Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day to all the gardeners in the US; I hope you all take the time off and enjoy your gardens. I am planning a cook out in my garden with family and friends (weather permitting). To all gardeners outside the US, why don’t you join us? We’ll do the same on May 1st.
There hasn’t been much gardening at the DragonFly this weekend; the weather has been awful. It has rained on and off for the last couple of days. The two storms near our vicinity are partly to blame. Hanna is hanging around off the east coast of Florida not knowing where to go next, and Gustav is passing by to our southwest.
I hope and pray that Gustav does not become another Katrina and that the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans are spared the furry of this hurricane.

Update on my banana tree- today I took the advise of a neighbor and cut off the bottom of the banana stock. This should leave all the energy the plant has left for the growth of the bananas. As you can see in the pictures the other two banana trees are growing very nicely.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The aroma is intoxicating

This is the only plant in my garden that was not planted by me. One day, I discovered this little guy growing in my back garden; it did not look like a weed so I left it alone.
Surprise, surprise--I was rewarded with this beautiful flower that emits an aroma at night that covers my entire garden.

I don’t know the name of this plant. I think it comes from the jasmine family but I am not sure. If anyone out there can identify this plant and knows its name, please let me know.
The flowers bloom in the summer and last for a couple of weeks. The aroma at night is intoxicating and quite potent. Sometimes when the angels' trumpet bloom at the same time, the garden smells like a perfume factory!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Planting a tree the right way the first time.

The powderpuff flower, from my powderpuff tree.

My neighborhood in western Miami used to be a swamp, part of the Everglades eco-system. During the early 1960’s, developers arrived, drained the swamps, and filled them with crushed rocks.
Today, if I want to plant a tree, I need to dig through about a foot of crushed rock. When I planted my plumeria bush a couple of months ago, I was feeling a little lazy and, as you can see in my last post, I paid the price when Fay passed by this week.

This morning, I decided it was time to finish the job by taking the rocks out and re-planting the plumeria the right way.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tropical storm Fay

I am happy to report that my garden survived tropical storm Fay, except for my white plumeria bush.
As tropical storms go, Fay was not a big deal for us. We received around 6 inches of rain in two days and last night we had wind gust of 40 to 50 miles per hour. This morning we woke up with tornado warning, there were a couple reported but no property damage, thank god.
Tonight Fay is heading north thru the center of the state, dumping a lot of rain on Lake Okeechobee good news for our drought conditions. Fay is suppose to exit the state some where in the Daytona Beach area, gain strengths to category one hurricane and re-enter Florida around Jacksonville. That shows you that these storms are unpredictable and we always need to take them seriously.

Friday, August 15, 2008

August GBBD

August 15 GBBD is here and the summer weather doesn’t let up. Every day it's hot and humid and most days it rains as well (so, what else is new in Florida during August?). The garden is looking a little tired from the summer heat and both the plants and the gardener can’t wait for the cooler autumn months.

My purple allamanda bloomed for the first time this month and I am expecting many more flowers in the next couple of weeks.

The rain lilies burst forth with blooms this week, as well they should since it has been raining every day for the last two weeks.

The buttercup bush greets me every morning full of flowers as I do my morning walk around the garden before going to work.

The white wild orchids are putting on a show this month.

The red canna lilies are doing well this year. This plant has grown over seven feet tall!

The moss rose is my favorite summer annual.

Purslane, like the moss rose, is a great summer annual and perfect for hanging baskets.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A visit to my favorite nursery in Miami.

Going to Richard Lyons' nursery in southwest Miami is like visiting a tropical park. The collection of tropical fruits and flowering trees, flowering vines, native plants, hummingbird- and butterfly-friendly plants are unmatched by any other nursery in this area. The owner, Richard Lyons, is an encyclopedia of knowledge of plants, truly unique in today's mass-marketing nurseries, where knowledge is a distant second to agreeing to work for minimum wage!
The nursery is located in the outskirts of southern Miami, a rural area almost like a world away from this busy, crowded metro area. It is only fifteen minutes away from my house but I always feel like I'm crossing a time zone when I go there! Many of the trees Richard offers for sale are also planted around his property, fully-grown, which allows customers to visualize the end-result of their purchase. The nursery gives the feeling that you are in a botanic garden instead of a nursery. Countless butterflies flap around the butterfly-friendly plants, giving customers confidence to purchase the plants to start or replenish their butterfly garden. There are also many native birds which enjoy this oasis, as well as a stray cat or two!

Jackfruit Tree
This weekend I purchased two Mexican flame vines and a purple passion vine (this one has a gorgeous exotic flower). I have a big project in mind for next week.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

An explosion of Marigolds

Every year I can count on a few annuals like the pentas, torenia, Bolivian sunset, and others to reseed throughout my garden. Usually I don’t have a problem with it, except that I want to save every plant.

This year, I have an explosion of marigolds growing everywhere in my back garden. It's gotten to the point that they are becoming a nuisance, growing in places where I really don’t want them.

I don’t like pulling perfectly healthy plants (I feel like I am committing a crime!) so I just let them grow. Since I also have a weakness for yellow flowers (I believe they make the garden look happier), these especially push my "sympathy" meter!

Since pruning is so important to gardens, every afternoon I am out there with my clippers, performing a kind of birth control on the dead flowers. I want them back next year, but I need to coax them towards the right place.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Bananas, anyone??!!!!!

When I purchased this banana tree a year ago it was about a foot tall. This week, I noticed a shoot that had grown into my neighbor's yard full of little bananas. I don’t know how I totally missed it before this.

These bananas are the dwarf type, much smaller than the kind sold in the local supermarket but, in my opinion, much sweeter and have a longer shelve life.

The best thing about growing bananas is that from one tree you get many. I already have three offspring plants growing next to the mother plant.