Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Where are the mosquitoes?

Summer has arrived, the heat and humidity is here but where are the mosquitoes? Oh I know we are in the middle of a drought, no water, no larva, no mosquitoes.
You would not be able to tell by these pictures that we are in the middle of a drought everything is so green in the garden. We been lucky, those of us living at the tip of Florida have not experienced the lack of rain that the rest of the state has. If you drive 40 minutes north to Ft. Lauderdale the story is totally different.
The summer favorites are blooming the picture above is a good combination of the Blue Plumbago, the Chenelle Plant (I like the Spanish name better “Rabo de Mono” monkey’s tail) and the Blue Porter flower.
The Blue Plumbago reminds me of Hydrangeas but with smaller flower clusters. This shrub flowers all summer long and the blue color adds contrast to the garden. The only problem with this plant is that it is very informal and will not adapt to any look, it needs to be trim three or four times a year. Once establish this plant does well in drought conditions.

Also blooming in the garden this week this beautiful rose color orchid, you can see the Spanish moss in the background.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Phase two of my Garden begins.

After picture

Before picture

For the last two years I been working on my back yard garden and I kind of ignored the front. The house needed a paint job badly so I figured I wait until the house was painted.
In the past I painted the house myself, so I been thinking about it for the last two year and finally decided that I am getting too old for that kind of a job, so a couple of weeks ago I hired a crew to do it.
After many promises that they would be very careful with my plants and that the job would only take a week, I hired these guys that came highly recommended. We made a deal that the job would be done the week we were on vacation. When I returned from Colorado I found the job half done and all my plants around the house were all trample or painted on. (So much for taking care of the plants)

The front yard garden is going to be a long, a very long project. For now I am putting some drought tolerant plants around the house. I planted Lantanas, Mexican heather, Golden Shrimp, Red Fountain grass and Red Star Cordyline. The Ti Plants and Thryallis were in the front of the house, they took a beating from the painters but they will come back.
I also transplanted the Fireball Bromeliads from another part of the garden and planted them around the Palm tree. This area is very difficult to grow anything and it gets plenty of sun (the more sun the more red they get)

The Crown of Thorns have been in the front yard for a long time, they take the heat and sun very well and they flower year around.

This side of the front yard would have to wait. My neighbor also hired the same painters to do his house. I live in a zero lot home where your neighbor’s home comes up to your property line (This Florida idea is to put more homes in small lots)

The long term plan for the front garden, is to turn it into an English/Tropical combination; I envision a small white picket fence with lots of perennials, some local favorites, less grass and a different tree at the center. Now I have a black olive tree that is too big for the property and it takes away from the garden.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Back to reality

My wife and I came back from our vacation (Holiday) yesterday after spending a week in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The weather was great, low 40’s at night and high 70’s during the day with sunny days and no rain. I think the traveling Gods were with us.
The main purpose of our the trip was to have some rest and relaxation and explore the trails around Aspen, CO in search of wild flowers, unfortunate the trip was a bit early in the season and we were left a little disappointed with the wild flowers in bloom at this time. But never the less, for those of us that live in the tropics, going to the mountains during spring time is an eye popping experience.
I was told by locals that the best time for wild flowers is July and August. This year May was the only time I could get away because of work and besides I got such a great deal on the airfare $158 round trip on TED (United Airlines low fare carrier) from Miami to Denver. Note TED was great the service was good the plane was on time and the bags were not lost. We even got a free movie, it can’t get any better than that.

Personal note on Aspen Colorado, the last time I was there was 25 years ago when I was a skier (back when my knees could take the pounding) back then the town was a mix of the rich and famous and long time locals. Today if feels like the rich and famous won and the locals are gone, the Real Estate value is measure in the several millions of dollars, no one with a normal salary can live in town.
When you talk to the workers in the hotels, stores and restaurants they all live in neighboring towns some have commutes longer than my (two hours each way is very common)
It is such a shame to walk around town during the off season and see all those beautiful homes empty with owners that only come once or twice a year during the ski season and then you see the real people that make a town alive leaving after work. It is a shame because in my opinion Aspen is one the most beautiful western towns in the Rockies.

Dandelions everywhere

Alpine Phlox (so I am told)

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Happy Mother's Day to all the gardening mothers in the blog sphere.
My wife and I are taking a well deserve R and R trip next week. We are heading for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We are staying in the Aspen area and will be taking daily hiking trips in search of the famous wildflowers of the Rockies.
Stay tune for pictures.
A friend email me the history of mother's day very interesting.

Red roses in time for Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I am wild and crazy about my Coleus.

OK I know, I am overdoing my posting about Coleus, but they are for this year my favorite plant. I am growing them all over my garden and the color and contrast it gives the garden is fantastic. This past year our winter was very mild so all my plants came thru and I didn’t loose one.

The best thing about Coleus is how easy they are to propagate from a small cutting you can have a beautiful plant in weeks.

Some of my plants take a hit from the afternoon Florida sun. That is why I am putting many in containers and moving them to areas of the garden where they get some shade.

The flowers are not that attractive so I remove them to get better looking leaves ( the reason why we own Coleus)

Except for this one, the flowers are as good looking as the plant.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Rescued from the Garbage

Friday as I was leaving work, I noticed that someone had thrown away this Yucca plant, as you can it was totally neglected by its pervious owner, at one time is was a beautiful plant but it had the bad luck of ending up at a home where it was completely ignored.

I took it home cleaned it up a bit and repotted now is in my recovery area waiting to recover and when it will have another home.
I have a weakness about seen a plant that is not completely dead thrown away.

Is dinner time at the firefly garden.