Tag Archives: Snow birds

Plant Migration

23 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Since we divide our time between the Western North Carolina mountains and Florida ( 6 months each) people ask if we are snow birds. I don’t consider us snow birds as we are not fleeing the snow and cold of winter (which I love) but fleeing the Florida summer heat. I tell them we are blessed irregular migrants, wandering between both places.

The dictionary defines human migration as “physical movement by humans from one region to another” and ecology migration as”the large-scale movement of species from one environment to another;”

The ecology part came into play when we began bringing my dipladenia or mandevilla hanging baskets, cold sensitive plants, to spend winters in Florida with us. They flourished, and make the Spring journey back to North Carolina in full bloom.

Initially I had one plant that hung by the front door but a few years ago purchased another to hang in the back yard for the birds to enjoy. This year I retired an old one from rotation and it will hopefully live happily in Florida. We have had to bring it inside several times this year due to the cold but so far so good. I wish I had a picture before our daughter trimmed it up yesterday. It was huge!. I think the yellow leaves are the result of adjusting to a different climate.

Poinsettia are a long time favorite of mine. During childhood my mom grew them outside and they bloomed beautifully at Christmas. She knew when to trim them back for blooms. Christmas of 2019 I bought some small plants at a home improvement store in North Carolina. They were only 88 cents each so why not! I found I preferred the small plants as they were easier to create a grouping in decorative containers for the holiday season.

Of course I became attached to them and took them with us to Florida. They did well over the winter but I didn’t think they would flourish in the summer heat so we found room in the car and took them with us along with the dipladenia.

We didn’t plant them, simply sat them outside in their pots and let nature care for them. They grew and began to get “leggy”. When our daughter came to spend Thanksgiving with us, I asked her to take the plants to Florida and see how they would do. To my surprise they overcame the “leggy” look and made a beautiful plant.

Moving into the fall of 2020. I posted here about finding a farm that sold a myriad of pansy varieties. I planted three pots of them. Unfortunately, the time to leave for Florida arrived before they reached full glory. So… you guessed it, I brought them with me, but only one pot. I left one on a shepherds hook by the front door and one in a large planter that supports a fountain.

I also picked up 88 cent poinsettias again this year. I set a grouping on the outside stairs as well as some inside. It was tricky trying to remember to bring them in after watering them, but I only watered once per week. They came to Florida too and along with the pansies are now providing cheerful color` to the walkway. If the pansies survive the heat of Florida spring (which begins in late February) I plan to take them back to North Carolina where they should thrive until late April. And yes, there is a good chance the poinsettia will go too. I think maybe my plants are snow bird plants!

We bought this dipladenia in 2020 and look forward to several years of migration. I love these plants because they take care of themselves and yet give us beautiful flowers.

I hope January has been kind to you. We’ve had some medical challenges but remain thankful and confident in the love and care of our Savior.

Company’s Coming

14 Feb

 On the Porch




Onisha Ellis








I popped in at our local Aldi this week to pick up a few items and was stopped in an aisle by a cascade of facial cream rolling across the floor. As I reached down to grab some of items, an older woman flashed a grin and pointed to the shopper who had caused the incident “She’s from out of town” I laughed then said “she must be very excited to be in Florida right now”.




It reminded me of the latter years of my parents’ lives, when February meant family from North Carolina and Massachusetts coming to visit. It meant lots of great food as the women shared the kitchen cooking Sunday Dinner quality meals every night. It meant lingering around the supper table to laugh, swap stories and plan the next day of fishing. They enjoyed surf fishing on our local beach, Playalinda, as well as the inlet at Port Canaveral.




Playalinda Beach - looking south

Playalinda Beach – looking south (Photo credit: Capt Kodak)


When they weren’t fishing they loved to find fresh citrus fruit the locals were selling. They would juice them and put it in the freezer. They especially enjoyed my parents lemon tree. It produced huge lemons and they would freeze the juice in ice cube trays. We were all sorry when a winter-freeze killed the tree.




Heading to the registers, I noticed a group of three older ladies preparing to check out. I could tell by their body language they were bickering over who was going to pay for what. I smiled as warm memories of those check out line arguments filled my mind. In my eyes, they were my mom and her two sisters each stating why they should pay. My aunt Eunice from Massachusetts frequently won by admonishing, “Don’t be silly, of course I am getting this, don’t make a scene.” It appeared the lady at the front of their group was using the same tactic.




I adore my mom’s family and I miss the ones who are gone. At our house, the announcement that company was coming was always joyously received. This Valentines Day I send my love to Eunice, Ray, Francis, Paul and Geroleen. I love you with all my heart.




Family Photo copy




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