Saturday, August 27, 2016

No professional help needed

The morning started with the idea of cutting a few branches from the powderpuff tree in the front of the house, the same tree that I was going to hired professional help to cut back.  Fast forward two hours later and I did it all myself.  My wife was not too happy this tree is her favorite.  Powderpuff trees are fast growing, so I expect it will be back full of flowers next summer.  I scheduled a bulk pick up with my county, hopefully it will be done within seven days, we get two free pick ups per year.
PS – I will not be doing that again.  

I got these orchids from a friend a few years ago; every summer I get many white flowers, this year has been spectacular.  If anyone out there knows the name of the orchid let me know.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hacking through the summer jungle

It has been a busy couple of weeks at the DragonFly garden; I am trying to put a dent on all the summer growth.  My goal is to trim one tree a day or until the garbage container is full.  So far I cut back all my fruit trees and a few of the flowering trees, except for the powderpuff tree in the front yard (For that tree I need professional help), many of the bushes and pulled out lot’s of weeds. 

 Back garden

Side gaden

Front garden

Powerpuff tree

The avocado tree was not easy

I’m also been busy starting some of the projects I mention in previous postings.  I started with the old vegetable garden, as you can see in the photos below.  I am turning this section of the garden into an all purpose garden, succulents, bromeliads and any extra plant that needs a home.  

I found this piece of wood on Sanibel Beach while on vacation this summer

Before picture, all that survived from the vegetable garden, were the chives and the mint plant

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Zika - Miami’s new normal

Zika has been knocking at our front doors for several weeks and last week it walked in through an open door.  We knew it was going to be a matter of time before local infested cases were going to be reported.  So far all cases are concentrated in the small neighborhood of Windward in Miami, our local authorities are doing all they can to keep it contain to that area, but this is summer in Florida and mosquitoes are not going anywhere no matter what you do.  The only solution to the Zika virus is a vaccine, but funding for research and development for such vaccine is not coming anytime soon from our federal government.  Our representatives in Washington decided to make this a political issue and left town for their summer vacation.

Zika is making me change the way I garden.  These days I cover myself with mosquito repellent when I am outside, I change the water in the birdbaths daily, I am more conscious of standing water and I put mosquito bits in all my bromeliads water cups.  Mosquito bits kills the larvae and are fish and bird friendly.          

Sunday, July 03, 2016

My garden on steroids

Is that time of the year when the South Florida weather makes our gardens look like they are on steroids.  If you sit outside long enough you can see the grass grow.  This is when the garden needs us the must, but sadly all we can do is sit inside our comfortable air condition homes and watch. I tried to give my garden a couple of hours every week, early on Saturday mornings, but by 9:00 am I am done and the AC is calling me home. 

While I wait for cooler months, I spend the time inside my home planning future projects for the garden like:

A new potting bench for my working area.

 I want to move my cactus and succulent collection to the front of the house and turn this area into a kitchen garden, all in containers.  (I am not totally convinced if I will go through with this project)

In this corner in the front of the house, I want to take out the grass and expand the cactus garden.

I have not decided what to do with my old vegetable garden.  It has been clear for some time that vegetable and herbs are not suited for this area of the garden during the winter months.   
 Stay tune.


I harvested my bananas.

I continue to experiment with my macro lens.

A new visitor to the garden this week, the tiny Cassius Blue butterfly. 


Ps - I am taking a few weeks off from the blog, I will see you soon.  

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hundreds of bees

The bees returned to the Firebush, this morning I was standing next to the tree and I could hear the buzzing of hundreds of bees flying from flower to flower.   Our summer bees are our year around residents; during the winter we get many professional bee keepers bringing in many hives from up north to pollinate the winter vegetables.   By this time of the year they are all gone and we depend on our local bees to do the job.  For the last couple of months, I was concerned with the lack of bees in the garden, but today it looked like normal times.  

The Zebra and Julia butterflies are also plentiful and enjoying the Firebush.

FYI the Firebush is the perfect pollinator tree, popular with bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  I noticed that our local highway department (MDX) is planting many of these trees in the medium and on the side of the road.  Kudos to MDX for bringing more color to our highways while helping our pollinators.

The container and the dog was a gift for father’s day.  Today I headed to my local nursery to find a plant, I found this pineapple lily or aloha lily.  This is the first time I see this plant around here and it had to come home with me.

I also got a Micro lens for my Nikon camera for my birthday (I had a busy week, birthday this week and father’s day tomorrow.   I am practicing my close-up photos. 


Monday, June 06, 2016

Summer replacement.

Every year as summer approaches, must of my annuals died of heat stroke.  Over the years I found that the best summer substitute for full sun areas are the moss rose and the purslane.  These colorful plants are also great ground cover; they bloom all summer long and don’t mind our harsh summer weather.  

I love Elephant Ears plants and the Black Magic Elephant Ears are my favorite.  I been looking for this plant for a while and last week I found one in my local Home Depot store.  

This Orange Geiger tree was a gift from my local government (their efforts to promote native trees).  I like the combination of the olive leaves and the orange flowers, it is one the most attractive flowering tree in my collection. The Geiger tree has two negatives; first it drops all the leaves in the fall creating a mess, and second the white golf ball size fruits drop during the summer.  The ripen fruits do not have a pleasant odor.  

Tomato Hornworms attacked my Angel’s Trumpet plant.  Last week this plant was full of flowers (see my last post) Sunday I discovered this terrorist eating away at my plant.  I did not know that Hornworms found Angels Trumpets appetizing.