Tuesday, October 30, 2018

From hot and humid to cool and pleasant weather

In South Florida, we have two seasons, summer (hot and humid) and winter with cool and pleasant temperatures.  This week we finally got a cold front that reached all the way to the tip of the state.  When I say a cold front, I am talking about temperatures in the mid 60's in the morning and upper seventies and lower eighties by midday.  The best part about this time of the year is that we get a break from the high humidity.  November is a great time to start projects in the garden, and I have a few in mind.

This week I gave my Fire Dragon bush a haircut.  During the summer months, this plant has a gorgeous color but by this time of the year, it starts to lose the reddish color.

The first project I am planning for November is to take out the grass on this corner of the garden.  This area gets very little sun and it has been muddy must of year.

The second project I have in mind is to move all my succulent and cactus collection from the back garden to the front of the house, where they will get the afternoon sun.  I haven't planned this out yet, it will require moving many of my bromeliads.  

Birds visiting the DragonFly Garden this week.

This Gray Catbird is back, they are regulars every year and one of my favorite birds.  They spend most of the day hiding in the bushes and making sounds like little kittens. 

A second male Painted Bunting arrived this week, no sighting of any females.

This little guy was walking around my patio this week.  I need some help identifying him.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

The disappearing city tree canopy

Most cities are experiencing the disappearing of their tree canopy.  Miami, my hometown is one of those cities.  We have two major problems working against us.  First is the rapid and out of control development that is taking most of the open land in our county.  The second is hurricanes, last year Irma hit the Florida Keys, close enough to Miami to cause devastation to our tree cover. I lost two trees in my front yard and many of my neighbors lost most of their trees.  The problem is that most people don't replace the down trees.  They don't want to have to deal with down trees the next time we have another storm.  These two combine issues are creating a city that is beginning to look like an urban desert, the evidence is clear when you see it from the air.    
A healthy tree canopy is important for the environment and it is important for wildlife, that is why I believe in creating a thick tree canopy in my garden.  Currently, I have ten trees, three palms, and many full-grown bushes in my small backyard.  Between my garden and my neighbor to the back of the house (who also loves trees), we have created a small oasis in our neighborhood.  Every day I am rewarded with visits from many species of birds, who stop by or make my garden their home.

Gardening in this kind of garden has its challenges, most of my backyard is now a shade garden.  I am trying to adapt to the type of plants that will thrive in this type of environment.  My collection of sun-loving plants like bougainvilleas and hibiscus are suffering but I will change,  that is the fun of gardening.

This week at the DragonFly Garden

The Powerpuff tree is in full bloom again, this tree blooms several times each year.  The flowers are very popular with pollinators, especially bees.

This orchid has flowers year around.

The lemons are ready

Birds visiting the DragonFly feeder this week.

The Painted bunting is back, this male is my favorite winter resident.  Last year I had two males and three females visiting the feeder on a regular basis.  I hope the rest of the family will show up soon.

I got a better picture of the Black-Throated Blue Warbler.  I guess is hanging around for a little longer.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Fall migration begins

This is the time of the year when we start to see birds passing by on the way to their winter homes, many are on the way to the Caribbean, Central, and South America.  Others are staying locally for the winter months.  The picture below is a Tennessee warbler,  these little birds sometimes are a little difficult to identify, especially during the fall when their colors are not fully developed. 

This is a Black-throated Blue Warbler,  I have never seen one in my garden before. This male was here for a couple of days and I guess he is on his way to the Caribbean.  This little guy spends the summer months in the New England states and southern Canada.  This picture was taken from inside my house, the quality is not very good  .

This week at the DragonFly Garden
Coleuses are famous for their leaves but I think that their flowers are stunning. 

The star fruit tree bloomed this month and is full of star fruits.

The cat has a name, Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games.  She has a sweet face like Jennifer Lawrance, but she is a ferocious hunter (to the detriment of my lizard army) and a survivor.  I am feeding her twice a day to see if she lays off of the lizard kills.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Gardening with organized chaos

A new neighbor visited the garden for the first time today.  She loved my gardening style and asked me what was my secret.  I told her that I had no secret or style, that I like my garden with a little bit of chaos.  She replied the organized chaos works.  I have never been interested in matching colors or plants when I like a plant, I’ll find a place for it in the garden.  My aim is for my garden to be a haven for people and wild creatures, especially birds and pollinators.    

This is my favorite bougainvillea plant, I like the way the early morning sun brings out the bright orange color.

This little guy is a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  He is the first of our snowbirds to show up for the winter months.

One of our year-round resident.

This feral cat is a new resident in the garden.  She is really sweet, I am feeding her (no name yet) and trying to see if I can find a home for her.