Sunday Stills: A #Tropical Garden Vacation

Hawaii Big Island Hamakua Coastline

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen several of my images taken in and around the Hilo area while on the Big Island of Hawaii.

I also shared a post with some tropical images for my recent post Thursday’s #Hilo Doors with a View.

It makes sense (at least to me) that this week’s Sunday Stills theme is “tropical.”

I celebrated my spring break in Hawaii at my husband’s urging. He wanted one more week off before the summer rush begins at his work. We own a small house in up-country Hilo that needs some major repair and construction, right up hubby’s alley. Apparently working on his house is therapeutic for him.

With hubby working on the house 20 miles away, I was left to my own devices back at the B&B where we stayed. I spent two days alone working on a variety of projects, took walks, and of course, took hundreds of pictures! Did I mention the 75 degree temperatures? Hilo can be very rainy but the weather cooperated most days, with overcast skies only part of the time.

Hawaii Big Island Hamakua Coastline
View of Hamakua Coastline north of Hilo (photo was edited using Paintt filter)

While enjoying the tropical surroundings, I also had the chance to meet up with fellow blogger, Graham, from Graham’s Island. If you enjoy reading about the Big Island of Hawaii, Graham takes amazing photos while explaining something interesting about his subject.

Graham kindly offered to make the two-hour drive from the North end of the island to meet me at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.

With cameras in tow, we walked the trails and shot oodles of flowers and plant life. One of the first flowers we spotted was this purple hibiscus hybrid called “Blue Bayou.” Stunning!

Purple hibiscus flower
“Blue Bayou” Hibiscus hybrid

A tropical garden path overgrown with flowers and plants paved the way for more sites than I could possibly see!

Pathway in the Botanical Gardens
Pathway in the Botanical Gardens

We came across this Crimson Medinilla from the Phillipines hanging like Christmas ornaments.

crimson medinilla red flower
Crimson Medinilla flowers hang like Christmas ornaments

Of course, we stopped every few feet to capture these amazing plants with our lenses. A great photographer like Graham here leans in for that special shot!

Man shooting flowers with camera
Graham getting that macro shot!

We came upon the Malaysian Bat Plant, which really is this color black!

Malaysian Bat Black Flowering Plant
Malaysian Bat Plant

Another hibiscus flower, this one a peachy-orange. Yellow hibiscus is the Hawaii state flower.

Orange hibiscus
Orange hibiscus

The iconic Hawaiian flower, the plumeria, was not in bloom quite yet, but here is one just for fun! Graham has a yearly pass to the gardens and says he sees different flowers each time he visits. There is a chance we may go back to the Big Island to work on the house this Fall, so I hope to see these gorgeous, fragrant flowers!

Walking through the gardens yielded views like this if you stopped and looked up!

Pointy, spiky tropical rain forest
Banyans and Palm Trees reach for the sky

This image of the tropical forest with its spikes, spires and jagged edges is submitted for Becky B’s last day of March Spiky Squares.

I am also sharing these banyan and palm trees with Becca’s Sunday Trees!

Here is one more beautiful little flower, an orchid perhaps?

botanical garden flower
Cute little flower…no clue as to what it is!

I’ve lost count of the many bloggers I have met in person over the last few years and was so pleased to be able to meet up with Graham in Hawaii! We had an enjoyable time and ate lunch in Hilo before he drove me back to the B&B! Visiting the botanical gardens was one of the highlights of this trip to the Big Island.

Today, I am also sharing these tropical blooms for Cee’s Flower of the Day!

April themes are available for view on my Sunday Stills page so you can plan ahead. Remember you can post any time during the week for each theme.

I can’t wait to see your tropical-themed images, poems, stories, even music this week!


my signature w/ hibiscus

Sunday Stills: A Spiky #Spring Has Sprung

Catfaced Orchid welcomes Spring

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, spring officially sprung on March 20…also known as the vernal equinox! While perhaps it does not feel like spring yet where you are, just know that the days are getting longer than the nights by 2 minutes a day.

“In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”
— Mark Twain

If you have not guessed, “spring” is this week’s theme for Sunday Stills.

I am also linking some images in this post to Becky B’s Spiky March Squares.

I may have a slight advantage since I enjoyed spring on the Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawaii this past week. I spent the first day of spring at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden just north of Hilo with none other than Graham, from Graham’s Island! He graciously drove 2 hours from the north side of the island to hang out with me! More about this next week!

For your spring viewing pleasure today, I have several photos taken around the Hilo, Hawaii area this week.

Here is a little preview of one of the orchids I photographed while visiting the botanical gardens. Do you see the little orchid’s perky face as she welcomes spring?

