Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JULY!!!! Our Lilies are blooming now... So gorgeous!!! Here is one of my many favorites! Meet DIZZY.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The End of our Beautiful Lilies

Black Beauty Tiger Lily
Here's my final group of pictures of our 19 varieties of LILIES in our yard this year.  If you missed any of these 5 blog posts,  click  HERE.   Hope you enjoy this final group!

The picture above is one of our little tiger lilies...  I LOVE these little lilies... This one is named is Black Beauty...  Pretty, isn't it? Be sure to click on all of the pictures in order to see them larger.

Several of you have asked to see 'group' pictures of the lilies.  That is never easy to do since the lilies (and daylilies) all bloom at different times... That is a good thing though since we enjoy lily blooms for a couple of months.. When one variety quits blooming, another takes its place.  SO---that is why it is hard to get a 'group' picture of all of them!!!!  

The picture above is of our 'road flowerbed' ---and you can see lilies,  daylilies and roses all blooming.

Golden Splendor Lily
This beauty is named Golden Splendor...  It is such a beautiful lily.

Gold Band Lily
The last lily to bloom in our yard  (there are only a couple of blooms left in this one),  named Gold Band...  We enjoyed it for about 3 weeks...  Someone asked how long lilies bloom...  I think most of the buds will stay pretty for about 2-3 weeks....(Daylilies are different in that each blossom only blooms for ONE day.. BUT--there are usually lots and lots of blossoms --which keep the plant blooming for several weeks.)

This  is another view of several of the lilies in bloom in our side flowerbed... As I have previously said,  most of our lilies are planted in this long bed ---and in the road and the lamppost beds.

Trebbiano Lily
This little beauty is named Trebbiano.  As you can tell,  this lily is very pale yellow  (almost white) in color... This lily is located in the side flowerbed (not far from our swing)...

Sarina Lily
And this lily is named Sarina.   George took this photo --and this lily was one of several varieties in our lamppost flowerbed.   Yellow is one of my favorite colors this time of year,  and this one with its spots is quite unique.

Garden Pleasure Lily AND Touching Lily
Here is a picture showing you how many lilies were blooming at the same time in our road flowerbed...  Aren't they just gorgeous?  That is Touching on the right and Garden Pleasure on the left....

Garden Pleasure Lily
Finally,  besides Pink Perfection and Touching and Gold Band,  here is the 4th group of lilies in the road flowerbed that bloomed and bloomed and bloomed this year...  This one is Garden Pleasure---and a pleasure it was!!!!    As I said above,  a couple of Gold Band lilies are all that are left in our yard now... We'll have to wait 'til next year to see all of these again....

Hope you enjoyed seeing our lilies this year.  It's hard for me to pick a favorite... I loved Lollypop and Montenegro --since they were some of the early bloomers.   But there are others I love --such as this one (Garden Pleasure) and also Touching...  Overall though,  I guess,  if I had to pick a 2012 favorite lily,  I would choose Pink Perfection...  After looking at all of the lily posts,  you need to pick a favorite also....

Have a wonderful Monday. We are going to see the sunflowers at Biltmore....  Hope they are gorgeous  like they were last year when we were there.

Hope you are watching the OLYMPICS...  They are great... so many wonderful,  hard-working athletes.   SO proud of them!!!!


Friday, July 27, 2012

Snow to Make You Feel COOLER

I got this idea from one of my Blog and Facebook friends,  LYNN. She had seen a 'snow' picture that George had posted some time ago --and thought it would be nice to see some SNOW pictures during the HOT SUMMER....  Great idea,  don't you think?

During our big Summer trip out west in June of 2011,  one place we visited on our way home was the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK in Colorado.   A few days before getting to the Rockies,  we had suffered in the almost 100 degree heat at the Arches.....  SO--you can imagine how wonderful it felt to get to this area and enjoy some cooler temperatures and SNOW....

SO---today,  I'll share some pictures taken on June 25, 2011 ---as we drove over 12,000 feet UP into the Rocky Mountain National Park.   The first picture above was taken as we got into Estes Park, CO ---before driving into the national park.  Beautiful area,  isn't it?????  Be sure to click on the pictures in order to see some enlargements.

