Saturday, December 1, 2012

My Good Neighbor Wall

     It is December in Florida 

and signs of the season are hanging brightly on the fence between me and my good neighbors to the north. Arnas, Holly, precious baby Lexi and a tribe of dogs live on the other side of the vine-covered fence that stands between us.

Virginia Creeper (parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a gorgeous, climbing vine which is native to much of the eastern United States. It also enhances the neighborliness of the sixty year old wooden fence on the north side of our house.

"Thank goodness for the vine" some people say because it seems to be holding the fence in its present vertical position. "Thank goodness for Virginia," I say as I pull out my iPhone camera, "because she blesses my eyes and soothes my mind."

When Virginia Creepers' small green flowers mature in the fall season, they turn into purplish-black berries which are toxic to humans (oxalic acid)  but provide food for wintering birds.  A variety of colorful, musical birds appreciate Virginia's bounty also; mocking birds, cardinals and blue jays feast here.

The weather is a bit warmer than normal this year and not all of Virginia's berries have matured yet.  Many berries remain green, round and hard as they progress toward an edible food source for birds. The dryness of the summer has also enabled other vegetative species to join in this good neighbor wall.

No matter where I look along the northern fence line I see an incredible, edible display of natural color, shapes and textures. Yes, life is good. And I agree that a beautiful wall makes this good neighbor happy. 

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