Sunday, October 20, 2019

Forty-six years of living

This is the Florida home where my parents lived for the last 46 years.  My mother passed away a month ago and my father eighteen months before.  They both lived long lives, my dad to the age of 104 and my mom to 96 years of age.  They were both very lucky to have lived and died in the home they loved so much.  This is the only house my parents owned in this country & I lived there for the first five years before I got married.  This is the home my girls grew up visiting their grandparents when they were kids.  This is also the home where I first discovered that gardening was a thing and I really enjoyed it.
I am now in the process of undoing 46 years of living. I always knew that this moment was going to be difficult.  Going through my parents' possessions and deciding what to do with them is very hard.  This week I had a realtor friend come to evaluate the property and to give me some selling pointers.  One of the things he suggested was to spruce up the garden.  I can do that; one last time for my parents since they loved the garden as much as the house.
 This house was built in 1957 & during all this time it has had only two owners, the original owners, and my parents.  Not much has changed to the outside of the house since 1957. The inside and the neighborhood has seen many changes.  I hope the new owners will take good care of her.    

 There used to be a big avocado tree there before a hurricane took care of it.
 The big tree is a Sapodilla tree (Nispero in Spanish) This tree was my parents' pride and joy.  They loved the fruits and the shade from this tree.
I helped my Dad build this gazebo when we first moved in.  After living for 10 years in New England he loved the idea of having a gazebo in the garden.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

October is here, changes are in the air

October brings changes to South Florida, the mornings are cooler and the days have less humidity.  Perfect weather for gardening.  

Pictures from the garden
One of my favorite bromeliad flowers,

I have orchids planted on all my trees, sometimes the flowers are a surprise.

A sign of autumn in my garden, the leaves on the ground from my Plumeria tree.

My star fruit tree is full of flowers, you can see the little fruits growing

My garden cat on the prowl, looking for lizards. 

Dinner time at the DragonFly garden

The first Painted Bunting arrived for the winter season.  This is a female, last year we had three males and four females at the feeder all winter long.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Costly garden mistake

Since 1990 when my family moved to our current house we have enjoyed our Plumeria tree in our backyard.  It was the first tree we planted in a grass-dominated yard, a gift from my late father.  Fast forward almost thirty years later and that Plumeria tree has matured to a giant tree overpowering the corner of our neighborhood.  My  house is part of a zero lot neighborhood in suburbia Miami(zero lot homes are individual homes, where one side of the house has no windows and doors and that side is part of your next-door neighbor’s yard) Needleless to say we are on top of each other, this is a way for developers and government to maximize land use in urban areas.  The key to a peaceful existence in this environment is to get along with your neighbors, my family was one of the first families to move in our development and over the year we have had many neighbors come and go.   Currently we have a neighbor that is not happy with my Plumeria tree, he complains about how messy the tree is and that it has become a danger in hurricane season (he is right on both counts)   This mistake is on me, I should have been more attentive to the tree in early years and pruned after each season.  My only solution at this time is to hire a professional tree cutting service (fully insure) to cut the tree, a very expensive proposition. 

Pictures from around the garden
Lady of the night flowers

This croton plant has great color and it stands out among all the green

These bromeliad flowers last for a couple months, giving the garden some color at the end of the summer

Heliconia flowers are year-round flowers and my favorite to photograph

Is Holloween time

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Three years ago, this week.

Three years ago, this week, my wife and I visited the Colorado Rockies on the peak of the fall season.  I have visited Colorado many times during fall and it is always a hit and miss.  The season is short, and it can be early, late or very disappointed. This trip was perfect, and we have fond memories of our time there.   I hope to visit again next year.

This week at the DragonFly Garden

I am turning my attention to the front garden.  I finally was able to get some help and trimmed the Powderpuff tree.  

Next on the list is the Brazilian Red.

This time of the year the garden is looking a little tired.  The heat of summer does a number on most of the plants, especially the potted plants.  I am waiting for the end of October, after the end of hurricane season before I start to replace my annual flower plants.  The buttercup flowers grow all year and they are not bothered by our hot weather, sometimes is good to be a weed.  

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

We dodged a hurricane bullet

We are thankful that Dorian decided not to pay us a visit in Florida, now we need to turn our attention to our neighbors in The Bahamas.  The devastation to the northern Bahamas islands are horrific, they will need our help for a long time, yesterday I donated to World Central Kitchen run by famous chef Jose Andres.  They are ready to set up temporary kitchens in the affected islands to feed all those affected with hot meals.  I remember the first few days after hurricane Andrew passed through South Florida, a hot meal was a luxury we didn’t have.  Today we are taking all our unused hurricane supplies to our local fire station, collecting needed items for the Bahama relief.   Please help, the Bahamians are great people, they have welcomed us to their islands over the years, now is our time to return the favor.

Friday, August 23, 2019

August peak pruning and hurricane season

August is the month to prepare our gardens for whatever mother nature will throw at us.  Every year from mid-July to the end of August I become one mean pruning machine.  Two reasons, one the wet and hot summer makes the garden grow like if it was on steroids and the second is that August and September is the peak season for hurricanes.  I am writing this post while it rains outside, and something is forming over the Bahamas.  The weather people are telling us that it will be a wet weekend but that there is no chance of tropical formation as of now, (they been wrong before) but those in the Gulf of Mexico and mid-Atlantic states need to keep an eye on this no-name storm for next week.

Back to pruning, I am done with my fruit trees and some of my flowering bushes except for my Powerpuff tree in the front garden.  This tree flowers several times each year and this month is full of flowers.  The Powerpuff flowers are very popular with bees and butterflies, so I will wait. 

These white orchids are in full bloom, the plant is getting bigger every year and looking better. 

Bromeliads are the only plants I have that love our hot and wet summer.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Garden throwback Thursday

Today I was reading one of my earliest blog post written back on November 2006 (What a yard sale find!! ).  The post was about my wife’s and I obsession with garage sale bargains and collecting of odd things.  Much has changed in the last thirteen years, we no longer go out to garage sales.  If we see one that looks interesting, we will stop and check it out, but we no longer are in the collecting business, so unless is something that is needed and is a bargain, we pass.  (FYI, I do have a soft spot garden container)
One thing that remains the same is the bougainvillea plant pictured on the post, here we are thirteen years later, and it is in the same pot, going strong.  This plant was the best one-dollar investment I ever made.