August 23, 2021 -- Florida has provided much more outdoor time and an abundance of fabulous vegetation. I've joined Flamingo Gardens, which is a 60-acre botanical garden and wildlife refuge. Recently, I won a small contest there, describing why their environment was important to my work, and submitted three images of botanical watercolors. What the prize allowed was a wonderful time with their Director of Horticulture and their Bird and Animal Keeper. I asked each to show me what most fascinated them. The result was an amazing tour of plants and trees and flowers that I likely would not have found on my own or even understood. I saw one of the wildest looking flowers ever, and an Australian Palm tree that was the director's favorite. The tour was capped off visiting and getting to pet a Black Vulture, hold an Opossum, and meet a 35-year-old blind female owl, who is devotedly attended to by her mate. Should she drop food while eating, he flies down and feeds her. The Hibiscus and Poinciana flowers I've just added to the site are painted here in Florida. Now, I am working on a dried Poinciana flower.
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