Saturday, April 19, 2014

A mix of bromeliads, succulents and annual plants

A mix of bromeliads, succulents and annual plants is what my street garden is made of.  Today I finished making some changes to the front and preparing the garden for our annual Easter bash.

A can of yellow pain will do for now, originally I wanted to replace the wood fence with a metal gate and fence but it’s not in the budget this year.  As you can see, I took out the big bougainvillea and planted two new bougainvilleas   in the containers by the gate.

The large bromeliad by the driveway is no more.  I replaced it with the old water fountain planted with succulents that was in another corner of the garden.  Originally I wanted to pull out most of the grass in this part of the garden and plant more succulents, but gardening time is limited for me at this time. (Retirement is around the corner, there will be plenty of time then)

I kept some of the pops from the bromeliad in the front and planted them in a container.  The areca palm that was here is now in my back garden.

Other changes, these bromeliads are going to grow nicely in the trunk of this date palm

This week in the garden, the fragrant lady of the night (Brunfelsia gigantean) is in bloom and the garden at night is a delight.

Look who was walking in my fence early this morning.  This opossum was carrying her baby to a new hiding place; I guess she forgot the time and was surprised by daylight


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Let the sunshine in

The last few weeks have been busy at the DragonFly garden.  I was trying to get all my spring pruning duties in, before the hot summer weather appears and gardening becomes a part time task only done in the early morning and at dusk. I think this year I went a little crazy with all the trimming, but some corners of the garden were looking a little wild. (I have a reputation for been a neat freak)
It all started with the Cassia tree that was knocked down by the wind a month ago.   I also pruned hard the Brunfelsia tree, the Starburst tree, the Fire Dragon bush, and for the first time the Mexican Flame vine.  The bougainvillea by the front gate is history, and so is the Aechmea Blanchetiana bromeliad in the front of the house. (More on some of the new changes in the front garden on my next posts)  The garden looks a little bare and the sunshine is coming through, but this is Florida and it will grow back in no time at all.

Fire Dragon bush before

Mexican Flame vine before

 After, I hope it grows back, fingers crossed

 There was a bougainvillea on top this gate (Gone)

This bromeliad in the front of the house, history, more on my next post.

The Brunfelsia tree is already coming back

Starburst tree
The Cassia tree one month later

Pictures from the garden this morning

Disclaimer:  No birds nest were harmed in the makeover of this garden

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weeding, Pandora radio and couple of beers

Not a bad way to spend a morning in the garden.  Today I took on the garden by the front door, this is the first impression new visitors to my garden get and it needed a touch-up.  After doing some heavy weeding, thinning out the ground orchids and moving a few containers around, it looked like new.   

Spring arrived to the land of eternal summer (The Plumeria tree is in bloom)

I am planning a big project for this corner of the garden.  Today I was supposed to start pulling out this giant bromeliad, but I ran out of gas before I could get to it. (May be I’ll hire someone to do it)

This Neoregelia is one the newest bromeliad in my collection, full sun and water in the cup is all they need. (That’s why I love these plants)

Bad news to report, I dropped my Nikon 3100 camera and broke the LCD display.  Is going to cost me over $200 to fix it, I will without my camera for two to three weeks.  All these pictures were taken with my point and shoot camera.  

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The winds of March

The winds of March came blowing through my garden this weekend, and my yellow Cassia tree came down.  My favor flowering tree in the garden, I hope it recovers.

 The Cassia in full bloom last Fall

 The Cassia tree was not the only casualty, the old yellow bench was too weak for the strong winds.  I had to make some changes in the back garden, the windmill replaced the bench and I replanted a mango tree where the windmill was.    

I planted this mango tree in a pot last year and it didn't do well. 

Sunday, March 09, 2014

360 Video of the DragonFly Garden

We had a glorious early spring Sunday morning today, a good time to do a video of the back yard.  The garden was so peaceful (except for barking dog from my next door neighbor) The potted bougainvilleas are bursting with flowers, the white begonias are in full bloom, and the bromeliads  are taking advantage of the added sunlight.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Birding at Fairchild Garden

Yesterday I joined a group of birders for an early morning tour of the garden.  This was my first time birding and I must say, it was fun, relaxing, and fill with great camaraderie.  The expert birders in the group were happy to share their knowledge with novices like me, and after a while it felt like we were hanging out with old friends.
Fairchild will be holding these tours every Saturday morning for the next two months.  March and April is the time when migrating birds visit the park for a brief pit stop on their journey north.
 I took my camera with my telephoto lens but the birds were too fast for my inexperience eye.  I was able to identified, Yellow-throated Warbler, Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied woodpecker, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, (My favorite) Buff-bellied Hummingbird, Monk Parakeet, Mourning Dove, White Ibis, Green Heron, Tricolored Heron and Egyptian geese.

 Egyptian geese are native to Africa south of the Sahara in the Nile Valley.  They were considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians, and appeared in much of their artwork.  These geese are not native to North America, but are becoming popular in park ponds, golf courses in Texas and Southern Florida.  Must were imported as decorative birds. Those that have escaped private ponds or aviaries have established hardy feral populations that seem to be growing in numbers. This family has taken residence at Fairchild Garden.

The Africa Redhead Agama, is not welcome anywhere in South Florida, this cute little guy I am told preys on smaller Florida native lizards.  
 When are we going to have a law in this country that stops the importation of exotic animals?

Saturday was my lucky day, the Bromeliad society of South Florida was having a sale at the park, and look what I came home with.      

Birding was fun, and I’m definite coming back.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Honey Bees are welcomed.

It is no secret for those of us out in the garden every day, that honey bees are in trouble.  A few years ago my Miami garden was buzzing with bees, the early morning was a glorious time, you could hear and see hundreds of bees flying from one flower to another.  Today you can count the number of bees visiting the garden and sometime is difficult to find one.
The causes are well known to everyone, loss of habitat, the use of pesticides, colony collapse disorders are many of the reasons.  What can we individual gardeners do?  Georgia Tasker wrote a excellent article in the fall edition of The Tropical Garden magazine about what we can plant in our gardens to help the bees.

This weekend I did my part to help our bee friends, this blue porter plant (one of the bees favorite flower) a volunteer in my front garden and the powder-puff tree are bee central at the DragonFly.   The key to attract more bees is to have a variety of flowers, kind of like a cafeteria for bees.  Yesterday I planted more bee friendly plants like, blue daze, milkweed, white pentas (they prefer the white one) and coleuses. 
Pesticides are another reason for their decline.  My garden has been pesticide free for many years, unfortunate not my neighbors.  Convincing others to stop using pesticide is another way we can help.