Sunday, October 23, 2016

The snowbirds are back

I noticed that my birdfeeder is getting busy with new winter arrivals.  This is the time of the year when many migratory birds stop by our gardens, on the way south.  Others stay around for the winter season.  So far I have seen a Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, a hummingbird, a female Painted Bunting and a beautiful male Cardinal (Cardinals are not migratory birds but for some reason they don’t stay around here during the summer)
 This Blue Jay is a year-round resident and the king of the birdfeeder.  These days he is not too happy that the dinning room is getting crowded.

This week at the DragonFly garden:

I started one of my big winter projects, moving the kitchen/vegetable garden to a sunny area in the back of the house.  First I had to find a new location for my collection of cactus and succulents. 
( Is time to pressure clean the pavers)

The work continues next week.
 This is the time for my bougainvilleas in containers to put on their winter colors.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Ten years of blogging

This past week was my blog’s tens anniversary.  Is hard to believe that I been writing this garden blog for the last ten years.  In the early days of my gardening hobby I was reading other gardener’s blog to get pointers and ideas, after a while I decided to start my own blog and share my own experience with my fellow internet gardener.  It has been a tremendous ride in the past ten years we have seen so many changes in this media.  Today the Dragonfly Garden Blog is available on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, social media has taken off and has made our little corner of heaven available to a worldwide audience.
 Ten years is a long time and I have evolved as a gardener.  Today my garden is not as neat as it used to be, there are more tropical fruit trees, more mixing and matching of different kinds of plants, pollinator plants everywhere and many small ecosystems within the garden.  The future is hard to predict, it will probably bring less lawn grass and more wild places and wild life.

I thank you for following me on my little adventure, here is to the next ten years.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

The yearly hurricane practice run

So hurricane Matthew was in our neighborhood this week, we were so lucky that it decided to pass by one hundred miles offshore of Miami.  Every year we get a couple of these storms near by and every year we all go into hurricane preparation mode.  As far as my house goes, I have impact windows so the house is protected; my problem is everything I have in the garden.   I usually put most of my garden decorations and container plants inside my back porch and close the shutters. 
This year Matthew decided to come when my wife and I were on vacation in Colorado enjoying the beautiful fall colors.  We made it back to Miami on Wednesday morning in time before the local authorities closed the airport.

Today was a day of putting the garden back together and cleaning up the mess left behind by the tropical storm winds we got.  Overall everything was OK except for a couple broken branches and lots of leaves on the ground.  The people of Haiti, Eastern Cuba, The Bahamas, northern Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas were not as lucky, I hope and pray for a quick recovery for all affected.

 On a different topic here are some of the photos I took during my visit to the Rocky Mountains where fall colors were at peak time.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Fall is here and the leaves are changing in South Florida

Fall has arrived in South Florida and the leaves are changing (not really) only the Plumeria tree does the fall thing around here.  This is the time for all the Plumeria trees to start to drop their leaves and go bare for the winter, the only sign we have that the season is changing.

Soon all these leaves will be on the ground

Garden time has been hard to come by around here.  Between bad weather and a demanding nine to five job, my garden has seen very little of me.  I worked on my side patio, moving, changing and adding new containers.  I will soon start to work on my vegetable garden, I’m waiting for cooler weather sometime in October.  This year I am changing the entire concept and that will take time and lots of work (stay tune)

Pictures from around the garden this week.

This bromaliad aTillandsia deppeana, was a nice surprise seven flowers in a small container

It would not be a tropical garden without hibiscus flowers, this one is my favorite

This side of the house gets shade all year around, perfect for this bananas and black elephant ear plants 

My newest addition, this coleus is call "Fishnet Stocking" 

The purple Allamanda vine is using the the starburst tree to grow high up, I like the look.

I am ending this post with a photo of a male Julia butterfly, sucking the nectar from a firebush flower.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

After the rain, the rain lilies bloom

It has been a long couple of weeks of daily rain; tropical storm Hermine passed south of us but her effects lasted for days.  Today is the first sunny day with no forecast of rain and this morning the rain lilies decided to make an appearance. 

Not much gardening this week, the rain limited the time outside.  I updated a couple of beds in the front of the house.

 Most of the plants in my street garden are pollinator friendly, here I have a combination of milkweed, firebush, blue porterweed and yellow buttercup flowers.

 I let the lantanas grow wild in this area of the garden, I don’t have the hart to cut it back, and the butterflies love these flowers.

Update on Zika

Last week the Miami Beach botanical garden closed its door and decided to pull out all their bromeliad plants, the garden is located within the Zika designated area.  This is worrisome for me; my garden is about 40% bromeliads.  If this disease gets out of control I can see, how the state will mandate the removal of all bromeliad plants from local gardens.  They did it before with citrus trees when canker threaten the citrus industry, this time the consequences are much more costly especially to unborn children. 

So why am I planting more bromeliads?  Because I don’t like to throw away any of my extra plants.

I hope you all have a peaceful and restful LABOR DAY.

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