Friday, March 30, 2007

The King Mantle Flower or Thunbergia erecta

As summer days get closer the heat of the day is doing a number on my potted plants. I find that some pots need to be water twice a day. A few days ago I told you all, that now that we have daylight savings time I was going to gardening after work on Tuesday and Thursday and going to the gym the other days. Well this week I spent everyday in the garden after work, there is much weeding to be done and so many plants that need to be cut back. I don’t know about you but I find the Gym is so boring, I am trying to convince my doctor that gardening gives you all the exercise a person need.
The pictures today are of my King Mantle shrub this week it burst into hundreds of blooms. I took the pictures early one morning as the sun was coming up, the flowers looked magnificent.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Tomato growing season is over

As many of you gardeners in the northern hemisphere are getting ready to plant your tomatoes those of us from warmer climates are finish with our growing season.
This year was a very disappointed season most plants produce small fruits if at all and the leaves frizzle. I was not the only one, my neighbor and my dad’s plants were the same.
Last week in our local paper in the plant clinic section there was a question about this year poor tomatoes plants performance. The Plant Doctor answered, that this year the plants were infested with a virus and that there was no cure, they came infested from the nursery. Next year I am growing my own from seeds.

Pentas from around the garden

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Another sign of spring in the tropics, the Frangipani tree is in bloom.

When you have a year around gardening season is hard to tell when one season ends and another begins. I know spring is in the air by looking at our trees, the mango and avocado trees are in full bloom in February and March and so is the Frangipani tree.
My pink Frangipani was the first tree I planted from a cutting in my new house 26 years ago it has survived two hurricanes and today is the biggest tree I have in my back yard. This tree acts like a northern tree, in the fall it looses all its leaves (and big ones they are) making quite a mess. The tree is bare all winter and by spring we get the flowers and keeps on flowering into late summer.This tree has many different verities of flowers red, yellow, white, pink and multicolor. My is the more common pink variety, this tree is pest resistance (sometimes the leaves get a rust sickly look but it goes away by the next season), is easy to root from cuttings and is not very picky with the soil is planted. A must have if you garden in zone 10 and

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The dreaded Water Restrictions are in.

We been waiting all winter for water restrictions and finally our local government announced it this weekend.
We are allowed to water our garden only three times per week between 12 mid night and 8 am in the morning. My house has an add number so my days are Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. Violators will get citations for $500.
We are told if things don’t get better up by Lake Okeechobee where we get must of our drinking water the restrictions will go to 2 days per week to maybe no watering at all.
(I hope it will not get to that)

This weekend before the restriction go in affect I decided to water pressure clean my stone back yard.

Pictures from around the Garden

Thursday, March 15, 2007

STOP the clippers there is bird nesting in my bougainvillea

Today is Thursday day two of my Daylight savings experiment. “Working in the Garden after work”
The plan for today was, fertilize the grass and do some pruning to my bougainvillea bush in the front of the house. Half way thru the job I discovered that a Mourning Dove had decided to make a nest on top of my utility shed and among the bougainvillea plant I was planning to cut back.
This is not a very smart place for a nest but Morning Doves are notoriously lazy when building their nest. We have many neighborhood cats that would get to it very easily.
The Job has been stopped until mama and baby bird leave the nest

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Daylight Savings time was made for Gardening

Today at 5pm I did my Fred Flintstone imitation and ran out of the office (daba daba doo) straight for home, no more e-mails no more call back, I was a gardener on a mission to find out how much day light I would have left after getting home from work in my garden.
My typical commute is about a hour and half, today the gods of gardening were with me I made it home in 50 minutes. It turned out that an accident on the highway one mile before the exit where I go on, backed up all the traffic behind me. My fortune was someone else misfortune.
I was out in the garden by 6pm with my faithful companion Rosie the guard dog. I pulled weeds, water the pots and changed the water in the pond. By 7:30 it was dark and time to come inside.
From now on the plan is to go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and straight to the Garden on Tuesday and Thursday or maybe the other way around the gym is not that much fun.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Time to update the Bees and Butterflies section.

This weekend I took time to clean up and update what I call my bee and butterfly corner.
I pulled weeds, added some Pentas, cut back the Blue Porterflower, cleaned up the stones around the bed with my water pressure cleaner and added some mulch.

In this section of the garden I have, Cat’s Whiskers (not in bloom now), Blue and Pink Porterflower, Starburst Pentas (the Bees and Butterflies favorites), Shrimp plant, White Periwinkle and a few bromeliad type plants as fill in.
I also have many Lantanas (another butterfly favorite plant) in other parts of the garden where there is full sun all day it is not too wet.

The weather was perfect for gardening this weekend. The temperatures were in the mid 70’s with a nice breeze and sunny days.
It won’t we like this for much longer the heat humidity of the summer is coming, I can feel it.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Is four years too long to wait for an orchid?

This morning while taking my morning coffee walk in the garden before going to work, I notice some yellow color in a corner of my yard. After some investigating I could not believe my eyes there behind the Spanish moss and attach to my Frangipani tree a small orchid plant that I attached to the tree four years ago had bloomed. After four years of no flowers I got three, I even forgot it was there. The flowers are not much to write home about (compare to other orchids) but after four years I was very excited to find it.
What is blooming in the garden this week?
White Begonias
Angel’s Trumpet (is rain in the forecast)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Is never too early to get ready for Hurricane Season

This year I decided to get ready early, I had the black olive tree in the front of my house trimmed by the people that cut my grass. For $300 dollars he cut back the tree and took away the branches, a bargain this time of the year, as hurricane season gets closer the price goes up.
The black olive tree is a fast growing tree, every two years I have to cut it back so it won’t be a danger to the house incase we get hit by a storm.
If I had to do it again I would had pick a smaller tree for the front of the house but now I stuck with what I have, to cut this tree I need to get a permit from the County and promise to substituted tree with a County approve tree, to much of a hassle.

What is in bloom in the garden this week?
The Crown of Thorns

Monday, March 05, 2007

Are honey bees the new canary in the coal mine?

I was reading this weekend in the local paper how Florida beekeepers have lost around 40% of their bee hives to something called CCD or “colony collapse disorder”, in a mater of days the entire hive disappear. Experts believe the disorder compromises the bee’s immune system and inexplicably they flee the hives and die, they have no idea what is causing it. The cost to agriculture is going to be tremendous and that can be measure in dollars but the cost to human kind and Mother Nature remains to be seen.
What are we doing to our space ship Earth?????

The following are pictures from my quite garden.
Some of the plants I have in the quite corner are Fire Dragon, Variegated Ginger, Tricolor Ti, Foxtail Fern, Bougainvilleas, Impatiens and many more.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Why buy seeds, when they are free for the picking

Pleasant surprise

On my last trip to Vermont this past fall my wife commented to me “You know Rusty you have become your father everywhere you go you pick the seeds from other people’s gardens and put them in your pocket”.
When I get home I empty my pockets and sometimes have no idea what flower they are for. Last year I dedicated a small section of my garden for this project. I put all the seeds there and wait and see what happens. Most of the times all that grows are weeds but some times I get a pleasant surprises.
My father is an old timer (more about his garden in future posting) who believes that it is crime to buy a plant. He believes that seeds and cutting should be free for the taking and that it is every gardener duty to pass it on to others free and without the need to ask. This is the way it should be, but our world today is not that generous, at least not in my part of the country.

Flowers from free seeds