This picture was taken from the Sheep Lake and meadow area just inside the Fall River entrance into the park.   We stopped to admire the mountains that we were going to drive UP!!!!!  We also looked for some Bighorn Sheep --but didn't see them at that time...

We went UP-UP-UP......  The higher we got,  the more snow we saw.  However,  the roads were clear --thanks to the snow crews who have to work hard to get them clear...  See those poles along the way?  They are there so that the crews will know where the road is supposed to be --when there is heavy snow on the mountains!!!!

This shows one of the huge snow banks along the road.....  Can you imagine having to scrape THAT much snow????

We actually stopped the car several times to even walk and play in the snow.   Even though we had shorts on that day,  the temperature up there was in the 50's..... BUT--it felt so good compared to the temperatures we had experienced in Utah.

Here is another picture taken from inside the car ---as we drove along...  We felt like we were truly on  TOP of the world... AND--we almost were!!!!! ha

This  is a picture of the Alpine Visitor Center at elevation 11,796 feet.....   The building was still almost covered up with snow!  Amazing to see this on June 25, isn't it?????

Finally,  here is one last picture of the snow we saw at  the Rocky Mountain National Park  that day...  We took many, many more pictures here ---but hopefully,  you have enjoyed seeing these.  AND---if you are having a very HOT SUMMER,  maybe these pictures will help cool you off just a little.

Have a great weekend.  I'll see you on Monday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

June at Biltmore Gardens

George and Betsy at Biltmore  on June 14, 2012
As most of you know,  George and I have season's passes to the Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville,  North Carolina... We try to get over there every couple of months to see what is blooming... AND--we are never disappointed when we get there...

Last June (2011),  we took our big trip out west--so we didn't get to Biltmore to check out the summer flowers... This year,  we decided to try it!!   We left the house bright and early on June 14 ---and got stuck in a long-long-long traffic jam on I-40 near the TN/NC line.... There was nowhere to go except just SIT and be patient.... An 18-wheeler had turned over and our side of the interstate was closed.....

SO---needless to say,  after losing over an hour and a half in traffic that day,  we didn't have much of our day left to spend at Biltmore...  BUT---we did make it there and enjoyed that quick trip!!!!!   Luckily,  we didn't have any trouble getting home that night ---and in fact,  we took some of the prettiest sunset/sky pictures we've taken in a long time... IF you missed seeing those pictures,  click HERE.   You do not want to miss seeing that sunset.  Seeing the flowers at Biltmore is nice,  but OH ---that beautiful sunset!!!!  The sunset made the day really worthwhile.

One reason to visit Biltmore in June is to see their huge ROSE COLLECTION.  There are over 200 varieties of heirloom and hybrid roses.... As you can imagine,  we enjoyed seeing all of their roses... BUT--there are other summer flowers blooming in June...  So--today I'll show you a little of what we saw at Biltmore on June 14.   Be sure to enlarge the photos for bigger copies.

This picture shows just a tiny portion of all of their beautiful roses... But--both George and I particularly loved this group of roses (named Milestone)...

Amazing how the Biltmore Gardeners go from season to season displaying different flowers...  This is a picture of some of the summer flowers in their big Walled Garden.   In Spring,  one will see Daffodils, Hyacinths and Tulips... In Summer,  we saw Dahlias,  Zinnias and Globe Amaranth...   THEN--when we come back in Fall,  we'll see Chrysanthemums.   Nice, huh?

We also love seeing the Italian Gardens during the summer --with their beautiful water lilies...

George took this picture of me at the Italian Gardens.  It was a HOT day when we were there ---and I was taking advantage of some SHADE (since there wasn't much in that area)....

The Italian Gardens are close to the gorgeous Biltmore Home...  Here you can see a reflection of part of the house in the water.  Isn't that a great reflection?

We always enjoy walking in the area next to the house to get some pictures of the beautiful mountains in the background.  I snapped this picture of George in that area.

Finally,  I'll stop with a picture of one of my favorite Summer flowers,  the Gladiola.   My Mom had Glads in our yard when I was growing up... I tried one year to get them to grow here ---but the area where I put them didn't have enough sun.  SO--they didn't do well.  They are gorgeous though at Biltmore.

Hope you enjoyed another installment from the beautiful Biltmore Home and Gardens....

