Tuesday, June 30, 2009

“Desiderata” Words to live by

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
--- Max Ehrmann, 1927
As true today as it was back in 1927; the only thing I would add, “Strive to be happy and be a gardener”.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

National Pollinator Week

Cassius Blue butterfly on a blue daze flower

Did you all know that all this week has been National Pollinator Week?
The reason for a national week designated to pollinators is to bring attention to the general public, on the risks and dangers facing the population of many pollinators.
Did you know that 80% of the world’s crops require pollination? Without pollinators life as we know it, will drastically change. They are the new canneries in the coalmine, and we better pay attention to their health.
We gardeners have a responsibility to make sure that in our little corner of the world, our gardens are pollinator friendly. Practicing natural gardening (no pesticide) is a must; we need to plant more native plants in our gardens, more flowers to attract bees, butterflies, and also host plants for the caterpillars. For more information on pollinators check this web site.

This morning I worked in my front garden, pulling weeds, moving plants and other pleasant garden duties. In this corner I have blue daze and pentas both butterfly and bee friendly.

I also have many lantanas of different colors planted in the front garden, latanas are a favorite of many pollinators. The heavy rains in the last couple of weeks have done a number on the flowers, latanas prefer drought conditions.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bromeliad flowers from the garden

This morning I took photos of my bromeliads. The flowers are a little unusable and not seen in my blog before. As you can see I am moving more and more into the bromeliad world, theses plants fascinate me. My wife gave me a book for fathers day “Bromeliads for the contemporary garden” I can wait to read it.
This bromeliad is the Tillandsia syanea.

This one is the Neoregelia “Purple Star”

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What do you give the man that has everything?

Today my family and I celebrated Father’s day at my parent’s home. As you all know my dad is 96 years young and a full time gardener. He is the man who taught me everything I know about gardening.

While visiting last week I noticed that a flower bed in the front of the house need it updating so I decided to do a surprise make over for my fathers day gift, I planted ground orchids, a plant dad likes and one he didn’t have in his garden. Ground orchids are year around flowering plants that need very little attention and do well in our hot and humid climate.

Other photos from dad's garden

Other than cutting the grass dad is responsible for everything else in his garden.

The best avocados in South Florida come from this tree; they should be twice this size by the end of the summer and ready to pick.

My heliconia comes from this one.

This flowering taca was a gift from me last year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Meet my newest plant, Heliconia Rostrata or Lobster Claw

I got this Heliconia last year from my father’s garden. The heliconia is a perennial plant related to the banana tree, and is a native of South America and the West Indies, According to a book I have, there are more than 200 named varieties.
Depending on the variety, heliconias grow in shade; partial shade or full sun, my dad recommends an area protected from the wind, the shuts tend to break easily.
Heliconias vary in size from a couple of feet too more than 10feet. The best way to propagate is by dividing the underground rhizomes and re-plant.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Not in my back yard! All of you know that I am friend to wildlife and that I encourage it in my small garden but I draw the line on RATS. I know they are God’s creatures and everything but there is no way I can live with this guy coming to feed in my bird feeder.

He had no fear of my dog or me; he simply continued to eat while we stood there taking his picture and in the meantime the poor birds watched from the fence.
I need advice on how to put an end to this freeloader. Poison is out of the question and an old- fashioned mousetrap won’t work because it could hurt my dog. Any suggestions???

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Out of control gardener

This morning I visited my local Home Depot; I was looking for a bag of eco friendly snail food. That was the only reason I went to the store.

I walked away with 40 dollars worth of plants; thank god my wife wasn’t home.
I got two cannas (I been looking for this type for a long time), two rudbeckias, (why, I don’t know they don’t do well in my climate, but I am a sucker for happy flowers) I also purchased a few Mexican heather, vincas, and dahlberg daisies for containers and borders. I came home and got to work fast trying to finish before the wife returned from the grocery store.
Why am I feeling guilty? I am having a birthday on Monday and I should be allow, right???

Friday, June 12, 2009

Is that time of the year for the night bloomer to put on a show

I was working in the garden this morning pulling weeds (so what else is new) I looked up, and to my surprised the night bloomer had bloomed overnight, quite a site don’t you think?
I don’t know how I missed it, I usually see the buds days in advance and I keep a vigil to see the flowers opening at night.
These are the first flowers for this year; it usually blooms three to four times during the summer. One night and that is it, by 10am the next morning they are all gone

Thursday, June 11, 2009

After the rain come the rain lilies

We been having raining everyday for a month, and this morning the rain lilies bloomed.

I purchased a new plant this week a “Curcuma Alismatifolia” from the ginger family.
Does anyone know the common name?
Any plant from the ginger family becomes dessert for snails and by the looks of the leaves my already has been visited.

Monday, June 08, 2009

On a bad day, the garden is always there to help you through it.

Today I had one of the worst days of my professional career. I had to tell a colleague and friend that the company he had worked for over ten years had downsized his job and he was no longer employed.

How do you tell a man that is too young to retire and too old to start anew that the job he thought would carry him to retirement is no longer there?
How do you tell a man with pre-existing medical conditions that after six months his health coverage will end? When he realizes that in today’s health care crisis environment, he has virtually zero chance to latch on to any health care policy because no insurance company will touch him with a 10-foot pole.

It is a national shame that this great country of ours has no national health insurance for its citizens. When a person is dealing with the loss of his livelihood, the last thing he or she should have to worry about is health insurance. Those of you living in countries with national health programs are so lucky. No program is perfect but that is one less distressful thing in your life, one less worry.

Tonight I came home and headed straight for the garden. The mosquitoes were out in force, the rain was coming down, and the heat was stifling but I didn’t care. The weeds needed to be pulled and I needed to pull them. Thanks, DragonFly--I needed that.

I spruced up my herb corner; the plaster stand with the aloe plant on top was salvaged from a neighbor’s garbage pile. The tomato plant in the picture is my last one for this season.

I cleaned and pulled out all the weeds from my vegetable patch and left the marigold volunteers for some color in the summer. I plan to double the size of the vegetable garden next fall. (Remember, that is one of my big projects for the year).

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

New visitor to the DragonFly garden

This afternoon I photographed a new butterfly in the garden. According to my book it is the Pearl Crescent butterfly.

This butterfly is rather small with a wind span around 3 to 4 cm. It uses all Aster species as host plants.

The Pearl Crescent can be found through out Florida, mostly by roadsides in weed fields.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Day one of the 2009 hurricane season

Here we go again, another year of the dreaded hurricane season, time to make our preparations, go through the list of things to do and keep an eye on the daily weather reports. Isn’t fun living in the tropics?

Project one is done, now I have three to go for the year

This weekend I finished the trellis for the purple passion vine in the back of my house. All the wood I used was recycle wood from other projects and from dumpster diving; it-felt good doing carpentry work again, it is one of my favorite past times after gardening accurse.