This week in my Butterfly Garden

I’ve been digging in the dirt a lot lately trying to get my butterfly garden in shape after flooding from Hurricane Irma killed most of the plants last fall.

A few of the new plants are starting to bloom. The zinnias I planted from seed this winter are bursting with color.

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Zinnia
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Zinnias

The new milkweed plants attracted their first Monarch of the season this week.

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First Monarch sighting of 2018

The hummingbirds and Painted Buntings have been stopping by the feeders.

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Painted Bunting

This lizard was trying to drink the hummingbird nectar.

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Lizard looking for a snack on one of my hummingbird feeders

Happy spring!

Roses at the Savannah Botanical Gardens

After a great time at the Savannah Scottish Games we stopped at the Savannah Botanical Gardens to see the roses. Owned and operated by the Savannah Area Council of Garden Clubs, Inc., it’s always a treat to walk through the gardens. My favorite time to visit is when the roses are blooming.

It was Cinco de Mayo, and the Cinco de Mayo rose was displaying it’s gorgeous blooms.

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Cinco de Mayo Rose at Savannah Botanical Gardens

The Neil Diamond rose is my favorite.

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Neil Diamond Rose at Savannah Botanical Gardens

Roses of every color were blooming all throughout the gardens.

Spring at Callaway Gardens

Our latest wandering took us on a short trip that was full of excitement. Our first stop was F. D. Roosevelt State Park, Georgia’s largest state park, in Pine Mountain. It was the perfect place for us to use as home base for exploring both Callaway Gardens and F.D.R.’s Little White House in Warm Springs.

After driving in the rain on the winding road through the park we arrived at the Visitor’s Center to check in just after a tornado warning had been lifted. Everything was fine in the campground and we set up camp just before another rain shower began.

“Connecting man and nature in a way that benefits both.” – Callaway Gardens Mission

With the sun shining the next morning we drove about 15 minutes from our campsite to Callaway Gardens.  Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Callaway Gardens opened in 1952. Today, there are many different gardens to explore, a lodge, golf course, swimming beach, and even a zip-line adventure.

Our tour of the gardens began with a stop at the Pioneer Log Cabin. From there we strolled along the Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Trail with many Georgia native plants.  The Flowering Dogwoods and many other wildflowers displayed their brilliant spring colors.

Pioneer Log Cabin at Callaway Gardens
Pioneer Log Cabin at Callaway Gardens
Flowering Dogwood on Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail
Flowering Dogwood on Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Azalea at Callaway Gardens
Azalea at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Trail at Callaway Gardens

Next we walked on the trails to the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center for a look at some tropical butterflies. Butterflies of all sizes, shapes and colors fed on the colorful blossoms and sailed by our heads as they flew from flower to flower.

Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens
Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens

We learned about some of Georgia’s birds of prey at the Discovery Center. As our guide gave a very informative presentation, two different species of owl and a red tailed hawk flew over our heads during the program.

Juniper the Great Horned Owl at Birds of Prey program
Juniper the Great Horned Owl at Birds of Prey program
Barred Owl Birds of Prey demonstration at Callaway Gardens
Willow the Barred Owl Birds of Prey demonstration at Callaway Gardens
Red Tailed Hawk Callaway Gardens Birds of Prey Show
Red Tailed Hawk Callaway Gardens Birds of Prey Show

We must have just missed the Azaleas at their peak because most of the Azaleas on the Overlook Azalea trail had finished blooming. The Flowering Dogwoods and other trees added color to the landscape.

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Callaway Gardens Azalea Trail
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Flowering Dogwoods were in bloom at Callaway Gardens
Eastern Redbud Callaway Gardens
Eastern Redbud at Callaway Gardens
Callaway Gardens Overlook Azalea Trail
Callaway Gardens Overlook Azalea Trail

Our visit to Callaway Gardens included only a few of the many gardens there. It is a wonderful family destination and bicycles are a popular way to get around the park. There are several restaurants to choose from or you can have a picnic in one of the picnic areas.

Florida’s Tallest Waterfall

Florida's Tallest Waterfall

When I first read about Florida’s tallest waterfall at Falling Waters State Park my first thought was “I didn’t know there were ANY waterfalls in Florida!” I had to see it with my own eyes.

So off we went to Falling Waters State Park to check it out. The campground sits at 324 feet above sea level on top of one of the highest hills in Florida.

An easy trail down the hill leads to a small pond and boardwalk trails to the waterfall and around several sinkholes. We observed the 73 foot tall waterfall from a platform above the falls but construction on the platform near the bottom of the falls prevented us from seeing the water dropping into the sinkhole at the bottom.

Florida's Tallest Waterfall at Falling Waters State Park
Florida’s Tallest Waterfall at Falling Waters State Park

The trails meander through a long leaf pine forest with southern magnolias scattered among the pines. A few wildflowers blooming along the trail let us know that spring was almost here.

Boardwalk trail at Falling Waters State Park
Boardwalk trail at Falling Waters State Park
Carolina Jessimine
Carolina Jessimine
Wild Azalea
Wild Azalea

While exploring the trails we did some more geocaching and found two in the park. We’re getting better at this!

A Zebra Swallowtail became fascinated with my shoes when we stopped to take a break along one of the trails.

Zebra Swallowtail
Zebra Swallowtail

We continued our quest for good local food and stopped at the Main Street Market in downtown Chipley for some Plant City strawberries. These wonderful, sweet strawberries are only available for a short while and although we had been getting them at grocery stores I had to have some more. While we were there I was thrilled to see some Florida Honeybells. These strange looking orange citrus fruits are sweet and juicy. The also have a  very short season so of course I grabbed some of those, too.

Florida Honeybells
Florida Honeybells

Falling Waters State Park is located south of Chipley, Florida just a couple of miles from I-10.

My review of Falling Waters State Park can be found on Campendium.

Springtime in Georgia

Nothing says springtime in Georgia like Azaleas, Dogwoods, Wisteria, and Peach Blossoms.

Georgia Azaleas
Georgia Azaleas
Georgia Azaleas
Georgia Azaleas
Georgia Azaleas under Live Oak Tree
Georgia Azaleas under Live Oak Tree
Georgia Dogwoods
Georgia Dogwoods
Spanish Moss covered Dogwood Tree beside Azalea lined path
Spanish Moss covered Dogwood Tree beside Azalea lined path
Bee on Wisteria in Georgia
Bee on Wisteria in Georgia
Peach Blossoms in Georgia
Georgia Peach Blossoms

We’re not wandering at the moment. These spring flower photos were taken near our home in Georgia.

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring!