Saturday, December 30, 2006

A week off and nothing to do

I been off work this week and I haven’t done much around the house, there are so many projects for the garden but they will have to wait for 2007.
Yesterday, I could not resist the urge, the weather was perfect low 70’s and sunny. I decided to take on my jungle corner and cut back the Angel’s Trumpet, the Plumbago and the White Bird of Paradise. Friday is garbage day in my neighborhood and as long as I can fit any cuttings in a garbage can, the sanitation man will take it. The work stops when the three garbage cans I have are full. I could take the cutting in my car to a designated drop off area in the city, but I have learned the hard way when you have a lease car it will get very costly at the end of the lease if you use your car to haul tree cuttings.
My father tells me that cutting back trees in the tropics should be done after the first full moon in February. Don’t know if this is a old wives-tales but he always been on target with his advised. This time I could not wait, I have a very busy month of January and February at work and the garden will not be see much of me.
Well that is it for 2006 and I hope you all have a Happy and Healthy new year.

What is growing in the Garden?

I have several Tricolor Ti (Cordyline Fructicosa) in my back yard to add color during the winter, this plant is not known for its flower but I think they are very nice. The best thing about this plant is that any cutting will root.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Was Santa good to you this year?

Santa was very good to me this Christmas. I made it easy for my family this year, everyone has seen my re-new interest in gardening so all my gifts were gardening related.
I wanted a stone bench for my newest gardening spot and I got a beauty along with a birdbath. I can see my self seating there early in the morning with a cup of coffee before heading out to take on the South Florida world. I also got a couple of gardening books (now you will see my blog posting with a little more insight on my plants) and I also got gift certificates to Home Depot.
I am very satisfied with what I got, so if any of my family and friends are reading this blog thanks you did good this year. I am also very interested in any new electronic gadgets, (Specially an Ipod) is never to early to plan for next year or my birthday in June.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

and a

Happy New Year

May 2007 bring you Peace, Health and Happiness

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Retirement is wasted on the old.

In the US by the time you can afford to retire you are too old or sick to enjoy it. If I were the king of the world or “The Decider” I would make the retirement age at 50
If you want to work until you die you should have that choice. Those of us that want to retire early and enjoy life, we should be able to do so and get all the benefits we worked so hard for and be able to do so while we are young and healthy to enjoy it.
If the company I work for were to offer me an early retirement package that included health insurance and a percentage of my current salary. I would sign on the dotted line and be out of my office before the ink was dry. Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate my job, I work for an International Airline the work is challenging but interesting, the pay is fair, the benefits are good and the people I work with are great.
But if the choice is between working long hours everyday, daily commutes of two hours or longer, getting home late and tired with no desire to do anything else but crash in the couch and only having two day a week for leisure activities, or the choice of having plenty of free time to do what you always wanted to do. I’ll take retirement every time.
Here is my top ten list of things I would do if I could retire today.
1 – Give more time to my Garden. The garden is like a child it needs your time, most of the time I feel like the parent that is too tired to go and play ball with his kid.
2 – Take cooking lessons. My wife is the cook in the family and a very good one, but every family should have more than one cook.
3 – Learn to play the guitar, this is my childhood dream.
4 – Take Astronomy classes. There are millions of stars out there and I don’t know the name of any them.
5 - Volunteer in my community, especially in our local schools.
6 – Run for public office, like the local community council and try to make a difference instead of complain all the time.
7 – Take up Yoga
8 – Take driving vacations in a Winnebago with no particular destination in mind.
9 – Expand my Bloging time.
10 – Read the hundreds of books I have purchased over the years in garage sales, and are in my library collecting dust.

What is growing in my Garden?
I don’t know the name of this plant, but is growing everywhere in my neighborhood. Every seed turns into a plant somewhere. The color is very striking and the round flowers give it a nice look in the garden. If any one out there know the name of the plant let me know.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

RAIN and more RAIN

Yesterday my post was about water rationing and drought in South Florida, I did know that my Blog was been read in higher places because it has rained big time for the last two days.
Don’t you hate it when it rains all day on your only day off? I am not complaining we need it badly but why couldn’t wait for the middle of the week.
So all my gardening plans were ruined today, instead I paid some bills, cleaned up the garage and did some Christmas shopping.

Pictures from this morning in my wet garden, Gerbera Daisy, Hollyhock and Zinia.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Water rationing is coming to South Florida this winter.

The words water rationing sends shivers up a gardener spine, but it looks like that is where we are heading for this winter in South Florida. This past year we were lucky we had a short hurricanes season. That meant we had limited rainfall needed to keep lake Okeechobee (that is where we get our drinking water) water level high to get us thru the winter dry season.
Already the lake is about three inches below normal levels for this time of the year and we are barely into the dry season, so we’ll have water restrictions by next month.
At first the water management people will ask in a nice way for voluntary measures like “don’t wash your car, don’t water your lawn during the day, conserve water at home” things we all should do year around regardless of the availability of water.
But people been people especially in big cities conservation is not on their mind.
They expect water to come out of the faucet and they don’t care where it comes from.
We have been thru restrictions before, so when the voluntary nice guy approach doesn’t work then the water police come out with their citation, and that gets everyone’s attention.
As for my garden, I have a sprinkler system connected to a well. Conservation is always on my mind so I have the sprinkler set to run between 4 and 5 am that way the heat of the day won’t evaporate most of the water before it hits the ground. During the hot summer months is set to run every other day and in the winter only when is needed.
As the population increases on our planet earth, I hope our fellow citizens realize that water is a precious commodity that should not be taken for granted and conservation should be practice year around.

What is growing in my Garden

This is a Fox Tail plant or “Rabo de Mono” (monkey’s tail in Spanish) a very colorful and a very aggressive growing plant.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I joint the Composting bandwagon

Since I started reading gardening blogs all I hear is about the wonders of composting in the last couple of weeks and I been debating weather I should do it. The idea of taking all my garden and kitchen scraps putting it in a container and wait six months for the end product did not appeal to me and besides I don’t have much space in my garden. After reading about a fellow gardener composting on her city apartment balcony, I figured if she can do it I should try it. So here it goes, I hope the 6 months wait is worth it.
I planted a banana tree in my back yard this weekend, these are the small sweet bananas not like the one’s you find in the grocery store.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Gardening is good for the soul

The last two weeks have been bit rough around here, first our beloved dog Pepper died, my 85 year old father in law who has been in the hospital since August after having quadruple hart by-pass was not able to come home for Thanksgiving and my employer decided to cut employment by 20%. Yesterday I said goodbye to many good friends after working together for many years, going back to work on Monday will not be the same.
This morning I decided to get up before sun up, made some coffee and went out to the garden with my dog Rosie, it was so peaceful. There is nothing like a garden at sun up, it sure puts everything in perspective.
I spend the rest of the day doing what we gardeners do, pulling weeds, cutting back over grown plants, changing pots and much more. It was a great day.

My herbs and tomatoes are doing well, the tomato plants are full of flowers and already have some small fruits. The herbs needed some prunning, specially the sweet basil

I am getting some flowers from my “Yesterday, today and tomorrow” plant, by Christmas it should be full of flowers, this year looks like is going to be a great one.

A friend of my from Vermont mailed me a bag of seed last October and did not tell what they were “Is a surprise” he told me. This is what I have after two months, I recognize the marigolds and hollyhocks the rest look like weeds to me. I’ll let you know.

Today I decided to start composting I’ll let you know how it turns out in future posting.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Good-bye to an old friend

Last week we said goodbye to our loyal friend and a constant companion our older dog Pepper. After 15 years in our family it was time for her to go to that place in the sky where all our pets go after enriching our lives with unconditional love and loyalty.
We got Pepper as puppy at a local animal shelter; she was our family’s first pet, she grew up with my kids, spending endless hours together in the back yard. She did all the puppy things, from eating my wife’s shoes to getting out of any room we tried to keep her in.
When the kids became teenagers and Pepper an adult, she preferred to hang out with my wife and I, taking long walks in our neighborhood and relaxing by our side.
Five years ago when we brought another puppy into our house and turned her world up side down she didn’t complain; she took on the role of older sister with grace, letting the new comer get most of the attention.
Pepper was the perfect dog, she got along with everyone, humans and dogs, she was a pleasure to have around and a blessing to our family and we will never forget her.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Finally flowers after three years of TLC

Do you have a plant that you reward with extra TLC and it never returns the favor. That’s what I have with this Ground Orchid; I got it as gift three years ago. I fertilized, watered, replanted three times and gave it the best spot in the garden and for three years I got nothing in return. So I decided to ignore it and this week it rewarded me with flowers, not the best I ever seen but it is a start.

Today is the last day of the 2006 Hurricane season HORAYYYYY
This year was the best year since the mid 70’s only two name storms that came near Florida but no direct hits. We needed the break.

