Well, it has been said that Florida is a land of the strange. Florida man legends abound. Gardening here is also a bit strange based upon my past gardening experiences. For instance, I never topped off a potted plant in NY just to be horrified when a rather large frog came crawling out of the pot! It's not the first time I've screamed out loud in the garden.
I planned to move my "bog garden" into this lovely pot so I could pay more attention to it. Also, my water source in the landscape that would refill the container stopped working. The plants didn't seem to be their happiest either, so I thought I'd "baby" them a little bit more. Granted, the pitcher plants (Sarracenia) are just coming out of dormancy but I feel they want more up close and personal attention. I also really want to make a painting of these guys and to have a good looking model for reference would be ideal. So, I set out to make a fresh mix of "bog soil" and thought hey, my Nepenthes hanging out front (also paint worthy) looks a little sad as well, and I noticed the potting medium deteriorated so I thought I could give her a little more attention, too, by adding some more medium to her pot. Feeding two birds with one scone!
The bog soil is a mix of sand, peat, and sphagnum moss. I also added what was called carnivorous plant soil mix I found on Amazon. I mixed all these ingredients in a small bucket and hydrated it so that it was "spongy moist." Then I brought the bucket with me out front and proceeded to "stuff" my Nepenthes with the mix using my hands. I stuffed for what was about five minutes commenting in my head that I just had no idea how much this medium deteriorated when suddenly a large frog "burped" out of the pot to climb up the hanger before proceeding to jump on over to this trellis. No wonder!
Unfortunately, this is most likely an invasive Cuban Tree Frog but I let him go thinking he won't disturb my plant again after all that poking and stuffing. The plants are happy now and I'm happy, too, for the excuse to add some Venus Fly Traps and a Sundew to my newly repotted bog garden. They're coming in the mail! I think, however, the frog is probably not as happy as the rest of us.
Meet my front porch. It is a lovely respite and where I like to begin my day with coffee and a Bible. I like to begin each day reading from the Bible and in prayer. I usually pray in a fasted state. I don't eat until after my "session."
My porch reflects my artistic style (and perhaps some might say personality) — colorful. The bamboo chair is usually where I sit. It was a "save" from a gallery I belonged to up North awhile back which dubbed it the smoking chair and the gallery wanted to be rid of it. I had the cushions recovered in what I called "river fabric" which in my mind reflected the St. Lawrence River (where I lived at the time), and it became known as the river chair. Now, it's known as the ocean sunset chair since the gulf is just a few blocks afar and I enjoy my martini sitting in it at sunset. This chair has been around.
I have also been reading a book titled "Secrets of the Secret Place" by Bob Sorge. My little sitting area has become my secret place so don't tell anyone, ha. I wanted to add something special to mark my secret place so here comes the personal project.
I love working with found materials for the garden (outside areas) and here there are palm boots galore. The palms naturally shed them and down their fronds during storms. I decided a cross would be appropriate for my secret place where I pray. So I assembled one from a palm boot and frond branch which were easily scavenged from my property in about five minutes. Of course, I had to paint it!
The Bible conjures up beautiful imagery in its verses. I like to think of myself as a new, budding Christian setting roots and there are quite a few parables about grape vines in the Bible so that's what came to mind in what I would paint on my cross. I set up shop on my trusty island which sort of divides our living and kitchen areas because I used craft acrylic paint and I didn't want to mix it up with any of my watercolor supplies. I sealed it with Mod-podge because it will be outdoors. I also wanted to add a verse — it had to be short but something to be mindful of every day. I used a paint pen to apply it. I chose Colossians 3:2 from the New Living Translation: "Think about the things of heaven, not the things of the earth." A reminder to remember that I don't live for this world. I am living for my life in the next world so I should love all I can while I'm here.
I hung my cross today and look forward to my special session time tomorrow morning in my secret place with this heart-made reminder. It gives me so much peace during these times.
Now that this project is done, Donna, I hope to finish your tropical escapes. I screwed up the second one and will start over but it should go faster now that I've figured out what I'm doing. Your patience is phenomenal. Also, some new works for Bonish Studio on the horizon. They should be super fun and that's all I'm going to say.
I sure do hope I spelled your names correctly. It was super nice to meet you both and I am so grateful to you for providing "Miss Manatee" with a beautiful new home in Gulfport. Thank you! I truly hope you enjoy and hope to see you again either in Cedar Key at Bonish Studio or at O'Maddy's in Gulfport – you never know ...
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
All quoted verse is from the Bible I am currently studying: The New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition