Thursday, June 28, 2007

We are moving

Hi everyone, my wife and I are moving to the house next door. No I am not abandoning my garden, is only temporary.
We been talking about remodeling our home of 17 years for a long time and we finally decided it was time. The house next door has been empty and for sale for while so we made a deal with our ex next door neighbor to rent the house during July and August while our home is been worked on. In exchange we will be show it to prospective buyers, our furniture will give the house a more live in look. I also agree to do some work in the front garden to give it more curb appeal.
I will continue to tend to my garden and visit all my friends in the Blog-sphere. I hope you will excused me if I don’t keep up with my blog. (I promised I will try) Tomorrow our local phone company promised me that they will transferred my DSL line (Will see)
See you soon.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Observations from my Garden

June in Florida = Rain. It has been raining for the last 14 days in a row. The mornings are nice but by mid afternoon the monsoon rolls in from the west and the sky opens up.
We are supposed to be in the middle of the worst drought in history and under severe water restrictions. With all this rain you would think that the Water People would ease the restrictions. But NOO, it seems that is not raining at Lake Okeechobee (The source of our emergency water supply) or so they say.
Personally I think is all a Government conspiracy against us gardeners and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wal-Mart garden department is also involve.
Too much rain is no good for a garden most of my plants are looking terrible, only the grass is having a good time, if you look closer you can see it grow.

This week I been seen a lot more bees around the garden, that is good news for everyone.

Update on the woodpecker that is nesting in old palm trunk. I can hear the hungry babies inside and mom and dad are kept busy shuttling with food.

Rain drops keep falling on my plants and DATATATA…..

Friday, June 15, 2007

Portrait of a 94-year old gardener

Meet my father. At 94 years young he is a full-time gardener. From sun up to sun down he tends to his large garden in Miami (not an easy task at any age in this hot and humid environment). My father was born in Cuba in 1913, the son of poor share-cropper and the oldest of seven brothers and sisters. My dad has been around plants all his life. As a child, he quit school to go work in the sugar fields of Cuba to help support his large family. After he married my mother, they both moved to the city but always our house had a beautiful garden lovingly tended by my dad.
Dad got his gardening genes from his mother who was an avid gardener. My grandparents lived in the country in a very modest home and my fondest memory of their home was of my grandmother’s magnificent garden. Visiting them as a child was an adventure that I always looked forward to. My father, grandmother, and I would spend hours in the garden, me doing what little kids like to do like looking for interesting animals and bugs while my dad and my grandmother would work and talk about plants.
When my parents migrated to the U.S. in the mid 1960’s, we settled in southern Connecticut and lived in a third-floor apartment but even there my dad had a small garden--he asked the landlord if he could garden the grassy part of the building’s parking lot!
In 1975, we moved to Miami and my parents have lived in the same house for these past 32 years. All the plants and trees in the garden were planted by my father and the gazebo and utility shed were built by him (carpentry is another of his hobbies). My father retired 25 years ago and since that day he has remained very busy every day, always occupied with a task, most of the time in his wonderful garden.
My father’s philosophy about plants and gardening is simple--share what you have with others and they will share their bounty with you. He seldom buys a plant at a nursery since most of the plants he has are grown from cuttings or seeds. Many of the plants in my garden have come from his, including an heirloom-rose bush he brought with him from our home in Cuba.
Our mutual love of growing plants and gardening has brought my father and me closer together. We talk every day and the conversation usually starts with, “Did you get any rain today?” Dad believes that rain water is like gold for a garden and no matter how much city water one uses, it is never as good as rain.
I get many funny looks when I tell people about my gardening obsession, but the way I see it, I come from a long and proud family of gardeners; growing things is in our genes.
Happy Fathers Day, Dad, and thanks for the gift of gardening!

Gazebo he built after he retired

Pictures from the garden

He grows sugar cane to remind him of his childhood

Tropical fruit tree called “Nizpero” in Spanish

His prized avocado tree

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Rain Lilies are popping up all over the yard

You know we are in the middle of the summer rain season when you get Rain Lilies popping up all over the garden.

A week ago I asked where are the mosquitoes. Well they have arrived and they are hungry. Today I was out around 7pm with my dog Rosie and they attacked, oh well that is gardening in Florida during the summer season. You can’t go out it in the afternoon because the sun will toast you and if you go out at sunset the mosquitoes will eat you alive.

I have this wonderful plant that I don’t know the name; I got it from a neighbor who did not know the name either. Is one my favorite plants in my garden, is great ground cover for shade areas the color of leaves is beautiful and the small lilac color flowers are great contrast against the leaves. This plant grows from April to November then it goes dormant until the following year (this is a rarity in Florida where everything grows year around) The only problem with this plant is that snails love it too, as you can see by my picture and they love to hide under the leaves.
If any one knows the name let me know.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Orchid Cactus first bloom of the season

My Orchid Cactus bloomed this week for the first time this season; it will flower from now into the end of October. I consider the flower from this plant the most beautiful and exotic of my collection.
If you are not paying attention you can you miss the flowers all together because they open up 10pm and they are done by 10am the next morning.
For several years this cacti has been growing on the trunk of an old coconut tree. The tree died a few years ago from a lighting strike, but the cactus continued to grow. For the last two years I been predicting the end because the coconut trunk is rotting and the weight of the cactus will bring it down. I hope it will stay up at least to the end of summer.

Picture the night before it bloomed

Picture in early morning.

Picture before noon

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Hurricane season begins.

Yesterday was June 1st; the beginning of the 2007 hurricane season, for those of us who garden in Florida is always a stressful time. Did all the efforts that we put in the garden this past winter was all for nothing. Twice already I have seen my garden destroy by one of these storms and had to start from scratch.
Every year we go thru the same ritual, the news media goes bunkers over how we all need to prepare and not be complacent. The state of Florida has tax moratorium for two weeks on all storm prepare items and the talk of the town is (Are we going to get hit or not)
This year I am thinking of buying an electrical generator. The last hurricane that passed by here two years ago was Wilma as a category one, the damage was minimum but it did a number to the electrical grid. I was lucky I was without electricity only two days but neighbors two blocks away were out more than two weeks. I can handle been with out air conditioning but I need my refrigerator.
The beauty of gardening in Florida is that plants are so resilient and most of then come back even after getting whack by a hurricane. This weekend we already have a storm forming in the Gulf, it has a name Barry. Thanks god is not expected to get much bigger than a tropical storm. It is dumping a lot of needed rain in South Florida, so no gardening for me this weekend.

The sun flowers are beginning to bloom this week. I planted the seeds about two months ago, my first time planting Sun flowers; they are a good fillers for my tomatoes bed.