The Angels Trumpets flowered again. Very unusual for this late in the year since we are into the dry season and we have not had rain for weeks

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Christmas decorations are up

It took two days but finally the lights are up. Every year I tell my self this is the last year I’ll put lights up, but then my neighbors decorate their houses and I feel guilty that my house would be the only one not decorated.
I also remember how much fun it was for my girls when they were little and walked around the neighborhood looking at the lights. So now I do it for my neighbors kids.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday is a good day for Gardening

My family has a tradition to go shopping on black Friday. This year they did it without me, I had some gardening to do.
I found this container in one of my neighbor’s trash, after a little paint it looks like new. Today I went to the local gardening center and found this beautiful white Bougainvillea, perfect for the container.

While at the store I decided to buy some Petunias for some color in the back yard. Petunias are my wife’s favorite flower. (Got to keep the wife happy that way she won’t complaint about the gardening budget)

The bed of Coleus needed some weeding and cutting back. I took a few cutting to mix and match in a couple of container.



The rest of the weekend I will spend decorating the outside of the house for Christmas while the rest of the family works on the inside.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I found this poem on the internet, is cute

"Twas the night of Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't sleepI tried counting backwards, I tried counting sheep.The leftovers beckoned-- the dark meat and white,but I fought the temptation with all of my might.Tossing and turning with anticipation,the thought of a snack became infatuation.So, I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door and gazed at the fridge, full of goodies galore.I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground.I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the skyWith a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pieBut, I managed to yell as I soared past the trees.......happy eating to all---pass the cranberries, please!"--------------


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Crotons are making a come back in Florida

I read an article in a local paper the other day about the benefits of the Croton plant, it mention how many local governments are recommending the plant because it is drought tolerant and it does well in our poor soil conditions.
When I started my garden I was not a big fan of Crotons, it reminded me of old Florida where you could find them everywhere. Little by little I have come around to be a big fan of this colorful tropical plant. There are many types of crotons and I am trying to collect as many as I can find in the local nurseries. A good source of information about this beautiful plant is The Croton Society.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Bees were out in force this morning in the Garden

I am feeling a little better from the flu this morning and could not resist doing some gardening. The weather is in the mid 70’s and a nice breeze is coming from the ocean, a perfect day for gardening.
My pink Ruellia (Also known as Mexican petunia and wild petunia) plant is spreading seeds all over the back yard and I have young seedling growing all over, so I decided to trans-plant some in containers and give them away to my neighbors. I can’t save them all but there will be more where these come from.
I have pink and purple Ruellias, the flowers open early in the morning and by late after noon they are gone. These flowers are very popular with bees and butterflies. I like the pink better the flower is smaller but the plant does not grow as high.

Bees visiting my Pentas and Blue Porter flowers

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Gardening will have to wait for another week

Lizzy the lizard among the mums

Yesterday I came home early from work sick; I could feel the yearly Flu coming on. Sure enough this morning I feel like I was run over by a truck.
I don’t understand why every year Flu season comes to Florida around this time when our temperatures only change a few degrees from summer. I think the weather excuse is an old wives tale; the real reason has more to do with the start of school. All those kids enclosed in a room passing germs to each other, then they go home and give it to their parents and the parents go to work and so on and on.
So any way I don’t have much energy to blog or do much of any thing except to sit in my couch and watch TV (college football) to bad is a beautiful day out side temperature in the 80’s

Here some pictures I took from around the garden this morning
Visitors to the Bird Bath

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What a yard sale find ! !

I got tell you my wife and I are Yard Sale junkies. Every Saturday morning weather permitting we set out looking for treasures at bargain prices. My wife is a collector of many things so there always is something to buy. I on the other hand concentrate on plants, garden accessories and my only collection hobby “Airline Memorabilia”
Most mornings we end up buying so many things we don’t need nor have a place to put in our home. Many end up in our annual neighborhood yard sale, it’s our way to contribute to the endless recycling of yard sale junk.
Is incredible to me what people sell in yard sales, it tells you a lot about our throw away society and how little value we give to our possession. If our ancestors had been anything like us, there would be nothing to collect today.
I have decided that all my garden accessories, pots and tools will come from my Saturday morning outings. I have a hard time paying retail prices at the local gardening center when I can get bargain prices from my neighbor’s sales. Often my wife tells me “another pot! where are you going to put it” and my reply is "but honey is only 50 cents, this will cost you $5 at Home Depot".
This bougainvillea plant is one of my great find. I paid one dollar for the plant and container this past summer. The plant was dead not one green leaf on her, dead branches everywhere and dried to the bone. I figured the container along was worth $30 to $40. So I decided to try a rescue mission and see if I could bring her back from the dead.
After some trimming, new potting soil and some tender loving care, she came back to life. Fast forward 5 months and here she is in her full glory.