Saturday, June 28, 2014

Is mango harvest time

Is that time of the year in South Florida, mangos are available for sale in every street corner.   This year my only mature tree did not produce any fruits, but my neighbor’s did.  I hope next year with the addition two more trees I should be able to enjoy plenty of mangos, to keep me going all summer. 

This week at the DragonFly Garden! 
Today, I planted more bee and butterfly friendly plants in the front of the house.

The puwerpuff tree is in bloom for a second time this year.  Bees love these flowers, is incredible to me how they get inside the flowers.

I finally got the Lychee tree I wanted for the garden. (You haven’t lived until you had a Lychee martini)  I got tired waiting for one of these trees to be available from the county free tree give away, so today I purchased one from a tropical fruit tree nursery.

My succulents are not having an easy time with all the daily rain; I lost a few so far this summer.

This morning I followed this male Julia butterfly around the garden with my Nikon telephoto camera.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy summer solstice from Miami

Today is the first day of summer or as is better known as the Summer Solstice.  For those of us from the land of never ending summer is another hot and humid day, only a little bit longer.
 The longest day of the year started this morning sunny and beautiful, perfect for photo time.  By midday the thunderstorms came rolling in from the west over the Everglades and the skies opened up.  I lost count of how many days in row we had rain this month, typical summer weather   

Many bees in the garden this morning, do you think the knew the importance of the day?

 By the time I noticed this dragonfruit flower it was too late

Summer solstice day was a perfect day for spring cleaning.  Before it rained I had time to clean my garden shed and my outdoor working area. Good times!!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Adopt-a-Tree and help the environment

This yellow hibiscus is my flower of the week.
Every year our county government (Miami-Dade County) gives away two trees per household.  This tradition was started after hurricane Andrew when the southern part of the county was almost entirely deforested.  This weekend was the first give a way of the year and I was there early to claim my two trees. They had shade, flower and fruit trees,  I was only interested in the fruit trees and came home with a mango and a longan tree.

What is a Longan tree???

 Dimocarpus longan, commonly known as the longan, is a tropical tree that produces edible fruits.  The tree belongs to the soapberry family, to which the lychee also belongs.  It is native to Southern Asia, the longan ("Dragon Eye"), is so named because it resembles an eyeball when the fruit is open. 

I am not done planting fruit trees; my next acquisition is a lychee and a star fruit tree.  I don’t know where I’m going to put them, but I’ll figure it out. So far I have three mango trees, an avocado tree, several dragon fruit trees, a key lime tree and a date palm.

After twenty plus years living in this house, I finally gave in and screened the back porch.  I am not a fan of screens but the older I get the less tolerance I have for mosquitoes, now I can seat in the back porch with a cold beer after work and enjoy my garden. 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Peaceful Kingdom

The lazy days of summer are settling in, and the DragonFly garden is turning into a peaceful kingdom.  The gardening duties are down to a couple hours of maintenance in the early morning, while the rest of the day is spent taking pictures and admiring the scenery. 

The bees are gorging on the plentiful nectar from the Blue Porterweed flowers.

The butterflies are back.
Zebra Longwings


 The Monarch butterflies are laying eggs on the Milkweed.
 New residents arrive every day, as the Milkweed disappears.

 A family of Blue Jays; patrol the air, keeping predators away.

 Lizards keep order on the ground.

The army of mercenary lady bugs; have moved on to battle enemies in other gardens.

The snail rebellion was crushed and driven underground, when the king put his foot down. (Pictures are too graphic to be shown on this blog) 
All in all, life is good in the Kingdom (unless you are a snail)

Happy Father’s Day 

Sunday, June 01, 2014

First day of Hurricane Season

 June 1st is not a day for celebration around here; it is the beginning of the hurricane season.  From this date forward and for the next six months we have to keep an eye on the weather forecast and pray that no storm comes our way.  The experts predict a slow season this year, because of the “El Nino” weather pattern in the Pacific, unfortunate hurricane science is not an exact science, and all it takes is one coming near to our neighborhood.

The end of May and the beginning of June is also the start of the rainy season in South Florida.  My rain barrels are now full, after a week of heavy rain, the grass is growing fast and the mosquitoes are back in full force.

What’s blooming in the garden this week?

The Rangoon Creeper (Jasmin Mansano) is in full bloom, and this year is putting on quite a show.  This is the most aggressive plant I have in the garden, but without question it is the most beautiful and fragrant flower in the summer garden.  It is also a vivid reminder of my grandmother’s garden in Cuba, the person responsible for my gardening gene. 

Not many butterflies around the Firebush this year, it has been attacked by some bug that is keeping it from getting flowers (Any idea what this is??) but no worries I have enlisted a battalion of lady bugs and they are at work everywhere. 

The red miniature Ixora is looking great.

The Heliconias are back.

This Dayflower plant was a gift from another gardener.  It is a native wildflower in Florida and by the looks of it, a popular one with pollinators.