Friday, January 01, 2021

End of the year visit to Everglades National Park

It has become a tradition in my family to visit Everglades National Park before the end of each year.  This year the park was not as crowded as before, the pandemic  has done a number on winter tourism in South 
Florida.  One positive outcome was that, we had many of the trails all to ourselves.
This year the water level in the park was higher than usual during the winter season.  Some of the Everglades restoration projects at the northern border of the park have been completed, increasing the natural flow of water coming to the park from the central part of the state.


Park experts, like higher water levels.  They create more food for birds, specially during nesting time.  This Great Egret is happy, higher water is no problem.  I noticed that there were not that many birds in the park this year, may be they didn't get the memo about the extra water. 


I am not a big fan of reptiles, but the fact that the Everglades is the only place on earth where Crocodiles and Alligators live side by side is very cool.

Gators love to sun themselves, the higher water levels reduces the spaces where they can enjoy the sun.  This one is using part of the hiking trail and he doesn't care.


The Everglades is not all water marshes, there are tropical hardwood hammocks scatter throughout the park. Mahogany hammock is one of my favorite trails in the park, it doesn't feel like you are in the Everglades. 

Flamingo is the end of the paved road in the park, next to Florida bay, and where you find plenty of Osprey  birds.


 Thank you for reading my blog this past year
 I hope you all have a Happy and Healthy New Year

Thursday, December 24, 2020

MERRY CHRISTMAS

From my family to yours
Merry Christmas






 













Best wishes for a New Year filled with love, health and happiness 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Harvesting Bromeliads

End of the year, after all the bromeliads bloomed is the best time to harvest all the plants.  The job of taking out all the old plants and letting the new pubs breathe and get some sun, is not an easy one but necessary if you want to keep some semblance of order in the garden.   The bromeliads in the picture below, represent about one third of all the plants in the front garden (there are more in the back garden).  I have decided to reduce the number of plants I have.  The job is getting too big for me to handle.  This year I am getting rid of all the Portea's in my collection, the flower spikes are beautiful but they are big and too aggressive, not suited for small gardens like my.  


Before


Last week we had a cold front come through and it brought high winds, my table umbrella became a casualty.

Now that I don't have an umbrella, there is more sun in this corner of the back garden, perfect for my herb and vegetables garden.

The Brunfelsia tree should be full of flowers by now, but this year for some reason is not a good year.



Female Painted Bunting 

My bottle tree was another casualty of the storm, I had to replace several broken bottles.


 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Chasing hummingbirds

The hummingbirds are back for the winter season.  This year there seems to be more hummers than in past years, I also noticed that they are going after flowers that were not part of their diet before, like the coleuses.  The reason for their change of diet is because their favorite flowers, the firebush and powderpuff have not bloomed as they usually do this time of the year   

No much sun in this corner of the garden, but everything is looking lush and green.

My firebush tree has been crowded by my lychee and mango trees.  I'll wait for the spring after the hummingbirds head north to cut it back.   Yesterday I trimmed some of the dead lower branches. 



This bougainvillea bush is the only one on my collection that does not need full sun to bloom. 


I don't have a before picture, but my garden shed was in desperate need of re-organizing.  

It turned out that all the caterpillars that I posted about last time, were not monarch butterflies but queen butterflies.

 I hope you all have a happy and safe THANKSGIVING

Sunday, November 15, 2020

That time of the year to plant a winter veggie and herb garden.

I decided to give winter veggie gardening another try.  Last year I told myself that it would be my last year wasting my time on a vegetable garden that barely produced.  This year with Covid 19 keeping us all close to home with not much to do, I decided to give it another try.


This is the only corner of the back garden that gets from 4 to 5 hours of morning sun everyday.   As you can see everything is in containers, I am hedging my bets using soil sold for this type of gardening.  The year of 2020 has not been a great year for nurseries in my home town, and it has affected the availability of vegetable seedling.  I am mostly planting seeds this year, like arugula, spinach, chives and lettuces.  The hot and wet weather in my zone 10B are not ideal conditions for sowing seeds, but I’ll give it a try. 



Last week while we waited fo tropical storm Eta, I had over 50 monarch caterpillars born in the Milkweed plants.  With all the rain and wind we had I didn't think they had much of a chance, but they made it through. 



The Painted Buntings are back in the garden for the winter.




 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

A new look for the back garden

Like everyone else all my travel plans for the fall season changed with Covid 19.  So I need it to come up with a plan B.  Garden makeover,  for sometime I been thinking of making changes to the back garden to be more open for entertaining, specially at nigh.  My first task was to take out the last grass section (is impossible to have grass in a shade garden), the next task was adding lighting (a combination of electric LED lights and solar lights) 




























This week I pressure cleaned all the pavers and stone in the front and back garden.  I used to do this job in a day, this time it took me three days (this is what happens when you are retired and can do the job at any time)


The fall migration is beginning , this week a Black-and-wihte Warbler and a Black-throated Blue  Warbler visited my garden.  

Black-throated Blue Warbler


Black-and-white Warbler

There has been a large number of dragonflies in the garden lately, good news for us and bad news for mosquitoes.


Not many flowers in the garden this time of the year, except for the wild petunias (Ruellias) they flower all year-around.




Happy Halloween