Saturday, March 26, 2016

Working my succulent collection.

I started collecting succulents and cacti many years ago, today they make up a significant part of my garden.  Keeping these plants healthy in my sub-tropical climate is a bit tricky.  They need maintenance twice a year, at the end of the wet season is the time to count casualties. This time of the year, is the time to divide and replant.   Succulents and bromeliads are similar in way, they are plants that keep on giving (great to have and give away)

This week at the DragonFly Garden

With all the flowers blooming in the garden, it’s a good time to put my macro photography skills to work.  I need lots of practice and I also need a special photo lens.

I will be taking this coming week off from my 9 to 5 job, to work in the garden and explore my town.  I would like to wish you and your loved ones a happy Easter

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Spring Equinox is a garden’s New Year

To our northern neighbors, the first day of spring is a big deal.  For those of us living in the sub-tropical 10b zone, is just another day, there is not much of a change in our fall/winter/spring weather. The garden on the other hand knows that is time to start a new year.  We don’t get the explosion of flowers that gardeners in colder climates get during spring time, but you know spring has arrived in South Florida when.  The mango trees are full flowers, the bougainvillea’s drop all their leaves and are full of bright colorful flowers, the yellow tab trees fills the streets with yellow flowers and our Royal Poinciana trees turn the landscape into a sea of orange and red.  
To honor the Spring Equinox I planted New Guinea Impatiens in my courtyard. 

This week at the DragonFly garden.

Here are some of the flowers in the garden this week.

My neighbor’s mango tree.

It has been a good winter for my orchids, I'm getting many blooms and more are on the way.

 Sometimes you win sometimes you lose, this is the mango tree I transplanted a few weeks ago, it did not make it.

My first grandchild Eric was born this week; both mother and child are doing great.  I can’t wait to take him out to play in the garden.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Oxalis, a garden favorite or is it a weed?

This time of the year my South Florida garden gets overrun by these weeds with shamrock shape leaves and cute pink flowers.  The Oxalis plants grow everywhere, pulling them out of the ground is a waste of time.  My attitude is, if you can’t beat them join them.  This was not my intention for this hanging basket, but I have to admit it doesn’t look that bad.

 After a rainy January, our weather turned more traditional, with no rain during February and the first two weeks in March.  Today we got a good shower, first time in weeks; good thing because my rain barrels were already dry.

This week at the DragonFly garden.

The hibiscuses are flowering this winter.

The Mexican flame vine is looking great after a couple of years of little flowers.

Friday I was off from work and I took my wife out to lunch to our favorite place.  The Florida Keys; one hour away from our home, the pace of life there is slower, the scenery is beautiful and the seafood restaurants are out of this world.   

Sunday, March 06, 2016

The 103 years old gardener

This is my dad; he turned 103 years old last week.  Yesterday I spent the day working in his beloved garden, one of my birthday presents to him. (What do you give a man on his 103rd birthday?)  My father has always had a garden and loved working the land.  He got this love from his mother and I suppose he passed that love on to me. 
My father retired at age 76 and for the past 27 years he has spent all his days lost in his garden. He believes that plants are a gift from nature so purchasing plants in a nursery is sacrilegious.  He has a magic touch when it comes to growing new plants from cuttings and many of my own garden’s plants come from his.   He used to take morning walks around his neighborhood and that generated many of the plants seen in his garden today.  He has always been generous with his time and knowledge of gardening and plants and to this day neighbors, friends, and family seek his horticultural wisdom.  This past year has been difficult for him as his mobility is reduced and eyesight has grown poor, restricting him considerably but he continues to spend most of his days outside sitting under a tree, contemplating his beloved garden.

My parents have lived in this house for the past 40 years.   My mother is 93 years old and also loves gardening.  Except for a few senior ailments, both are in relatively good health and live at home with help.  Since they love their independence, this arrangement is good for them and I hope to facilitate that independence for as long as I can. 

My dad’s garden has no “theme”, no real “look.”  Every plant is welcomed and the location or placement is not important.  Over the years, he has planted many fruit trees which have given our family and friends many delicious treats.  He has always loved bromeliads and these hardy plants fill many of the spots around the garden.  He gave my mother a small kitchen herb garden, which I have duplicated in my own back yard. These days, his garden is neither as tidy nor plentiful as it used to be but I am trying to keep it up for both of them.  I am always careful and ask for his guidance because, after all, it is his garden!

He built this gazebo years ago

Sapodilla tree, also known as Nispero

 Two orange trees
Sugar cane  to remind him of his native Cuba

My dad is asked all the time, what is the secret of his long life.  He always answers good genes and getting along with everyone.  I would also add that a life in his garden has also added years to his life.