I'm always surprised to see butterflies in the garden in winter, but there were actually several out today, enjoying the brilliant sunshine. I saw a few Cloudless Sulphurs, at least one Gulf Fritillary and several smaller butterflies that were too quick for me to identify, but my favorite was this beautiful Red Admiral.
The Red Admiral was enjoying what remains of the purple lantana after our frosts of a couple of weeks ago.
Another surprise that I had not noticed before was this limb of the Esperanza that had escaped the frost by snuggling up to the warm brick wall. Today a large carpenter bee was enjoying its blossoms.
A Christmas surprise was this small bamboo fountain which my brother-in-law gave me in our gift exchange. My old fountain had suffered a broken arm and this replaces it. Charlie, my backyard cat, and all the animals that frequent the backyard, are very happy with it!
The blossoms of the shrimp plant are always a surprise to me. I continue to be fascinated by them. (That fuzzy brown thing in the middle of the blossom is a cluster of sycamore seeds, fallen from the tree that towers over the shrimp plant.)
As the days of this trying year of 2011 dwindle down to a precious few, I wonder what other delightful surprises await me in my garden before we ring in that new year.