Sunday, March 05, 2017

The winds of Lent or “Los vientos de quaresma”

There is a superstition in Cuba, told by farmers that every year during the time of Lent, the days become very windy and they call it “Los vientos de Quaresma” This year Lent started last Wednesday and so did the windy days, today is a beautiful day outside but very windy.   This weekend I decided to spend time outside enjoying the garden, no work except for watering and some weeding.  I noticed that the bird feeder is not as busy as previous days and that many of our winter visitors left early this year.

This is my only azalea plant, I love these flowers, but the heat and humidity of South Florida is not to their liking.  I was in Orlando last week on business and noticed that they are not in bloom there yet.  The bougainvilleas on the other hand love our climate; this year’s mild winter has been great for their flowers.

This week at the DragonFly Garden.

I have another cat with kittens making her home in my garden, she gave birth to two babies.  We have many feral cats in our neighborhood, unfortunate our local government does not pick up wild cats and is up to us to pick them up and take them to the humane society.  This is the second litter of cats for this mama in my garden.  I am going to try to catch her when the babies are older and take her to the vet to have her fix and release her back in the neighborhood.  By default she has become my cat, my wife is allergic to cats so bringing her to the house is out of the question.  I will also try to get these babies adopted. 

Update on my vegetable garden.  All three tomatoes plants have flowers and fruits.  The herbs are doing well and the swiss chard is ready for picking.

This is Cuban culantro, it is similar to cilantro but much stronger, great for cooking Cuban food.

My two key lime and lemon trees in containers are full of flowers.  A great surprise because both plants were not doing so well not long ago, both plants were sick with a fungus disease.

I divided these giant white begonias last year and planted the bulbs all over the garden.  This winter I was rewarded with these beautiful white flowers.    

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Is spring-cleaning time in the garden!!!

For the last two weekends I been clearing, cutting and cleaning the garden beds.  First on the list were the bromeliads in the front of the house.  I love bromeliads, but the yearly job of cutting the old plant and replanting the pops is my least favorite gardening task.  After a day of cutting and replanting you are left with scars all over the arms and legs, a painful remainder that these plants are beautiful but dangerous.

Filled four containers of dead plants

This weekend, I started on the back garden; I have a couple of more weeks ahead to finish the entire garden. In South Florida we have to do one of this type of cleanup once a year and winter is the best time weather wise.  Sometime in the middle of the summer I would need to go back and do another less intrusive job, mostly cutting back some of the trees.  Gardening in the tropics is a year around business.  

What's new in the garden
Most of the bougainvilleas are in full bloom, this one is my favorite. 

A new white Hibiscus followed me home from Home Depot this week  

The orchids are also doing well this winter, I am getting more flowers this year.

The first Plumeria flowers of the year, they are a little early this year. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

The rain is always welcome

Yesterday we had rain the entire day, a rare event for us during the winter season.  These days global warming is changing weather patterns where nothing is rare anymore.  I have been under the weather with a head cold that kept me from work and the garden for the last few days.  Today is the first day I had any energy to go outside with my camera and take pictures. 

Pictures from around the garden

Bananas coming soon to a kitchen near you

Three strawberries plants $9.99, three hanging baskets $24.99 the pleasure of growing your own strawberries, priceless!!!! (the most expensive strawberries ever)  

This morning I took out my macro lens to practice the art of macro photography (I need a lot of practice)  

Wildlife in the garden.
This hummingbird is a daily visitor to the Firebush plant

This snowbird is a Prairie Warbler.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Rambunctious Garden

I finished reading a book this week named Rambunctious Garden by Emma Marris, this book is about the footprint humanity has put on our planet and how it has changed what we today call nature.  Going back to pristine ecosystems, the ways things were before humans put their fingerprints on the land, is not only costly, but it is also impossible to replicate.  The author tells us that we should see nature in our surroundings, from our personal gardens, to the landscape in our highways and the weeds growing in abandon buildings. 
Rambunctious is the perfect word to describe my garden; there is no order to it.  I believe in mixing plants, trees and creating habitat for wild life.  So at the end of the day, you can call my garden a rambunctious contribution to nature in Miami.    

My former vegetable garden

This week at the DragonFly garden.
This weekend I worked on the patio next to the house, the Mexican flame vine was getting old and tired, it need it a hair cut, I also pressured cleaned the pavers and straight it out my storage shed.   

My shed before and after

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hiking in the River of Grass

Every year around this time, I spend a day hiking the trails at Everglades National Park.  Yesterday was a perfect day for hiking; the temperature was in the mid seventies, sunny and no mosquitoes.  This year the water levels seem higher and there was plentiful wildlife out.  I took my Nikon camera and got some nice pictures. 

 Gators are kings around here, they are everywhere where there is water
 This is an American Crocodile, the Everglades is the only place in North America where gators and crocs live side by side.  This big guys looked fearsome.
 Birding is quickly becoming one of my favorite past time.

 These are American Coot ducks, there were thousands in this lake, all swimming in different pods.

The Everglades has been in the news recently, as our politicians continue to discuss funding for the restoration of the natural water flow to the park.   The river of grass is drying up, due to man made mistakes made years ago and now is the time to fix it.  If you care for this national treasure, I urge you to write to your politicians, we owe it to future generations.