I just HAVE to show you this cute little picture of a 'baby' Downy Woodpecker.   Mama was at the suet feeder --and the little one didn't know exactly how to get up there...  TOO CUTE!!!!

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

More Daylilies in our Yard this Summer

Rosie Meyer Daylilies
This is my second post showing off some of our 30 varieties of DAYLILIES in our yard this summer...  They are mostly all gone now (pout pout!) ---but really did show off for us this year... IF you missed that first post,  click HERE to see it....

Today,  I'll show you eight more of these beauties....  Be sure to click on the photos to see them larger...

Janice Brown Daylilies

Eye Yi Yi Daylilies  (and Bright Sunset Daylilies behind and above)

Elegant Candy Daylily

Pandora's Box Daylilies   (new for us this year)

Bicolor Daylilies

Fooled Me Daylilies

Early Bird Cardinal Daylily

We have had lots of variety and many different colors this year...  Hope you have enjoyed seeing more of the daylilies...

Hope you had a wonderful weekend.  We finally have been getting some rain here ---so things are beginning to 'green up' again...  I'll share more of our daylilies with you soon --along with our roses and lilies..

Here's an added treat for you!!!  Look at these two precious babies!!!!  Mama finally brought them out onto the golf course fairway behind our home...  Not sure whether the other large deer is an adult or a teenager!!!  It was very 'prancy'....  BUT--don't you just love the babies with their spots?????  (Picture taken yesterday--7/22/12)

Have a wonderful day.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN

Our Anniversary Weekend (June 23-24, 2012) was spent in Nashville, Tennessee re-living many of the  memories we made when we were dating and/or first married in 2001...  First,  we visited  Centennial Park (click HERE to see that blog post).   Then,  we enjoyed a wonderful evening on the General Andrew Jackson Showboat (click HERE for this post).    The third and final portion of our special weekend was a morning at the glorious OPRYLAND HOTEL.

If you have never been to a fancy-dancy hotel (quite expensive --unless you get a good deal, or come with a convention group),  you need to see this one.   The first time I walked in this hotel,  my mouth was hanging open the entire time we were there... What an awesome place!

The best thing is that one can walk through the NINE ACRES and enjoy it without spending a dime (unless you opt to stay, eat or shop there).   This hotel is a photographers dream!!!!  First of all,  since there are nine acres (all indoor) ---you must realize that this place is HUGE.   There are 3 large hotels (following different themes),  many restaurants/shops,  a large lobby area,  and a big  convention center area.

Our favorite area is the DELTA --but we also enjoyed seeing both the GARDEN CONSERVATORY and the CASCADES.... If you can dream of being in a HUGE tropical garden containing a river, cascades and waterfalls---you won't believe you are inside of a 'hotel'....

A couple of years ago,  Nashville had a horrible flood ---and the Opryland Hotel was flooded... The hotel was closed for awhile ---but after renovations,  it has come back even BETTER...

You may ask if George and I have ever 'stayed' in that hotel... The answer is YES.... I surprised George with a night at the Opryland Hotel for his birthday in March of 2002.   We stayed in the DELTA area --with a room overlooking the 'delta'...  It was phenomenal!!!!!   (That was when we were both working fulltime and not living on a retiree's budget!!!! ha)

Today I will share just a few of the MANY pictures which we took on the 24th while there.  IF you want more info about the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center,  click  HERE.

Above is a picture taken inside the DELTA.... (Again,  I say that all of this hotel is INSIDE. You can see a little of the glass roof area.)  Be sure and take a boat ride while you are in the Delta.  We've done it and it is wonderful...

Hope you enjoy my little tour.  Be sure to enlarge the photos for bigger prints.

If you are lucky,  you can stay in a room similar to one of these.  We got to stay in one near here (on the 2nd floor) in 2002.... See those purple flowers.  They are orchids ---and are all over the gardens...

Here's a close-up of some of the orchids.   Since I love orchids,  you can imagine how much I enjoyed seeing them.

Here's a picture of George on one of the paths...  This is a great place for walking... You can walk on the lower paths (like this one) where you are next to the gardens... OR --you can walk above the gardens with a different view of the area...

Here's one of the MANY waterfalls in the hotel... Since we are waterfall-lovers,  you can imagine how many photos we took of ALL of the waterfalls and cascades.  If you enjoy hearing the sound of water,  this is the place to be!!!!

