Sunday, June 29, 2008

I am taking time off from my garden.

HI everyone, I will be away from my garden and blog for the next couple of weeks. My family and I will be on vacation (“holiday”) traveling in Europe. I hope to take lots of pictures of gardens, plants and flowers (if my family lets me)
See you soon.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Spider Lily is not!!!!

I need some help with this plant; about three years ago I purchased this plant in my local nursery and was told it was a Spider Lily.
This week while I was preparing to do a post about it, and I discovered in one of my garden reference books that the spider lily is a much smaller plant, that it can be use for ground cover, and the flowers are similar but not the same. It could be that my plant is a close giant relative of the Spider Lily but is definite not the same plant.

So if anyone out there knows the common name, I would appreciate it if you let me know. This plant is the kind you put on the ground, walk away and never had to do a thing to it, perfect for busy gardeners. The white flowers are magnificent they have an intoxicating aroma, it usually blooms during the summer months or the rainy season and they do resemble a spider.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bromeliads the perfect tropical plant

Over the years, I have become a big fan of Bromeliads and consider this plant perfect for the tropical gardener. Needing very little care, Bromeliads grow in most soil conditions as long as it is well drained with no pest problems.
The best part about Bromeliads, are the offshoots the mother plant produces before it dies, making sure the plant goes on living forever.
This past weekend I finished my second bed of Bromeliads in the front yard.
These Bromeliads were offshoots from mother plants of my garden, except for the one with the red flower that I purchased at the local nursery.
This is my first Bromeliad bed. It got me thinking about collecting these fascinating plants.
Here are some of the other Bromeliads I have around the garden.

This yellow Bromeliad has been with me for several years and every year it gives me this beautiful flower that last throughout the summer.

If you look closely, you can see the little blue flowers in the center of this one.
This is an older picture. These Bromeliads will not bloom until the end of the summer. The blooms last until Christmas.
I had this plant around the pond and every year I get a couple of flowers.

These are called Fireball Bromeliads. They are small but grow in bunches and are great for ground cover. It does not grow any flowers but when exposed to full sun, the color is magnificent!
This was a gift for my birthday. For now, it will beautify the inside of our house but later, it will take its place in the garden.
Lastly is this chocolate-colored plant, a gift from my dad's garden. It doesn't look like much in the picture but I assure you the color is stunning.
I want to buy more plants for my collection. I also need to buy a Bromeliad book so I can identify each one correctly. If anyone knows of a good book, please let me know.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

GBBD, Father’s Day, and my birthday, all on the same day.

How lucky can I get? All three events on the same date! We are having a party in my garden to honor MOI. I don’t know much of the details since it's a semi-surprise.
The DragonFly garden is doing well this June 15. The constant rain of the past few days has reinvigorated the grass and all my plants (as well as the weeds). Summer is the super growing season around here. I swear if you stare at a plant long enough, you can see it grow.

My feature flowers this month are:

My Night Bloomer was on que last night; I think it knew it was my birthday weekend! These are the first blooms of the season. These pictures were taken at 8am this morning and by 10am, they already had wilted.

The Gardenia has been blooming for the last couple of weeks but the plant is not doing well. The leaves are yellowish and the blooms are smaller this year.

This is the newest container in my front garden. I planted the summer annual, white Purslane, and a Pinwheel Jasmine shrub.

I purchased this bromeliad yesterday for my new bromeliad bed in the front garden. More details on this bed in my next post.

The Thryallis, a summer favorite around here, is in full bloom.

The Yellow Lantana’s by the side of the street are doing well despite all the rain.

I love the strong color on this bougainvillea. This is one of three bougainvilleas I have growing in containers, which allows me to better control the growth.

And, finally, the Blue Plumbago is beginning to bloom this month.

PS – If either of my daughters are reading this blog, a word of warning--I am not settling for just one gift on Fathers/birthday day!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Summer blooms!!!

The height of the summer season has arrived at the DragonFly. The mid-day temperatures are in the 90’s, humidity is high, and it rains every day (the rain is welcome after the drought we had this winter).

The star of my summer blooms is the “Rangoon Creeper” (no it is not a horror movie), also known as Quisqualis Indica. In my native country it was known as “Jasmin Manzano”, which translates to "Apple Jasmine," probably so named because of the fragrance of the flowers.
The vine is very aggressive and it needs to be cut back several times during the year. I don’t mind the extra work; the rewards I get from this plant are worth it. Besides the beauty and the fragrance of the flowers, it also brings back memories of my grandmother’s garden in Cuba.

This morning the rain lilies appeared for the first time.

This beautiful plant growing in all the shady areas of my garden comes back every year between May and October. I don’t know the name but I believe it is a relative of the Prayer plant.

Today my wife and I are heading to Captiva Island in the west coast of Florida for the weekend; we are celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary. I’ll see you next week.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Visit to Fairchild Tropical-Botanic Garden

This past Saturday my family and I visited The Fairchild Tropical Garden on the last day of the Botero – Chihuly – Lichtenstein Art Exhibit. This year the garden transforms the botanical oasis that is Fairchild into a large outdoor art museum. The impressive pieces of these three amazing artists take on a different perspective when displayed in such a beautiful setting.

The sculptures of pop artist Roy Liechtenstein are massive and very colorful. One of the most intriguing of his pieces is the house above which is a flat, still fixture, but, as one walks by it, the house seems to spin around (sorry this fascinating effect cannot be captured in the photo).

The exquisite glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly are my personal favorites and, in my opinion, perfect for this garden setting. The above piece is called “End Of the Day” because it is comprised from pieces broken off other sculptures or that Chihuly did not use in finished works. Rather than disposing of them, he put them all together to make this beautiful tower of glittering glass. “End Of the Day” was purchased by a local benefactor for $180,000 and donated to Fairchild Gardens for everyone to enjoy.

The massive bronze statues of Fernando Botero are not my favorite style of art but I must admit they look very cool and very dramatic in a peaceful garden!