Catfaced Orchid welcomes Spring
Cat-faced Orchid welcomes Spring

The plumeria is my favorite Hawaiian flower. My last visits to Hawaii were in January and plumeria do not bloom until spring. Last week I looked everywhere for plumeria then accidentally found the naked tree with a few blossoms that had just flowered on the first day of spring. I usually recognize the plant by its dark green, leathery, spiky leaves, so it took a moment to realize what I was looking at. This plumeria bloom was captured with the long lens of my camera at the top of the tree from across the street!

Plumeria welcomes spring
First plumeria getting ready for spring!
pink plumeria
What plumeria should look like!

I need to time my Hawaii visits to when the plant is in full flower!

On one of my walks around the neighborhood on Hilo Bay, I spied an elementary school with the beautiful pink ginger plants that grow wild, as well as the hibiscus plants. Nothing like an education among all that floral beauty.

Wild ginger and hibiscus at local school
Pink, spiky ginger plants grow wild along the school fence.

Closer to home, spring means we get ready to head back to the Sacramento River Delta to our windsurf club’s campground. As I drove along the river last April (2018), I couldn’t get over the calm water and its brown reflection. Reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s chocolate river!

Chocolate River
Chocolate river ready for…?

If you are not yet feeling springy or if you just fell into Fall in your part of the world, you can spring into action, spring into Fall or use some other spring idiom to get your creativity flowing!

Meanwhile I will leave you with two more inspirational quotes:

“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”
— John Muir

The promise of spring's arrival

I can’t wait to see the virtual “spring in your step” as you share something springy for Sunday Stills!


Sunday Stills: Show Us Something #Green

Island Gecko

Tis the season for showing us something green, if you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Even if you don’t, the color green is all around us. If you want to get creative, you can use and interpret green idioms as in “green with envy,” “going green” (environmental), “sure as God made little green apples,” “giving something/someone the green light,” or “green thumb.” You get the idea!

Since I am all about my favorite color green, my images for this week’s Sunday Stills theme focus on things that are green.

As you read this week, you may have guessed that I am visiting on the Big Island of Hawaii. We are on the Hilo side, enjoying some R & R and working on some construction details of our little house. Hubby bought the house years ago but only recently has had the time to do the work needed to make it habitable. Meanwhile we are enjoying the amenities of the B&B on Hilo Bay.

These photos were taken last year in January 2018, when we were there last.

This green gecko is very small, only about two inches long, but he let me get a nice close-up with my phone! They are all over the place and eat pesky bugs.

Island Gecko

Akaka Falls State Park is found 11 miles north of Hilo and boasts the 442-foot tall Akaka Falls. A short hike gets you surrounded by green!

Akaka Falls near Hilo

Within a short walking distance from our B&B, is a path that takes you out onto the bay as you walk gingerly through the stilt root palms.

Palm trees on Hilo Bay
Stilt Root Palms

Closer to home (in my backyard) is my favorite hummer family. The little female contemplates her next sip perched on this new green feeder, surrounded by my California Redwoods.

Hummingbird on Feeder

Both images, the palms and hummer are submitted for Becky B’s Spiky March Squares this week and the Stilt Palms are for Becca’s Sunday Trees. I adore photo challenges!

Be patient with me for comment and pingback approvals when you submit for the Sunday Stills photo challenge this week, as I expect to be out and about enjoying the warm temps and green surroundings. No daylight saving time here, so it gets dark around 6:30pm. I still take the time to share your posts to Facebook and Twitter when possible.

I am looking forward to your interpretations of green! Mahalo for playing along!

Tiki signature

Sunday Stills: #Daylight Hours

Day is Done

Today marks Daylight Saving Time in North America and 81 other countries in the world. We “spring forward” in March and lose that precious hour of sleep in order to get more daylight in the afternoon.

Quote coffee
Original photo by Lexi Ruskell on Unsplash

I preferred DST to begin in April and end in October like it used to. It is so dark in the mornings!

As a result, I feel that hour difference for as long as 4 weeks. Even my dogs look for their dinner when the sunlight hits the sky at a certain angle.

DAYLIGHT is this week’s theme for Sunday Stills.

Enough complaining though…let’s celebrate daylight with some fabulous photos!

There is nothing like starting the day with a glorious sunrise!

Sunrise over Sea of Cortez
Sea of Cortez, in Baja Sur, Mexico

Daylight casts shadows…

Shadow of the dog walker
Long shadows, short dog!

Aero casts a shadow and a reflection!

Aero cavorts on dog beach accompanied by his shadow and reflection
Aero loves the beach!

How about a sunset paddle?

sunset paddle session
Sun sets on stand-up paddlers on the Sacramento River in the Delta

Daylight would not be complete without a beautiful sunset!

