Sunday, December 14, 2014

Are Monarch butterflies threatened?

This past week there was an excellent article in the Miami Herald, written by Kenneth Setzer from Fairchild Tropical Garden.  The article looks at the real dangers facing monarch butterflies, and how the loss of habitat, climate change, pesticide and the loss of host plants is affecting the current population.  One statistic that stands out for me, of all the monarchs that overwinter in central Mexico today, the numbers represent only 10 percent of the average population size over the past 20 years.
 There are two types of monarchs, those that migrate from North America to Mexico and those that stay year around mostly in South Florida and Texas.  We are lucky, we get to see these beautiful creatures year-round.
I plant milkweed (the monarch’s favorite plant) throughout the garden.  The writer tells us that Tropical milkweed (not a native), the one we buy in our local garden centers, may be hurting our butterflies.  It has been found that the multi-generational feeding from the same plants is allowing a parasite that hurts the butterfly to accumulate at abnormal levels.  The author recommends that we should eventually replace the tropical milkweed with native milkweed.  For more information on what you can do to help the monarchs, visit the Xerces Society web site at www.xerces.org

THIS AND THAT AROUND THE GARDEN.


This weekend I trimmed the yellow cassia tree.  This tree is one of my favorite trees, but I find that it might not be a good fit for my small garden.















 Lunch time, a salad from the garden.

This Christmas cactus was a gift from a neighbor.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Flowering mango trees in December??

I could not believe my eyes, my mango tree with flowers in December.  Mango trees around here usually start flowering in February, but this year they are a little too early.  I hope we don’t get a cold night with temperature below freezing.

This week I rearranged my succulent collection, the wet summer and fall weather killed many of my plants.

My vegetable garden is coming along; I’m already harvesting greens for my salads.



Cuban cilantro is much stronger than the regular store kind 













My new garden obsession is hibiscus in containers.  So far I have five plants, and I hope to add more.  These flowers are a must in a tropical garden.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

On this day I am thankful for family, friends and this beautiful garden that I’m able to share with all of you.  Thank you for your visits and comments.

Thanksgiving Day, blooms from the DragonFly Garden.
 This hibiscus is the latest addition to my collection, I could not resist bringing her home from Home Depot (I was there buying light bulbs)

This orchid was a surprised this week; this is the first time it blooms







Happy Thanksgiving  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Hummingbirds are back

The hummingbirds are back for the winter, this year we have more hummers than any other winter.   The combination of the powderpuff tree and the firebush has created a smorgasbord for hummingbirds.  Taking pictures of these little guys is not easy, but they are fascinating birds to watch.





THIS AND THAT

Hummingbirds are not the only ones that like the firebush tree.


















More pictures from my yellow Cassia tree.


















This weekend I cleaned this corner of the garden and cut all the old Heliconias.  This is my favorite corner; I get a full view of the garden.


Saturday, November 01, 2014

Color for the winter garden


This weekend I visited my local garden department at Home Depot.  I was looking for annual flowers to put some color in my winter garden.  There were not too many choices; I come home with New Guinea impatiens, pentas, marigolds and lantanas.  






 Don’t you hate when the plant you purchased is mislabeled?  This Hibiscus was supposed to have a peach color flowers.


I divided my African Iris today, after getting some tips from YouTube.  I hope it works. 



What’s blooming in the garden this week?

My yellow Cassia tree is in full bloom this week.  This tree is one of the most aggressive growing trees in my garden and it requires a lot of maintenance, but it’s worth it.   







Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fall is in the air.

Finally this weekend fall arrived in South Florida, and with it came, cooler temperatures, low humidity and the beginning of the dry season.  Yesterday I headed to the garden, Fairchild Tropical Garden that is, ready to take some pictures, do some bird watching and exercise.

I arrived at the garden at opening time (7:30 am) with my camera and tripod in hand; the perfect early morning light waits for no one.  There were no special events at the garden, so I had the place all to myself.






The garden is getting ready for Halloween festivities; the statue is of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, the famous environmentalist and author of the River of Grass book about the Everglades.

The spider is not a Halloween prop, but one of many real spiders throughout the garden.

This cat bird was very gracious, and let me take his picture.