Sunday, February 23, 2014

Honey Bees are welcomed.

It is no secret for those of us out in the garden every day, that honey bees are in trouble.  A few years ago my Miami garden was buzzing with bees, the early morning was a glorious time, you could hear and see hundreds of bees flying from one flower to another.  Today you can count the number of bees visiting the garden and sometime is difficult to find one.
The causes are well known to everyone, loss of habitat, the use of pesticides, colony collapse disorders are many of the reasons.  What can we individual gardeners do?  Georgia Tasker wrote a excellent article in the fall edition of The Tropical Garden magazine about what we can plant in our gardens to help the bees.

This weekend I did my part to help our bee friends, this blue porter plant (one of the bees favorite flower) a volunteer in my front garden and the powder-puff tree are bee central at the DragonFly.   The key to attract more bees is to have a variety of flowers, kind of like a cafeteria for bees.  Yesterday I planted more bee friendly plants like, blue daze, milkweed, white pentas (they prefer the white one) and coleuses. 
Pesticides are another reason for their decline.  My garden has been pesticide free for many years, unfortunate not my neighbors.  Convincing others to stop using pesticide is another way we can help.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

“Bromeliad wars” fighting the spikes.

The last two weeks has been a garden war against the spiking Bromeliads (I have the scars to prove it) I took on the overgrown bromeliads in the front of the house; it was time to make some changes in this corner of the garden.

Work in process

It turns out that the trunk of the fig palm is a perfect place to grow bromeliads


The bougainvillea and wood fence will be gone soon. 

 I planted more Sansevierias in the corner; it’s going to look great with wall in the background

Does anyone want some free leftover broms??

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Miami’s Kampong Tropical Garden

Yesterday I visited a garden in Miami I did not know existed.  The Kampong Tropical Garden, located in the middle of busy Miami near the Coconut Grove neighborhood.  The grounds where the garden is located, was the original home of Dr. David Fairchild in the early 1900’s.  The property was designated a national historic site, and donated in the sixties to The National Tropical Botanic Garden.  A not-for-profit institution, dedicated to tropical plant research, conservation, and education.
The Kampong (a Javanese word for a village) is one of six tropical gardens in the US, and the only one located in the mainland, the other five are in Hawaii. The garden has a tremendous collection of tropical plants, flowers and fruit trees, and is open for tours by appointments only.   

 Large Banyan tree
 Baobab or Dead Rat tree from SE Asia

 Star Fruit or Carambola
 The Asok or Sorrowless tree, the flowers bloom from the trunk of the tree.

A different variety of the Starburst tree 
 The original house Dr. Fairchild built in early 1900’s stands today.  Additions with a S. E. Asia flavor were added by Dr. Kay Sweeney; she purchased the property from the Fairchild estate and is responsible for donating the site to the National Tropical Botanic Garden.

 The property fronts Biscayne Bay, not much unspoiled waterfront land like this is left in metropolitan Miami