Day is Done
Spring delta sunset

The sunset on the wind turbines is my entry to Becky B’s March Spiky Squares.

Please share your original images, poems, favorite quotations, and more that depict what daylight means to you.

And if it applies, I hope you remembered to set your clocks forward (yes, I have several manual clocks that need to be re-set). Enjoy the daylight!


#Jagged Edges–Signs of Spring

Spiky Spring Flower

Despite Northern California’s torrential rains and flooded rivers, Spring is gradually making an appearance.

Walking the dogs around my neighborhood in between rain showers, I discovered these lovely flowers, some kind of daisy?

Spiky Spring Flower

Right outside my front door is my American Beauty Rose bush showing signs of spring after yet another shower.

Delicate Drops and Spikes

I admit this photograph is off square just a little to capture the jagged edges of the brand new leaves.

These lovelies were taken with my trusty Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phone.

I am having some fun with Becky B’s March photo challenge, Spiky March Squares. I’m also sharing the daisy for Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge.

my signature w/ hibiscus

Sunday Stills: Walk on the #Wildlife Side

Sleeping Black Bear

Today is World Wildlife Day! We have had some great photos of wildlife, birds, and other critters featured on Sunday Stills just last week with “flight” and in “fur and feathers” last June.

The Sunday Stills theme this week is Wildlife.

Desert Wildlife

While we were on our winter road trip to Arizona and Nevada in January, I took a few photos of local wildlife.

Our first afternoon in Sedona before the major snow dump, we surprised this Javalina (pronounced “hah-vah-leena”) as it foraged in the bushes near a Sedona art gallery and I quickly got this lucky, if fuzzy shot with my phone.

Desert Javalina

“They aren’t wild pigs but are members of the “peccary” family that originated in South America. They are accustomed to humans but generally ignore them unless provoked. They’ve been known to defend themselves with their long, sharp tusks. The primary habitat of the Javelina are the central and southern areas of Arizona in desert-like terrain near washes with dense vegetation. They are found in the outskirts of Phoenix and Tucson as well as Flagstaff and Sedona. It isn’t unusual for them to live within the desert areas just outside suburban communities.”

Arizona Leisure

While hiking in the Valley of Fire in Nevada, I hit the wildlife bonanza. You saw my hawk image featured last week.

After our wonderful hike through the red rocks, we picnicked and were entertained by the golden mantle ground squirrels that thought they could join us.

Golden Mantle Ground Squirrel
Golden Mantle Ground Squirrel

As we drove on to our next scenic area, we noticed a commotion as cars were stopped along the road. To the right, we caught a somewhat rare glimpse of a small herd of desert big-horned sheep grazing. Judging by the size of their horns, they looked like juveniles.

Big horned sheep
Desert Big-Horn Sheep

An Urban Wildlife Sanctuary

More and more we hear of wild animals such as bobcats, mountain lions and coyotes (here in California) roaming the suburban streets looking for food. As suburbia builds further into the natural habitats of wildlife, more of these animals will become displaced.

Often, they are shot (or at least tranquilized) and removed by local law enforcement. Like many, the City of Folsom in Northern California (10 miles east of Sacramento) is one of those communities gradually building further into the Sierra Foothills. Thankfully, the City had a vision in the early 1960s to establish a wildlife zoo/sanctuary.

I took my university’s Facility Management students to the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary last October for a class field trip. The zoo is operated by the recreation and parks department and is overseen by a colleague!

We toured the impressive facility, home to both domestic and wild animals which have been abandoned, rescued, or injured and brought here to live the rest of their natural lives in peace. The zoo becomes their permanent home and the animals are cared for by trained staff and veterinarians. Our tour included the behind-the-scenes areas where some animals are temporarily kept away from visitors because of illness or injury.

One of my students got up close (but not too personal) with a black bear (one of eight).

Student face to face with a bear
Jacob and the bear

Although the zoo sees thousands of visitors a year, the animal residents have areas in their enclosures in which to hide or rest, away from people.

Here is an example of one of the black bears taking a nap.

Sleeping Black Bear
Nap time for Mr Bear

This adorable white cockatoo poses for the camera.

White cockatoo
Friendly white cockatoo

Becky at Life of B has started her Spiky Squares in March photo challenge with the theme of “spiky.” This image and the big-horn sheep are my contributions to Spiky Squares.

A warm welcome to our newest Sunday Stills contributor, Roberts Snap Spot!

Just a reminder to title your blog post differently from mine so SEO can find us all.

I am excited to see what wildlife photos and other creative ideas you will contribute to this week’s Sunday Stills Photo Challenge!