Sunday, January 13, 2019

All gardens need a small kitchen garden

Last year I made the decision not to do another winter vegetable garden.  My garden has become a shade garden over the years and my vegetable beds suffered for lack of sun.  This week while I was working on my side garden, I noticed a small spot of the garden getting about three hours of sun at midday.  A perfect place for a small kitchen, herb garden.  My nursery did not have many choices, but I was able to purchased parsley, basil, oregano, dill, swiss chard, spinach and couple of cherry tomatoes plants.  I don’t want to give up on the idea of growing food in my garden, but the only year around sunny area is the west-facing front of the house.  I need to convince my wife and some neighbors that green grass is a thing of the past.


This week at the DragonFly Garden

I took on a project to redo the long strip of garden in between my house and my neighbor.  This area has never gotten much sun all year round, the grass died a long time ago and it has gotten muddy during the rainy season.  It took 20 bags of river pebbles to have it looking like this.  I am using shade loving plants on one side, plants like ferns (more about ferns in future postings) elephant ears, coleuses, banana trees, and others.  The other side is a mix of different plants from all over the garden. 



Before

Begonias are doing well in the containers
 White hibiscus


Sunday, January 06, 2019

The DragonFly Garden has its own weather station

What do you give the man that has everything for Christmas?  His own weather station, of course! My family knows that I have three obsessions in my life, gardening, electronic gadgets, and weather.  This Christmas, they got together and got me this miniature weather station for the garden (I had no idea this was a thing) The station outside transmit wireless to the display inside the house.  The station gives, temperature, humidity, (inside and outside) wind speed/direction, heat index, rainfall amount, barometric pressure, storm alerts and 24 hours weather forecast.  This is a very cool gadget, my wife thinks that it is weather overload, especially for South Florida where the weather doesn't change much, she is probably right but I like my new toy. 
       


This week at the DragonFly Garden

Two different Hibiscus flowers from the same plant. 


Bonsai Buganviella plant with flowers, one of my few bonsai successes.

Birds in the garden

I finally got a decent picture of the hummingbird

Mucking birds are common year-round residents, this one was watching me while I took pictures of the hummingbird.

This Prairie Warbler has been hanging around the garden this winter, I like the way this picture came out.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The DragonFly garden 2018, the year in review

2018 was a year of changes for me and the garden, I retired from my 9 to 5 job and became a full-time gardener.  The garden's fruit trees were productive and my collection of plants continue to grow. 

January -  I started the year with a new water fountain for my side garden, a Christmas present.   

February - This beautiful Hibiscus plant became my ninths in my collection of hibiscus plants, all in pots.

March - This year my collection of bromeliads continues to grow.  This is my favorite bromeliad, it blooms every year in March 

April - The butterflies were back, this year we had a record number of Zebras in the garden.

May - Like every May we had a very wet month, it rained the entire month.  My succulent collection did not fair well.

June - This year we had a record number of Mangos, from our two trees.

July -  Caterpillars invaded the garden during the summer 

August - A first for the garden, a family of squirrels moved into the neighborhood.  I am not sure if I am happy with these new neighbors. 

September - I have always been fascinated by the art of Bonsai and this year I received bonsai tools as a gift.  I am reading books and planning to take a class.

October - The snowbirds arrived in the garden.  This year we have several Painted buntings making my garden their winter home.

November - The Carambola / Star Fruit tree had a record production of fruits for the first time.

December - I changed the look of my front garden, I added more succulents and took out some bromeliads.

Happy New Year

Friday, December 21, 2018

Here comes the light

Today is the winter solstice, not a big deal for us in South Florida, but more daylight is always welcome for those of us working in the garden.  Early this morning we experienced the winter storm that is covering the entire east coast of the US.  The storm gave us rain and high winds with gust up to 40 miles per hour.  My garden is a mess, tomorrow will be a cleanup day.  
Below is my Brunfelsia Grandiflora (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow bush) I call this my Christmas bush, it blooms every year around this time.  


I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I hope 2019 brings you all health and happiness.



Sunday, December 16, 2018

The worst orchid collector.

I love orchids, who doesn’t?  but I have the worst luck growing them.  For some reason that I cannot explain, most of my orchids don’t flower for a second time, some look great but not flowers and others have a slow death in their new container.  I have read books about caring for orchids, I have a good friend that is wizard caring for these plants and has giving me many tips, but nothing has helped.   After reading an article last year about the Million Orchid Project organized by Fairchild Tropical Garden, I decided to change direction.  Fairchild garden is growing over a million orchid plants in their nursery and attaching them to trees all over Miami.  One of my few successes with orchids is the picture below.  I have plenty of trees in my garden, so it makes sense to attach my surviving orchids to all my trees.   I know that some types of orchids do better in trees than others, so I need to do my research. 








This week at the DragonFly Garden
I have two bougainvillea plants blooming this week




I fished this succulent plant from a neighbor's garbage pile, after some TLC and a new container is quickly becoming one of my favorite in my collection

More pictures of the Painted Buntings family in my birdfeeder 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Vacationing in a Tree-house

My family has a Christmas tradition, we like to spend a long weekend in early December at Disney World, enjoying the Chrismas decorations and the holiday atmosphere.  Two years ago we stayed at the Tree-house villas at Saratoga Springs for the first time and I was hooked.   This year we made reservations early and we were lucky to get the dates we wanted.  The idea of the Tree-house is to experience nature and to feel like you are alone in the forest (a rare experience at a Disney park). Those of you that have been to the parks lately know that the mass of humanity can be a little overwhelming so is very nice to stay at a place like this to decompress.  Like everything at Disney these accommodations can be pricey,  but for a large family, you can accommodate up to 10 people comfortably in the three bedroom unit.  





This was the first time my two-year-old grandson was experiencing the full Disney experience.