Thursday, December 31, 2015

End of the year video

I am closing the year with a video from my back garden, I hope you all have a happy and healthy New Year and Thank you for following the DragonFly garden blog.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

To all my loyal readers I would like to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad and Happy Holidays from the DragonFly Garden

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The winter birds are home for the season

This is turning out to be a good year for bird watching in my urban garden.  So far this winter we had Painted bunting, Cardinals, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler and hummingbirds visit the back garden.  I make sure that there is plenty of food and water available for my aviary friends, the dense trees and bushes around the garden are also popular hiding places for the small birds.

South Florida in the winter is a great place for birding; we are the final destination for many migratory birds and a pit stop for those flying on to the Caribbean, Central and South America.  These days I spend more time out with my binoculars that I do working in the garden.  
The bill for bird food  is high this time of the year, besides the new visitors; we also have many year around residents, like doves, Blue jays, Mockingbirds and House Sparrows.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Starting over again

These last two weeks in South Florida have been the third rainiest December, since they kept records.  Last weekend we had one day where my neighborhood received nine inches of rain in a six hour period.  As you can imagine too much rain is no good for a garden, and it is devastating to a newly planted vegetable garden.  Most of the small seedlings in my vegetable patch were destroyed; I also had to pull out several tomato plants and most of the red lettuces.  The Kale was the only plants that made it through without much damage.  Today I replanted spinach seeds that were left over from the first planting and in the next couple of weeks I will shop for more seedlings.  The weather forecaster is predicting a wet winter due to “EL Nino” good news for the water needs of the area, not so good for us gardener if it continues to rain at this rate.   The good news is that the winter vegetable season is early and is not too late to start over.

This week at the DragonFly Garden.

The Brunfelsia tree is in full bloom, I call this tree my outdoor natural Christmas tree.  The Lantana and Crown of Thorns flowers are also doing well.

This small hawk has been hanging around my garden, trying to hunt birds from my birdfeeders.  Yesterday she finally got one, according to my book she is a Sharp-shinned hawk.  

Today I found this young Monarch butterfly and an open pupa nearby 

Friday, November 27, 2015

My idea of a perfect Black Friday day.

Today my family headed out early for the craziness of shopping for deals on Black Friday. I on the other hand packed my camera, binoculars and bike and headed to Biscayne Bay for a day of communing with nature.  The bike trails near the bay are a perfect place for biking and birding.  This morning the weather was ideal, a sunny crispy day and I had the trails all to myself.  

 Kayaking on the bay is popular sport in the area, I am thinking of getting one.

This Yellow-rumped Warbler is a winter visitor to the the area

 The Anhinga, the Osprey and the Great Egret are year around residents.

The birds were not the only thing that got my attention, the native plants are also beautiful.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Is your garden caterpillar friendly?

Today there was an excellent article in the Miami Herald’s garden section, written by Norman Winter. He asked the question, is your garden caterpillar friendly? This question got me thinking, I consider my garden butterfly friendly, but am I doing enough to help caterpillar thrive. 
(This picture is from my vegetable garden a couple of years ago) 

 Butterflies lay their eggs in certain plants where the caterpillars will feed and grow.  I have many milkweed plants all over my garden; they are the Monarch’s favorite plant, (It is fascinating to see these little guys devour a milkweed plant in a day) but I also have other butterflies visiting the garden, like Zebras, yellow Sulphurs, Gulf Fritillaris, Julia and many others.  It is important to have host plants for each of these butterflies.  For example the Julias and Zebras (the most common butterflies in my garden) like the passion flower vines. I currently don’t have one in the garden, but you can be sure that it is my list of future plants. The bottom line is if you are caterpillar friendly, you will have many more butterflies in your garden.

This will be my next project; I will be expanding this bed and plant more??? Yes, butterfly and caterpillar friendly plants.

This week at the DragonFly Garden

Another weekend ruined by rain.  I was able to put in a couple of hours on Saturday morning and get the garden in the front of the house ready for Christmas decorations next week.

I have a few giant white birds of paradise blooming this week.  


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rain and more rain, the weekend was a total washout.

My gardening Saturday was canceled due to rain and so were my plans to visit the Ramble plant sale at Fairchild Gardens today.  What is going on?  This is the middle of November and we are supposed to be in the middle of our dry season.  

In between rain storms, I organized this corner of the garden where all unwanted and unused things end up.  All gardens have places like this, but I am a neat freak, I can’t stand looking at the mess.

This week at the DragonFly Garden.

Not much to report this week, we had another snowbird visit the garden.  This is the first time in many years that we had a Cardinal visit the birdfeeder. This male Cardinal is looking for love and it looks like he will been staying for the winter.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

The Snowbirds are back

Every winter we get seasonal guest in the garden, last week I noticed a hummingbird around the fire bush tree.  These little guys spend the summer in the north and winter we us, they are shy and difficult to photograph.  All this week I been staking out the fire bush tree, trying to get a picture and today I got lucky.

Turkey Vultures are also winter visitors to the area, they usually are high up looking for dead animals, they roost together in the tall buildings downtown.  

This week at the DragonFly garden.

This week I started to pull out some of my overgrown summer flowerbeds.  In this corner of the garden the Lantana's were out of control, I replaced them with pollinator friendly flowers like, Mexican heather, white Pentas and Crossandra.  I also planted purple coneflowers seeds, I am not sure if they will do well in my 10b zone but they were a gift from a friend up north. 

I fished these orchids from a neighbor's garbage can, I have several of these orchids around the garden, they are good producers and easy to take care.

New home