Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hollyhocks in bloom

This year, the Hollyhocks rewarded me with four different types of flowers. All of you know my obsession with Hollyhocks and how I gather pods of seeds whenever I see a plant. I like to be surprised, so I place all the seeds I collect in a jar and WALLA! Sometimes my tactic doesn’t reward me with variety, like last year when all my plants turned out to have white flowers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sad tale of the Black Swallowtail caterpillars

I have sad news to report on my caterpillar farm. I have lost all of them to an unseen garden predator. I started last week with 31 caterpillars and by Friday I was down to 16. This weekend, I built the compound you see in the picture. Unfortunately, it was not good enough to keep away the hungry predator(s); it raided the pen this morning and took all the remaining butterfly babies.

If I have to point fingers, I would point to the army of lizards that inhabit my garden. They are voracious bug-eating machines (eating good and bad bugs). I have no conclusive evidence that they were the culprits but I cannot fathom any other animal that could have gotten inside the protective pen I built. The only thing that gives me pause is that some of the caterpillars were almost as large as the lizards themselves and my knowledge of lizards tells me they tend to pick on small bugs for their food supply.

It would have been nice to see the full cycle of caterpillar to pupa to beautiful butterfly but Mother Nature had other ideas. Maybe next time since my wife wants to replant lots of parsley to attract more butterflies!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May bloom day at the DragonFly garden

May bloom day is here, and the colors in the garden are looking good after a few days of rain.

The Orange Bougainvillea is looking good this week

My favorite flower the Hollyhocks are blooming everywhere

This wild orchid surprised me with flowers this week.

The white Pentas are ready for the bees.

The Dragon Wind Begonia is adjusting well to a new location in the garden

A beautiful pink rose

The Zinnias are hanging in there before they disappear for the summer

The flowers on this Coleus are as beautiful as the plant.

My new Moss Roses, they are great ground cover

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

UPDATE on the Black Swallowtail caterpillars

Well, I am relieved that I didn’t become a butterfly killer. Thanks to my friends in blog land, I am now the proud papa of about 24 caterpillars.
I need some advice-- what is the life span of these caterpillars before they transform into cocoons? (I don’t think there is enough parsley in all Miami to feed these little guys!)

About a month ago, I took this picture in my garden of a Black Swallowtail butterfly. Maybe she is the proud mama.
For more information on Black Swallowtail
I’ll keep you posted on the babies' progress!

What is attacking my parsley??

What are these and where are they coming from?

This morning I discovered my parsley plant under attack from dozens of very colorful and cool-looking worms. This just happened, since two days ago I picked some and the plant was fine.
In all the years that I have been planting herbs, this is the first time I get an infestation such as this. When I come home from work tonight, I am going to try to save the plant. Picking worms off a plant is not my idea of a pleasant gardening evening but it has to be done!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers in Blog land.

Not much gardening this weekend at the DragonFly garden. I am celebrating Mother’s Day with my two favorite mothers, my wife and my 85-year old mom.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Moss Rose, perfect for South Florida summer gardens.

This weekend was a perfect gardening weekend in South Florida. The weather was ideal, sunny, with the temperature in the high seventies, and the wind blowing in from the ocean. Not many of these days left for us before our torturous summer heat arrives.
I decided it was a perfect weekend to update my side garden, the one visible from both my living and dining rooms.
First, the fountain needed cleaning and the old impatiens were ready for the compost pile. I replaced them with pink Moss Roses, a perfect summer flower. I also did some pruning and weeding in this area--the type of gardening work that never seems to end. Now this area looks so much nicer, don't you think?
The Fire Dragon bush is looking radiant this weekend.
A few impatiens left in the shady corner of the garden
View of my side patio. You can see the beginning of my collection of juniper bonsais.
This is my Zen corner. Many a "deep thought" has been born here!
View from the back yard.
View from the dining room.