Friday, November 28, 2008

A black Friday tradition

Every year on black Friday the day after Thanksgiving, there is a tradition in my family. My wife and daughters go shopping and I put up the outdoor Christmas decorations.

In the early days when my girls were little and I was younger my house decorations resemble those of the Griswolds home in the movie a Christmas vacation. The last few years, as I get older and my daughters are no longer kids I am cutting back, reducing the number of lights and decorations.

Every year I complain that this is the last year, but I love to decorate and I don’t want to be the only grouch in my street that doesn’t decorate.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

For flowers that bloom about our feet;

For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;

For song of bird, and hum of bee;

For all things fair we hear or see,

Father in heaven, we thank Thee!

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Night Blooming Jasmine

My night blooming jasmine is in full bloom. At night the sweet aroma coming from these flowers fills my entire neighborhood.

The flowers and the plant is not much to look at but the aroma is second to none.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Color for my winter garden

Today I purchased impatiens, pentas, and Mexican heathers to add more color in my back garden.

The pentas in this bed lasted more than three years. Ii is time for a change.

Impatiens will do well in this bed; they’ll get morning sun and shade the rest of the day.

Mother, my basset hound, wants impatiens in her bench.

In my bee and butterfly corner, I cut back the blue porter plant and added more pentas and Mexican heathers. I want to have plenty of flowers all winter long to keep the bees busy. We get much more bees in the winter months because of the number of hives that are brought down to help the farmers with their winter crop.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Weeding is the answer.

Getting on hands and knees to weed the garden is the best remedy for these economically- uncertain and stressful times. Blasting James Taylor music through the outdoors speakers while you are doing it makes it even better!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A place where no man or dog dares to enter.

This is my "wild corner", a place in my garden where I've let nature take its course. Except for the spider lily, the croton, and the chenille plant, everything else has been put there by Mother Nature, including all the ferns.

Many creatures make this corner of my garden their home, like countless lizards, a few frogs, field mice, and a very camera-shy small garden snake. This is the only part of the garden that my dog Rosie won't go into. She is no fool!!!

I believe that no mater the size of our gardens, it is important to allow a small section to grow wild and undisturbed with minimal impact from the gardener. Allowing all the creatures to coexist and inhabit these bits of eco-systems will, in the long run, benefit the garden, improve its over-all health, and add to its appeal. Besides, it is the environmentally right thing to do!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

GBBD is here again

A great day for gardeners bloggers bloom day! This morning, I went out to the garden with my camera. The weather was perfect and the flowers were looking good.

New this month in the garden--hibiscus in this gorgeous yellow-orange color.

I am giving hibiscus a second try. I could not resist the color of these flowers but this time, I am planting them in containers hoping they will do well.

I am told the celosia plant is a heavy reseeder. I hope I won't regret this choice later.

The orchids bordering my front walkway

The ground orchids continue to be in full bloom

This miniature orchid, from my orchid rehab center, is blooming for the second time this year.

Tricolor Ti plant

Yellow Lantana


Powderpuff tree continues to bloom beautiful puffy flowers.

The White Bird of Paradise

Bolivian sunset are blooming for the winter

Blue daze in a hanging basket. Is this color amazing, or what?!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Moon over Miami

The sounds and smell of the garden in the early evening have a calming effect after a long and stressful day at work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Cannonball tree

Every time I visit Fairchild Tropical Gardens, there is always a plant or tree that wows me. Saturday, I discovered for the first time the cannonball tree from the rainforests of South America. The reason it's called a cannonball is because the fruits sway and clash in the wind, creating a loud noise like artillery fire. The fruit resemble rusty old cannonballs as they hang in clusters on the side of the tree, attached on rope tangles that emerge directly from the trunk of the tree.

The cannonball flowers are fragrant and resemble a beautiful large orchid. At night, the flowers become particularly pungent in order to attract pollinators.
This tree has been at Fairchild since 1932, making it one of the most senior members of the Gardens!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lets get ready to RAMBLE

Today was the 68th annual RAMBLE Festival at Fairchild Tropical Garden. This is the event of the year for gardeners in Miami which includes common and exotic plant sales, an antique and flea market, fun food, and children's carnival. Every year the plant sale is bigger and better with more and more local nurseries and private plant sellers taking part. The Ramble has become a big fall festival with something for everyone. My wife loves the antiques/flea market section and I go straight for the plants.
The reason this festival is so popular with gardeners is the amazing variety of plants available for sale, with many unusual plants not found at local nurseries. My favorite time at the Ramble is talking with sellers and buyers. We are all gardeners here and the gardening tips are free. Of course, the main reason of the festival's popularity is the incredibly beautiful surroundings of our local treasure, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens.

Every year I have the same dilemma--I want to buy so many plants and have so little space! This year, I came away with three plants--a bromeliad for inside the house featuring a gorgeous purple and red flower (Aechmea del Mar), a Celosia Argetea ‘Caracas” for the backyard (beautiful bushy fuschia flowers), and a native butterfly weed with yellow and orange flowers for my butterfly garden. This last plant drew my eye when I saw a Monarch butterfly flittering and perching around its flowers--I quickly thought, "SOLD"!!!

Pictures of the grounds at Fairchild Tropical and Botanic Garden. There couldn't be a better place for this great yearly event and this year, the weather was truly perfect--sunny but cooler than normal. All around, a perfect day in Miami!

Friday, November 07, 2008

The little bird that could

This little guy has been pecking this palm tree outside my office for the last two weeks. The Red-bellied Woodpeckers are common in our area but not in this part of town. My office is in a third floor and every morning when I open the blinds there he is, pecking away. I gotten used to having him there, it makes my work a bit more relaxing

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Another beautiful sunset in paradise

This picture was taken near my home, looking west to the Everglades.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The most popular flower in the garden

The Cuban buttercup flower is the most popular flower in the garden. Every insect wants a piece of it.
Here's a bee and a moth sharing!!!!!
This plant is consider a weed, it can be found every where in Southern Florida. Nurseries are finding that a even a weed can be profitable. The flower has become one of my favorite, the plant is very resilient and you can count on flowers year around (That is why it's weed) and its also a favorite of butterflies and bees.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Our future depends on it.
Remember, bad politicians are elected by good people that don’t vote.