Thursday, July 12, 2018

Time for a summer haircut

It is no secret that during the hot, rainy and humid South Florida summer months, plants grow like they are on steroids.  This week I spent the time cutting back many of the trees, bushes and any plants that were getting out of hand.  Seven full garbage containers later, I think I’m done for the next couple of months.

At times like this, I am regretting the number of trees I planted in my small back garden.  Last count I have six fruit trees, five flower trees and four palm trees.  Over the years my back garden has become a shade garden and it's one of the reasons I cannot grow vegetables anymore.  Don’t get me wrong I love my tree canopy, it is a green oasis in the middle of an urban desert, but the work it takes to keep it all under control is not easy, especially for my 65-year-old body.   There are other times when it is all worth it.  This week I was working outside when several Blue Jays hiding in my trees, started making noises like it was a three-alarm fire.  The subject of all that noise was a big hawk perch on top of my house, an alarm system to all the other birds and creatures in the garden.   

This week at the DragonFly garden

These bromeliad flowers look like they are part of a coral reef

This young Cardinal bird is spending the summer in the garden.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Mango season is over

As fast as mango season arrived two weeks ago, it left us today.  I picked the remaining mangoes on the tree today and pruned both trees.  It took two weeks for all the fruits to ripen, many mangoes were given to family, friends and neighbors, this last batch will be frozen for smoothies and cooking.  I love this time of the year in South Florida, I wish it would last longer.    

 Two weeks ago

I end my post today with Zebra butterfly, there are so many flying around the garden that I can't help but to take their picture when I am out with the camera.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Retiring to the Garden

Today is the first official day of my retirement, after a 40-year career in the airline industry and the last 23 years with my last employer.  I decided to retire and make my garden my full-time job.  Is going to be strange waking up tomorrow not having to worry about traffic conditions for my morning commute and checking overnight emails from oversea offices.  
I turned 65 this year and it was always my intention to end my career at this age.  I could have continued working for a few more years, but as long as the finances work, is better to end our working life while we are young at heart and have enough fuel in the tank for a second career of leisure. 
Retirement for me will be an opportunity for a life, one with all the time to do all the things I could not do during the responsibility years.  Things like work on my nature photography, do volunteer work, travel with my wife, learn to play an instrument and much more.  Yesterday I printed my new business cards the title under my name is “Landscape Artist / Nature Photography”    

This week at the DragonFly Garden

There was a weed growing in the front of the house and when I tried to pull it out I discovered that it was full of caterpillars. The white caterpillars are Zebra longwings butterflies and the orange looking ones are Gulf Frits butterflies.  This summer we had more butterflies in the garden, I had no idea that it had something to do with this weed.  I don’t know what it is and how it got there, but I want to make sure it becomes a regular in my garden.

The garden is full of yellow buttercup flowers, they grow wild and the bees love them.

The first purple Allamanda flowers of the year

The summer rain is stressing the succulents out.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Maintenance mode

These days the garden is on maintenance mode.  June is the worst month of the year for gardening in South Florida.  We are in the high of the rainy season, we are also dealing with hot days, humidity and mosquitoes, not ideal time for outdoor activities.  June is also the start of the hurricane season.
The little time that I spend outside in the garden, is mostly working on keeping the run away plants from taking over.

 The broms are happy with all the rain

My new morning routine, picking mangos

The flowers showing off this week are; Firebush, Kings Mantle, Lady of the night and Heliconias

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The garden from the inside

On this rainy Saturday all I can do is admire the garden from inside the house, there is something beautiful and different in a wet garden.  I have so many projects on the drawing board with summer around the corner, but the rain has been relentless for the last week and a half.  I took this past week off from work to get my garden summer projects started, but a head-cold and the rain put a stop on all the plans.  Alberto the first tropical storm of the season (way too early, hurricane season starts next week) has been seating in the Gulf of Mexico dumping rain on all us and is getting old.  We needed the rain, the dry season was long and unusually dry but after 10 days of the same, we are ready for the sun. 

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Who is eating my Hibiscus plants?

I noticed that some of my Hibiscus plants have been attacked by a ferocious eater.  So far I have not been able to catch the offender.

Is your job to guard my garden and eat plant eating bugs. 

Today at the DragonFly garden

This morning we had a rainy day in South Florida.  All the plans to work outside had to be postpone, not been one to seat around with nothing to do, I decided to clear and clean my enclosed back patio.  Lots of clutter had accumulated since hurricane Irma.

 The yellow chair was on its way to the garbage bin, but I decided to use my last yellow spray paint can.  Now looks like new

 My morning view while I sit with a cup of coffee ready to take on the day.
New flowers this week

The first flowers from the Rangoon Creeper,  soon it will be cover with flowers.

It only took a couple of weeks for the Plumeria tree to be full of leaves and flowers

One of my favorite bromeliad flowers