Friday, December 28, 2018

The DragonFly garden 2018, the year in review

2018 was a year of changes for me and the garden, I retired from my 9 to 5 job and became a full-time gardener.  The garden's fruit trees were productive and my collection of plants continue to grow. 

January -  I started the year with a new water fountain for my side garden, a Christmas present.   

February - This beautiful Hibiscus plant became my ninths in my collection of hibiscus plants, all in pots.

March - This year my collection of bromeliads continues to grow.  This is my favorite bromeliad, it blooms every year in March 

April - The butterflies were back, this year we had a record number of Zebras in the garden.

May - Like every May we had a very wet month, it rained the entire month.  My succulent collection did not fair well.

June - This year we had a record number of Mangos, from our two trees.

July -  Caterpillars invaded the garden during the summer 

August - A first for the garden, a family of squirrels moved into the neighborhood.  I am not sure if I am happy with these new neighbors. 

September - I have always been fascinated by the art of Bonsai and this year I received bonsai tools as a gift.  I am reading books and planning to take a class.

October - The snowbirds arrived in the garden.  This year we have several Painted buntings making my garden their winter home.

November - The Carambola / Star Fruit tree had a record production of fruits for the first time.

December - I changed the look of my front garden, I added more succulents and took out some bromeliads.

Happy New Year

Friday, December 21, 2018

Here comes the light

Today is the winter solstice, not a big deal for us in South Florida, but more daylight is always welcome for those of us working in the garden.  Early this morning we experienced the winter storm that is covering the entire east coast of the US.  The storm gave us rain and high winds with gust up to 40 miles per hour.  My garden is a mess, tomorrow will be a cleanup day.  
Below is my Brunfelsia Grandiflora (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow bush) I call this my Christmas bush, it blooms every year around this time.  

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, I hope 2019 brings you all health and happiness.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The worst orchid collector.

I love orchids, who doesn’t?  but I have the worst luck growing them.  For some reason that I cannot explain, most of my orchids don’t flower for a second time, some look great but not flowers and others have a slow death in their new container.  I have read books about caring for orchids, I have a good friend that is wizard caring for these plants and has giving me many tips, but nothing has helped.   After reading an article last year about the Million Orchid Project organized by Fairchild Tropical Garden, I decided to change direction.  Fairchild garden is growing over a million orchid plants in their nursery and attaching them to trees all over Miami.  One of my few successes with orchids is the picture below.  I have plenty of trees in my garden, so it makes sense to attach my surviving orchids to all my trees.   I know that some types of orchids do better in trees than others, so I need to do my research. 

This week at the DragonFly Garden
I have two bougainvillea plants blooming this week

I fished this succulent plant from a neighbor's garbage pile, after some TLC and a new container is quickly becoming one of my favorite in my collection

More pictures of the Painted Buntings family in my birdfeeder 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Vacationing in a Tree-house

My family has a Christmas tradition, we like to spend a long weekend in early December at Disney World, enjoying the Chrismas decorations and the holiday atmosphere.  Two years ago we stayed at the Tree-house villas at Saratoga Springs for the first time and I was hooked.   This year we made reservations early and we were lucky to get the dates we wanted.  The idea of the Tree-house is to experience nature and to feel like you are alone in the forest (a rare experience at a Disney park). Those of you that have been to the parks lately know that the mass of humanity can be a little overwhelming so is very nice to stay at a place like this to decompress.  Like everything at Disney these accommodations can be pricey,  but for a large family, you can accommodate up to 10 people comfortably in the three bedroom unit.  

This was the first time my two-year-old grandson was experiencing the full Disney experience.  

Friday, November 30, 2018

The girls are back

Several female Painted bunting have arrived. The birdfeeder is busy with several females and males bunting, the boys seem to tolerate the girls.  The male buntings don't like each other much, is all that testosterone at work.  So far I counted seven bunting three males and four females, the most I have ever seen in my garden.   

The brunfesia tree (yesterday, today and tomorrow) is beginning to bloom, soon it will be full of flowers.

This is a surprise, my key lime tree is full of buds.  This tree was almost dead not long ago.

 My star fruits are ready for the salad plate.

I found these cute orchids on my mango tree today.

 The hummingbirds are also back, these little ones are fast and shy and difficult to take their picture.

Today is the last day of hurricane season, we were very lucky this year in South Florida.  Our neighbors in the north were not so lucky.  Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida Panhandle and six weeks later not much has changed for those that lost their homes.  I hope FEMA step up and don't forget all our fellow Floridian in need of homes.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

I conquered the beast

After months of thinking about it, I finally took down the overgrown bromeliad in my front garden.  This bromeliad has spikes that can rip your skin wide open, I have scars to prove it.  I wanted to replace all the bromeliads in this corner of the garden, with succulents and a conifer tree.

I kept some of the pops from this bromeliad, but I will never put them in containers again.

I am not sure if I like the color, I painted the Tinajon (wide-mouthed jar), red was the only paint I had on hand.  My wife likes it, especially with Christmas coming.

I also refreshed all parts of the front garden, ready for Chrismas decorations

I found a place for my new Fireball tree.

This Staghorn plant comes from my parents garden.

This week I helped my daughter decorate her townhome with plants.  I am her official nursery, as you can see bromeliads are part of the deal.

This Prairie Warbler has been visiting my Powerpuff tree. This bird moves fast, it was not easy to take these pictures. 

I would like to wish you all a happy and healthy THANKSGIVING