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The first week in May, I was able to visit my parents in the Clearwater/Tampa area for a nice long weekend.  It was a great mix of relaxing and doing, walk-on-the-beach-alone time, and spend-an-evening-with-friends-time.

Naturally, I cannot pack with feline interference.  Princess Anabelle has always asserted her possession of my clothes as they go into my suitcase.

Naturally, I cannot pack with feline interference. Princess Anabelle has always asserted her possession of my clothes as they go into my suitcase.

My first evening there was spent at a dinner party/bonfire, hosted by friends of my parents, but sort of my friends now too.  😉  Their backyard is almost entirely garden, with paths and a variety of plants and garden accessories to enjoy.  I had already heard much about this little fairy tale setting from my parents, but was so glad to experience it for myself.

Great bunches of foliage hung suspended from chains along large chains; especially loved the massive staghorn fern more in the background here.

Great bunches of foliage hung suspended from chains attached to tree trunks; especially loved the massive staghorn fern more in the background here.

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The red flower thingie with the yellow eyes, they affectionately referred to as a chicken plant (they'd multiplied here.)  I sent a picture to my friend Michelle out West, who is apparently unable to resist a mystery.  She dug deeply and within hours had determined this plant to be a "red tower ginger."  Such is the beauty of the Internet... my mystery of a plant appearing in Western Florida is solved by a friend in Reno, NV and turns out to be a plant native to Hawaii and the Caribbean. ;-p

The red flower thingie with the yellow eyes, they affectionately referred to as a chicken plant (they’d multiplied here); they did not know its proper name. I sent a picture to my friend Michelle out West, who is apparently unable to resist a mystery. She dug deeply and within hours had determined this plant to be a “red tower ginger.” Such is the beauty of the Internet… my mystery of a plant appearing in Western Florida is solved by a friend in Reno, NV and turns out to be a flower native to Hawaii and the Caribbean. ;-p

This beady piece of garden bling was something I bought for our hosts two years ago and sent from Michigan, by way of thanking them for their generous help throughout my parents' big move.  Wonderful people.  I had an idea it would fit in well in their garden. ;)

This beady piece of garden bling was something I bought for our hosts two years ago and sent from Michigan, by way of thanking them for their generous help throughout my parents’ big move. Wonderful people. I had an idea it would fit in well in their garden. 😉

Apologies for the lack of clarity; my phone did its best with the dark conditions. I must ask you to use your imagination to fill in the magic created by flowers glowing in the moonlight and solar lights reflected in the still water off of their dock.  Their little lake is fed by multiple springs and wonderfully fresh.

Apologies for the lack of clarity; my phone did its best with the dark conditions. I must ask you to use your imagination to fill in the magic created by white flowers glowing in the moonlight and solar lights reflected in the still water off of their dock. Their little lake is fed by multiple springs and wonderfully fresh.

Our hostess has a wonderful way with place cards at the dinner table.  This particularly evening, she’d opted for a Disney theme, drawing from an extensive collection of stickers.  Guests were given cards unique to them, by way of character or story match (i.e. the husband who’d been known in his younger years as “Bambi;” I didn’t ask.)  In any event, my reputation must have preceded me and so my place setting was looking rather… “Aristocat”ic.  😉

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More tomorrow!

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