George took this picture of me in front of one of the fountains... Sometimes,  they will offer programs where they synchronize music with the 'dancing waters'.... So pretty!!!

Here is only one of the MANY restaurants in the hotel....  Are you hungry?????  It was mid-morning when we were there --so people were eating breakfast.

Finally,  a nice man volunteered to take a picture of George and me together at one of the waterfalls... We were in the CASCADES area now.  We could actually walk behind this waterfall.  Pretty, huh?

Hope you have enjoyed seeing just a few of our pictures from that weekend.. We had a TERRIFIC 11th wedding anniversary,  and didn't have to go far from home for this one!!!!

Have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you on Monday.



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Backyard Birds

Tufted Titmouse
Last week,  I showed you pictures of  10 different Backyard Birds at my feeders  (click HERE for that post)....  Today,  I'll share a few more which have recently been here to visit.

Birds I showed you last week:  Red-headed Woodpecker,  Bluejay,  Brown Thrasher,  Red-Bellied Woodpeckers,  Mourning Dove,  Northern Cardinal,  Goldfinches,  House Finches,  Downy Woodpecker and the Eastern Bluebird.   Today--I'll show some of these again,  but will add SIX more:  Tufted Titmouse,  White-breasted Nuthatch,  Pileated Woodpecker, Gray Catbird, Carolina Wren and a Hairy Woodpecker...

Others that come regularly which I haven't gotten a picture of yet are:  Carolina Chickadee and a few Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, whose feeders are in different locations...  During other seasons,  I have American Robins (yes--they come to the feeders),  Northern Flicker Woodpeckers (don't know where they are this summer),  Dark-eyed Juncos (winter only),  and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (migrate through here in Spring and Fall)...

We have plenty of other birds around --but these are the ones who come to my Bird Kitchen!!!!!!  Hope you enjoy another installment of my Summer Birds..  Be sure to click on the photos to see them larger.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Pileated Woodpecker on top of the Arbor
This woodpecker is trying so hard to find a way to get down to the Suet feeder!!!  I enjoyed watching him... Think he's a young Pileated....

Gray Catbird
This Catbird looks dark enough to be a Cowbird ---but his 'mew' sound  (which sounds like a baby crying) tells me that he is a Catbird (plus the fact that he doesn't have a brown head)...

Male Northern Cardinal
This male Cardinal --with his tuft standing up--just looks so regal,  doesn't he????  Such a beautiful bird....  (Colin--enjoy him!!!!)

Female Northern Cardinal
Could it be that Mr. Cardinal has a 'lady friend' above him in the plate feeder???????  Isn't she beautiful also?????  (That is one of our many Goldfinches beside her.)

Mourning Dove --and a Juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker
This is a good picture of our 'resident' Mourning Dove... We have two of them who come to the feeders regularly... Such beauties!!!!

Carolina Wren
I love the little Carolina Wrens...   The only problem we ever have with them is that they want to nest in our garage.  We won't let them because at times when we are gone,  that garage can get very very hot, since it stays closed up...  SO--we are constantly 'shooing' them out of the garage during the daytime when it is open.

Hairy Woodpecker
I'm excited to finally get a picture of this bird at the suet feeder.  He (they) don't come very often --but I have seen them a few times---always when I am not near the camera.  This time I captured him.. He is a Hairy Woodpecker...  He is similar to a Downy (which we have LOTS of) ---but much larger and with a much longer beak....  What a beauty!!!

Red-headed Woodpecker
I must show you one more picture of the prettiest birds  (well--besides our Bluebirds) at the feeders these days...  Isn't he gorgeous?

Pileated woodpecker
Finally,  here is another picture showing that Mr. Pileated  did make it to the suet feeder... Instead of flying down from the top,  he started at the plate feeder--and flew UP to the suet feeder.. Smart one, he is!!!!  (That yellow thing in the picture is our rain gauge --which is hooked to the arbor.   It had SIX inches in it last week!!!!)

More Bird News:   There are 2 baby Bluebirds in the nestbox,  plus one egg which hasn't hatched yet..  They should fledge about August 1st.....  So exciting!

Have a great day.  And Happy Birthday to my eldest son today...  Bert is 49 years young today.... YIPES---that makes me ANCIENT...... (I was 20 when he was born!)