Thursday, June 21, 2012

Protected Wetlands..... They Aren't Necessarily Wet! Or Full of Gators!

This post is dedicated to my mother.  Her birthday is June 21st and this is our tenth year without her lovely presence.  The roses below are from the rose bush a dear friend gave me in memory of my father - our mother loved roses and flowers in general.  She also loved nature, gardening, birds, wildlife, wildflowers, travelling, dogs, cats, her grandchildren, her children and visiting us here at our home.  Which was also her home because anywhere she went, she made everyone feel like they were at home.

In an earlier post I showed a picture of my backyard and mentioned that one of the key selling points for our home is its location next to a protected wetland.

This may conjure up images of alligators and other swamp creatures climbing the fences to our yard and swarming all over it. Just as I might imagine wolves circling houses in Wyoming. 

Not so.  This is what climbs the fence.
Vines. Lots and lots of vines.  Some are called Potato Vines because they have "fruit" hanging from them that resemble potatoes. 

There's a bunch of other species of vines back there that my good friend CG could probably name, but all I know is they are hard to tame!

And believe me, we and our neighbors, have waged a war against them to keep them at bay.  See how it is moving onto the roof of our lovely shed? (Or shall I call it our "vintage" shed? LOL)

Here's the back side view of the invasion, way down there in this photo.

"Protected Wetland" does not necessarily mean that the ground is wet or swampy. 

It is a term used by environmentalists, attorneys and legislators to protect property,
 rich with wildlife and native plants,  from development.

Other than lots of birds, some snakes (every yard has those), some interesting turtle encounters and some exotic plant life, the scariest thing we usually find in our yard are these strange wild cows that like to graze back there...

...or roll around in a fit of bovine delight.

Sometimes we spot a Darcy slinking amongst the palms...

You can see how we have cleared about ten feet back from the fence.  By doing that the "jungle" is kept more easily at bay.  It took us several years to figure this out, but it finally sunk in and now instead of fighting the "jungle", we enjoy it more.

Look at these strange plants growing back there. 

 After the hurricanes in 2004 many different plants/weeds started showing up in our yards and back in our jungle.  I even had a stalk of corn for some reason!

The most wonderful thing about this protected wetland area is that no building will ever be allowed back there. And that makes for a very private space and makes our yard seem bigger.

I've seen Bald Eagles perched on some of the naked trees and lately there has been a family of hawks or eagles circling the woods and perching on these bare branches.  

Of course the day I took my pictures they were no where in sight, you will just have to take my word and the word of about 20 neighbors who hear the screeches all day just as I have recently.

These Live Oaks hang over our house and provide a wonderful playground for the squirrels.  Piliated woodpeckers and smaller woodpeckers love to work on the trunks of these trees.

One night while sitting out back we were treated to the almost silent whoosh of two Barred Owls flying from the woods to perch in the oak above our patio.

So, no gator sightings in 23 years unless you count Mr. T, Me and The Writer who all graduated from UF, home of the Florida Gators!

Now, I have two questions.

First, is there a friend or family member in the area who would like to adopt my Stag Horn Fern?

Her name is Bananas (the peels are good for them) and she has her own stand - just requires shade and water if it doesn't rain.  Bananas started from a small "horn" a friend gave me about ten years ago and has flourished under the oak trees.

Second, tell me about your "backyard" and what impressions people from other areas may have of where you live!

Darcy, Grandkitty, out!


KarenSue Farash said...

Your back yard is lovely!! If we had known that was a wet land 20 years ago we might have bought the house next to you!! Chic almost bought the house 2 houses from you, wouldn't that have been a great 20 years?!! Bananas is beautiful!! I bet CG would be a great keeper of Bananas!!
Fun day yesterday!!

Razmataz said...

I love that you have no neighbors behind you...a selling point for sure. I think I have a stag horn fern in Florida.

My ontario yard is all deck and interlock with built in gardens...all orderly and neat. My Florida yard has a grand oak, 2 live oaks and many many is a crazy jungle and I am sure there must be alligators in it...or ready to move in.

Mr. Connor said...

Thank you ~ looks wonderful. Mother would be very happy with the yard and all the plants / flowers.

Olive Cooper said...

I would dearly love the stag horn fern but am too far away. The potato vine is likely sumac and I am allergic to it and if I dig them up will have to take prednisone for the rash that develops. We have tons of them here and I snip them and spray them to get rid of them.

Corn in my Coffee-Pot said...

Well, thanks for clearing that all up for me.
I would imagine there are creatures in there that you've never seen, but they know you exist. They call it 'the wild' for a reason. Maybe not alligators...but probably more than you've seen.
Us? Hmmm... well, if you read my blog, people know there are cows back there. We have Hawks, and lots of birds. Turkey buzzards swarm all the time. I've never SEEN these creature up close on our 4 acres, or in the acreage behind us, but I hear, and have had eye-witness accounts from neighbors...
1.) Wild Hog (can be mean and aggressive)
2.) Coyote
3.) Bob Cat-- (most recently, I heard it; never seen it)

** I have seen close by with in 6 miles...Black Panther.

So, it's not all Farm Animals for us!

Mr. Tennis said...

Your mother certainly spent many happy times in our backyard. By the way you forgot to mention the various turtles and possum that have found their way into our yard.

Chatty Crone said...

I would love to buy your home - it looks like a wonderful back yard.

Very interesting back there. You probably got a corn seed and it grew. So you can touch nothing back there?

Have you ever heard of Kudzu?

Love, sandie

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

I love everything you've described about your yard, and beyond!
How wonderful that you have protected wetlands, it is so important, isn't it to have places where nature can grow, and live freely as it is meant to?
And such truly exotic seeming plants, they seem to really grow well.
What a good idea to clear some of the area, beyond your fence - as you say then you could enjoy the forest more.
Really, how fortunate you are to have such a grand landscape on the other side of your fence!

Your fern is so healthy looking!Bananas has thrived on your TLC.

I like your small black and white cows, and small domestic felines - much preferable to animals with large teeth!


The Thuglets said...

We love your explanation of the wetlands.
We share special memories of the 21st June with you..our beautiful Dorcus would have been 7 this year. "Only a dog" some might say..but she was so special to us.
Happy memories of your Mother.

Extra special Big Nose Pokes
The Thugletsxx

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Your gardens are amazing, different from here! I'm glad you don't have to worry about gators...eagles, owls, and hawks are enough with small dogs! We always have to watch out for those and coyotes here! So sweet you dedicated this to your mother...

Orlando Grandma said...

As I always do, I remembered Maude last Thurs.What woderful memories I have of such a lovely human being.
You did a great job describing your wetland area and its meaning.

Mango said...

How we miss our family when they are no longer with us. I hope the flowers made you smile and think warmly of your mother.

As for the encroaching jungle. I understand completely. While we don't reside in the tropics, the vines from behind our fence seem to grow while I am watching and they seek to take over everything. It is a constant battle.

We, too, have the exotic bovines in our yard (although ours are a bit larger).

Mango Momma

SweetMarie said...

Lovely tribute to your mother. You have a beautiful backyard! I live in Orlando and wish we had that much yard. Your Panda is adorable! We have three puppy dogs, Roxanne Love, Rambo and Rocket.
Sandie from Chatty Crone sent me your way. :) Stop by and pay me a visit. :) Hope you're Sunday is great!