Sunday, June 23, 2019

June, my least favorite month of the year.

I always dread the arrival of the month of June.  In South Florida, we live in a never-ending summer climate, but June brings out the worst of summer.  It is the official start of the summer season for everyone, including us.  It also means the start of the rainy season, the rain brings out the swarms of mosquitos, high humidity, and temperatures in the high nineties (as I write this post indoors, in the comfort of my AC, the temperature outside this afternoon is 101 degrees with a heat index of 115 degrees)  June also brings the worst allergies for me, I get a terrible itch around my eyes the minute I walk outside, especially in the early morning.  As I get older, this allergy has been getting worst.  I don’t know what causes it, but as soon as July comes around the allergies fade away and everything returns to normal.  The high allergy season for us is between February to April when the pollen count is the highest.  I must be allergic to a plant that becomes active during this month.   
In the month of June, the garden becomes very aggressive and it requires my attention more than any other time of the year.  Now that I am retired, I am trying to do a little bit of gardening every day in the early morning, weeding and trimming is the extent of my gardening duties.   

This week at the DragonFly Garden

Yellow spider orchids 

White and purple Ruelias (Mexican Bluebell)

The perfect mango

See what I mean about June, this Fire Dragon bush is out control in need of a haircut

Friday, June 14, 2019

Ferns, my new love affair

I must admit that in my early years of gardening, I was not a fan of these plants.  They were invasive in the garden and I was on a crusade to eradicate them.  Fast forward to the present and they won me over.  The fact that they are a great ground cover for shady areas had something to do with my conversion.    These days they are all over my garden, in the shade and wild areas as well as in pots.  Before my conversion, I had no idea how many types of ferns there are in this world, and how my home state of Florida seems to be a good home for many of them.   I am now officially a collector of ferns, whenever I see a new one at my local plant nursery, it comes home with me.  I like the idea that I have so many places to plant them, where they can thrive.  All the trees in my garden have restricted my gardening experience, so now I have something new to look forward to.  

Foxtail and Birdsnest 

I didn't know that Staghorns are part of the fern family

This Japanese Holly fern did not do well in the shade, will see how it react to more sun.

I found this beauty in the back of my Dad's old garden, so far is one of my favorite.

This week at the DragonFly Garden

It is mango harvest season at the DragonFly.  Mangos become an integral part of our diet during this time of the year (Today's lunch Mango smoothies)

June is the start of the rainy season in South Florida and is also time for the rain lilies to bloom.


Friday, May 31, 2019

Summer time has arrived at the DragonFly Garden

Summer is here and you know it, temperatures are reaching the mid-90s every day and the swarms of hungry mosquitoes are all around.  Florida gardeners are accustomed to these conditions, that is why you will only find me outside early in the morning or early in the evening.  Unfortunate for me, that is peak feeding time for our mosquito friends. Traditionally May is the beginning of our rainy season, we average around 5 inches of rain.  This year according to my rain gage it has rain less than one inch.  My garden is holding up well despite the lack of rain, thanks to my sprinkler system and my rain-barrels.    

My meditation corner looks brand new after a new coat of paint.

Summer favorites
Bougainvilleas are in bloom throughout the summer

Rangoon Creeper or better know around here as Jasmin Manzano

 Kings Mantle

Gardenias are one of my summer favorites

Sometimes our cactus grace us with a flower

I don't see too many of the Gulf Fritillary butterflies in my garden, they have beautiful colors on both sides of their winds.

Today I took a video of the garden early in the morning, I posted it on my YouTube Channel check it out.  Warning I am not a very good videographer.

Friday, May 24, 2019

The pleasure of micro-photography in the garden

This week I have been getting up early before sunrise and going to my garden with my micro lens waiting for the sun to come out.  Micro-photography takes alot of practice, but I think I got the hang of it.  This picture of the crown of thorns flower is my favorite

The Rangoon Creeper flowers are best to photograph in the early morning, the flowers are totally white in the early morning, later in the day they turn pink and red by the end of the day. 

Some succulent flowers are so small, that micro-photography is the only way to capture the essence of the flowers.

One of several types of Heliconias in my garden.

It is not easy to photograph the correct purple color on the Kings Mantle flowers.

Check out the size of the mosquito perch on this Thryallis flower.  The only problem with taking pictures early in the morning is that it is feeding time for these guys (and they are hungry)

The Blue Porterweed plants are all over my garden, I let them be because they are a favorite to all polinators.

This is a spike spider, they are hard workers, they will rebuild the web several times a day if they have to.

Is impossible to take a picture of a butterfly with a microlens.  This Zebra landed on this Firebush flower when I was taking a picture of the flower. (a case of being at the right place at the right time)

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The urban tree canopy

Between my neighbor’s backyard and my garden, we have the thickest tree canopy in our neighborhood.  We both love tropical fruit trees and our two small gardens can count on over twenty trees.  It is sad to see that our city landscape is losing its tree cover, most homeowners see trees as a nuisance.  My next-door neighbor already complained to me that my Plumeria tree is too messy, especially in the fall and I should think about cutting it back,  I explained to him, that Plumeria tree is keeping his house cooler in the hot summer months and helping him with his air conditioning expenses (I don’t think he believed me)
We have lost so many trees due to hurricane strikes and out of control development that our situation is critical.  The local government is trying to replace those trees that were lost, by planting hundreds of trees on the street right of way and by giving trees to anyone who wants to adopt a tree free of charge.  More needs to be done, we need to educate our neighbors of the importance of our trees, how they clean the air around us, cool our homes and neighborhood, attract wildlife, increase the value of our properties and help our planet against global warming.

The saga of my Avocado tree.  A few months ago, I wrote on this blog that I was ready to cut down my avocado tree if it didn’t produce any fruits this year.  Well, it got the message and so far, I am counting around 10 avocados.  This week I had to stake the tree, a storm with heavy winds almost knock down the tree to the ground.    

Mangos are on the way.

Summertime is here and so are the zebra butterflies