Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hump day at the DragonFly Garden

A rare Giant Swallowtail butterfly visited the garden this week.

It must be summer the gardenia bush is in bloom

Mangos anyone?

Kale has been plentiful this year.

One of my favorite bromeliad, the colors are perfect for the camera 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Plant a tree and help the planet.

Earth Day was last week did you plant a tree?  Here are some of the reasons you should.  1 - Trees combat climate change.  2 – Trees clean the air.  3 – Trees provide oxygen. 4 – Trees cool the streets in the cities.  5 – Trees conserve energy in our homes.  6 – Trees help prevent soil erosion.  7 – Trees provide food.  8 – Trees mark the seasons.  9 – Trees increase property values.  10 – Trees provide canopy and habitat for wildlife.
I know I’m preaching to the choir, but I feel very strongly about the need to plant trees in our gardens specially those of us living in big cities.  I remembered 1992 when hurricane Andrew destroyed the tree canopy in Miami, I hope I never see that again.   So far my small plot of land has nineteen fruit, flowering and palm trees.  And I am not done yet.

A Tap, Powderpuff trees and a Date palm in the front of the house

Lychee and Longan trees

Two Mango and Orange Geiger trees

Avacado Tree

Plumeria tree and three palms

The lattes tree to the collection, a Caranbola or Star fruit tree.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring arrived in the land of never ending summer

Spring blooms are everywhere

Lady of the night, the flowers that is, are making night visit to the
garden a pleasant affair.  

  1. There is a Plumeria explosion in the garden 

One solitary orchid

 One of my garden employees, responsible for pest control.  This is his or her territory.

I love this time of the year.  The garden looks alive and we can enjoy it, before the mosquitoes and the summer heat arrives.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Vegetable, herb, kitchen garden???

Several years ago, this section of the garden started out as winter vegetable garden.  The first couple of years were productive and the harvest was plentiful, back then this area got the right amount of winter sunlight.  These days, all the fruit trees I planted in the backyard, block most of the morning sunlight and the area in under shade most of the day.   Over the years, I have learned the hard way, what plants do well under these conditions.  I find that cherry tomatoes grow almost everywhere, lettuces also do well and most herbs too.  This year I planted kale for the first time and it did great, the only problem is that no one in my family likes kale in their salads.  I am trying to find a good receipt to cook it.
 This garden has evolved into a potpourri of bromeliads, cactuses, herbs and vegi plants.  I like what it has become, it fits my style.  Today I spent the day fencing the garden; it seems like our neighborhood cats like to do their private business here.  I know what you are thinking, “that little fence is going to stop any cat”??  Well I am hoping that they will move on somewhere else or I might need to get a new dog.

 A new location for the lemon tree.

I planted Arugula seeds here, I usually don’t plant seeds this late in the season, but I had some left and let's see what happens.

It has been a good year for cherry tomatoes.

 I am looking forward to eating plenty of bananas.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Garden up-close and personal

Today I am starting a new midweek post for the summer months.  I call it “The garden up-close and personal” This time of the year; I have a few extra hours of daylight after coming home from work.  This is the time that I can water my all my containers, do some weeding and take pictures of the daily changes in my garden.

 Delicious Cherry Tomatoes

The Zebras are back for the summer

A picture of the DragonFly garden resident catbird

The heliconias are coming out

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spring garden festival at Fairchild Gardens

Today we spent the day at Fairchild Tropical Garden enjoying the annual spring garden festival. The weather cooperated; the temperature was in the mid-seventies, with a nice breeze coming from the ocean and not a cloud in the skies.   There were plenty of plants to buy and good food to eat.

Every time I visit the garden I discover a new plant that I have never seen before.  This beautiful bush is from French Guiana, the scientific name is “Combretum Rotundifolium” If it was up to me, I would name it, the centipede plant.

As expected, I came home with a new plant for the garden.  I have been looking for a star fruit tree for a while; I found this one at the plant sale section of the festival.     

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Preview of retirement life.

This past week I took a vacation from my 9 to 5 job.  My plans were, to have no plans, go with the flow as they say.  As I approach my retirement years, I think a lot of what the next chapter would look like.  I have enjoyed my career in the airline industry, but as the magic number approaches is time to turn the page and start a new career (the job of retirement)
These last seven days were a preview of coming attractions. I tried to open a window to what my life would look like. First I didn’t miss the commuting and the Miami traffic, having no set schedule is liberating.  The concept of having extra time to do what I wanted was surreal.  I did not sleep-in, I like getting up early and retirement will not change that, I did take short naps in the afternoons (that was awesome)  It will take some time for me to break the work email addiction, I have to admit that I checked those emails on a daily basis.  I work with a great bunch of people and I will miss them, but I will not miss the stress.
So here is what I did this week.  First I took care of Uncle Sam (never pleasant), I fixed my garden’s sprinklers, I rode my bike, my wife and I took a day-vacation in the middle of the week and visited places in our town that we never go. I visited with my new grandson, I worked in the garden every day for short periods of times (no need to do it all on Saturdays), I started organizing the thousands of photos in my computer and I started reading a book.  I know this was only a week, but I am sure it will not be a problem for me to adjust to this new job.

 This week at the DragonFly garden.

It’s time to harvest the cherry tomatoes.

The orange Geiger tree lost all the leaves two weeks ago and one week later it has a new cover and flowers.

Time to refresh the bromeliads, every year I cut out the mother plants and replant the babies.  This job is big and it will take me weeks to finish.

I trimmed the Brazilian Red bush this week.  This plant is gorgeous in full bloom, but it is aggressive.

Now that I fixed the sprinklers, I started working on my front garden, trimming, weeding and planting.