.  We caught the pack having a swim on our security camera. And they don't just swim in there. We had to close the pool twice for 24 hours, backwash it, super chlorinate it and change the filter ($85.00). We ended up hiring a critter control trapper and caught 2 babies who were relocated. For the next 8 days there was no sign of the rest of them. Raccoons carry parasites in their poop that is very dangerous. You can read the CDC info HERE on how serious this is. We also did a lot of research and discovered that a raccoon will not jump into water, they walk in. After 3 days of creative thinking we made a barrier for the steps that covers the entry. It easily snaps off and on for night time use. If you have a similar problem, email me and I will tell you how we made it. The Raccoon Blocker Net is pictured below.

We arrived home with 2 ours to spare before my Sweet Mamma had emergency surgery. Warned again by the doctors on how fragile she is, she once again sailed through it with no complications. One day I will tell the story of how we were told she was brain dead, only to have her come out of her coma and talk like the Queen. Thank God for the timing of the surgery. I would have hated not to be there for her.

Wishing you all a good weekend whether restful or adventurous.

Racoon Blocker Net

Attaches to pool deck to safety net anchors. Covered in double layered mesh to prevent potential poop dropping through. We secured the mesh with plastic grommets because we did not have a swing machine. You could also sew a mesh sleeve and slip it on.  Plastic coated metal grid (closet shelving) 15" wide covers the first and partially the second step and all of the first, so raccoons cannot step into the water.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Florida Garden....Making Progress

Quan Yin...Goddess of Mercy
Garden bench, once ready for the trash, now restored by a good neighbor

Pink Siam tulips in foreground. 

Crotons, Pygmy date palm and ferns

View from the shade garden to the pool

Under the Pony Tail palm

Cranum Lily and Bromeliads (they store 1 litre of water in their " tank")

We used the antique brick that formed the old patop for the pathway.

False bird of paradise

Quan Yin...perfectly aged statue from second hand store

Chinese Yellow Bamboo in foreground

The gorgeous orangey pink stems of the Bottle Palm.
Behind the hot tub I planted Lily of the Nile (not in bloom) false bird of paradise and crotons

Succulents in large pots.

A spot to sit beside  the bamboo, philodendrons and Cranum Lily.

My 3rd attempt to plant the Florida garden has yielded results I am pleased with. In the beginning I filled my cart at Home Depot with so many varieties of small plants, I had a mediocre strip of plants with mostly the same type of leaf and texture. It looked too varied and lacked cohesion. I discovered that just like decorating a house, you need a couple of really good pieces and then can build from there with less importants. I wanted the garden to have an old, established feel so the new pool area would blend with the old, historical part of the garden. I have split, moved, and moved again, dozens of plants. I removed 3 Tavellers Palms that were to large for the small (30 inch) strip by the pool. I invested in 2 large Bottle Palms and a couple of  massive Cranum Lillies, and filled the back with Chinese yellow Bamboo and the front with Philodendron, Ferns and false Bird of Paradise. 

If I was to move the camera a foot higher, you would see the top 2 feet of the rotten fence and the windows and stucco side of my neighbors house. With a bit of manipulation I can block that out. Eventually, the bamboo with provide a wall of greenery to block the view. I have foraged in neighbors gardens and accepted gifts of Elephant Ears, peace lily and Bromeliads. And anything that sneaks over to my side from the spooky vacant house next door finds a new home over here.

After searching for a statue to replace my elephant statue that was taken from the yard, I found a beautiful old Quan Yin to bless us with her calming presence. She came from Janet's Antiques on Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. By far my favorite haunt for lovely old things.