Sunday, September 20, 2020

Let the sunshine in

For the last couple of weeks I been working on bringing back sunshine into my garden.  All my trees are growing rapidly and I need sunlight to filter in and keep the garden's diversity going.  

First on the list of trees needing a trim was the avocado tree.  The avacado season is over and is time to keep this tree in check, avocado trees are very aggressive growers. 

The star fruit tree was on the list for a hair cut.

I am considering removing my Plumeria tree, but that will require a tree cutting service, for now I cut some of the lower branches.  This tree blocks must of the sun during our winter months when the sun is high in the souther hemisphere.

This week I scored three croton plants that my neighbor was putting in the garbage.  These croton plants are gorgeous and I will find a place in my garden for them.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

Waiting for the next storm

August and September are the peak of the hurricane season in South Florida, we spend more time keeping an eye on the tropics and storm preparation than anything else.  As I write this post there is tropical storm Laura moving in our direction, the projections are that she will pass south of us, but with these storms you never know.

Starting new garden projects during this time of the year is not advisable.  The last couple of weeks my gardening has been limited to cleaning and upgrading some corners of the garden.

This week I hired someone to cut my giant bird of paradise, it was getting too big and damaging the fence, now I have more sun light in this area. I might grow some winter veggies in containers this coming season.


My organized work bench

I got a new umbrella this week from Amazon

I also cleaned my favorite corner of the garden.  The perfect place to sit and drink a cup coffee in the morning and have a glass of wine in the afternoon.  From here I have a perfect view on the entire back garden.


Sunday, August 09, 2020

Two weeks away plus a brush with a tropical storm

I came back this week from a two weeks summer vacation to the beaches of Southwest Florida.  This vacation was different like everything is these days, but it was good to get out of the city and enjoy a relaxing time on a semi secluded beach.   For the first time the garden was left unattended for the two weeks I was away, the person that usually comes to check on the house was not able to do it this year, and making things worse, my sprinkler system is not working (no problem it rained everyday)  To the end of my holiday, tropical storm Isaias decided to pass nearby the Florida coast bringing tropical storm winds to the city.   I worried what I would find when I came back to Miami, but I was lucky the garden fare well, a little messy and overgrown but no damage from the storm. I lost a few potted plants from the excessive amount of rain, but that was to be expected. 

I nice surprise, I found the white orchids in full bloom, they only bloom once a year in late summer.

The bromeliads in the front of the garden were also a surprise, the red flowers are popping out everywhere.


Saturday, July 11, 2020

Where have all the honeybees gone

The humming sound of bees is missing from the garden this summer.  Everyday when I do my daily morning walk in the garden, I can tell that something is missing, there are very few bees around and is not for a lack of flowers. The blue porter weed, the firebush and coleuses are full of summer blooms.  I don't know the reason, it could be colony collapse disorder, or it could also be that the spring agriculture planting in South Florida was disrupted this year by Covid 19.  My home is less than a quarter of a mile from farm land, the late spring vegetables were never planted this year, and the imported beehives they use to pollinate the flowers never came.  

More bromeliad flowers

This bromeliad is a little early this year, they tend to bloom in early fall

Is the time of the year to harvest star fruits and avocados.  
I am looking for a good receipt to cook star fruits

This orchid is the last transplant from my parents house, the new home is my avocado tree.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

JUNE, month of Water Lilies and butterflies

June is one of those months that you must get through when you live in a sub-tropical climate like South Florida.  Between the constant rain, the hot humid weather, and the armada of new mosquitos.  There is not much to like about this month if you are a gardener.  The month is not a total washout, there are a few bright spots.  The water lilies blooming all over the garden like wildflowers and the large number of butterflies visiting the garden, especially the zebras.

Mexican petunias are also popular in June.

Dozens of Zebra butterflies overnight in my Firebush plant

Julia butterflies are also common this time of the year

I pruned both my mango trees this week.

Avocados are almost ready for harvest. 

Stay safe

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Time for the summer annuals

Over the years the number of winter and summer annuals planted in my garden has decreased due to constrain in space and time.  My gardening style has changed, I now concentrate on year-around plants like bromeliads, ferns and others.  I do have small areas in the garden that I like to keep some color all year, so in spring and fall, I change the plants that are more appropriate with the South Florida weather conditions.

May is usually the time to plant the summer annuals, this year I am a little late with my planting, Covid-19 has thrown all the schedules out the window.  I took out all the Inpatiens last month and today I replaced them with Mexican Heather.  These flowers are great for the hot Florida summer and attract butterflies and bees.  The Purslane is supposed to be summer annuals, but these were planted a year ago and are doing as good as new.  

The ground orchids were planted in this corner of garden several years ago, they produce flowers all year, but summer is their peak. 

This week my wife asked me if I had any white Periwinkle flowers in the garden, it had to be the white flower with the white center.  I have many Periwinkle plants growing wild all over the garden but none with a white flower and a white center.  It turns out that these flowers were used in Cuba by our grandparents as a remedy to cure dry eyes.  They would boil the flowers in distilled water and use the water to drop in their eyes and that would cure or relieve the condition.  I found the plant at Home Depot and planted one in my side garden.  I don’t know if this remedy works, but I will find out soon, someone in our family has a bad case of dry eyes and none of the eye drops proscribed by doctors have worked.

Happy Father's Day
(Please stay safe and wear a mask in public)

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Adopting more plants that I can handle

This week I put my parent's house up for sale after months of renovations.  During all this time I moved many plants from my dad's old garden to mine,  all these plants were planted and care for by my father.   I am running out of space in my own garden but I feel a connection to all these plants and I can't bare leaving them behind.    

I found a perfect place for this popcorn orchids in the trunk of one of my palms.

I am not sure if this Tricolor plant is going to make it.  The full-grown plant has beautiful foliage. 

This bromeliad also comes from their garden

My father loved ground orchids and there are so many of these plants in his garden.  I have a couple planted in my place, but I am leaving many behind.  I hope the new owner will appreciate them  

Mango season is over.  Next week I will be cutting back my two trees, I'm trying to keep their size manageable.  

The winter Impatiens are done for the season, but the Purslane keeps ongoing. 

My bromeliad Pineapple is growing

 One of my Ginger plants