Monday, March 25, 2019

Into the wild, trekking in Everglades National Park

This past weekend I visited Everglades National Park, this is one several visits I make to the park every year.  I wanted to go before many of the birds visiting during winter, start to leave for their summer homes.  The water levels in the park seem higher than in other years at this time.  I don't know if this is good or bad, they say that high water levels prevent some bird species from nesting and too dry hurt other birds and animal.  The ecosystem in this park is a tricky balance and us humans are responsible for the imbalance caused by climate change and many stupid off the park manmade projects.  It will take lots of funding and the will to fix these problems, unfortunate I don't see that our current federal and state governments have either. 

Snowy Egrets are year around residents of the park

Another regular is this Great Blue Heron

I love the Anhinga birds, they are a great fisherman.  This mom was feeding three chicks.

Drying up and relaxing in the sun after a long day taking care of the kids.

Every winter you can find thousands of American Coot ducks in the waters of the Everglades.  This year I did not see many, it could be that some have already moved north to cooler weather.

The American White Pelican is a migratory bird, they are found in the park during the winter months.  I was lucky to find this group in a small lake off the road, they are usually in areas that are not that accessible.

The Black Vulture is part of the cleanup crew.  They are not cute but they like to pose for pictures.

Gators is what most tourist visiting the park want to see, every year I come to this corner of the park and here they are the same group of gators.  I am beginning to think that they are props, none of them moved an inch.

I am not very good at identifying fish but someone suggested that this was a Florida gar.

The marina in the Flamingo area was host to a group of about ten Manatees, it was good to see these gentle giants in such numbers.

The River of Grass is one of my favorite wild places on this planet.  A healthy Everglades is essential to the survival of all us in South Florida.   I find it incredible that many of my fellow Floridian have never been to the park and have no interest in ever going.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Bromeliads, the gift that keeps on giving

I have become some kind of a bromeliad whisper to my family, friends, and neighbors.  I am constantly getting requests for bromeliads from my garden.  I don’t mind, I have so many that it makes me happy to see them find new homes.  The word is out if you need a plant in your garden, I am the person to call.  Broms are the perfect plants for non-gardeners, they are low maintenance and can survive most extreme weather conditions.  It is very difficult to kill these plants, they thrive without any attention.  I give my bromeliads away with a short tutorial on how to care for them, the most important thing to keep them healthy and reproducing, is to once a year take out the old plant and replant the new pops.     

 My favorite Bromeliad

New flowers in the garden this week

This week at the DragonFly Garden

I refresh this corner of the garden with new plants and fresh mulch 

New umbrella for the outside table

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Orchids among the garden

Today my wife and I visited Fairchild Tropical Garden, for their annual International Orchid Festival.  A perfect day to be outdoors in South Florida.  The garden had many orchid sellers from all over the world, beautiful displays of orchids throughout the garden and great food.  As far as festivals go this is one the best put on by Fairchild every year.


These are two of Fairchild's permanent Chihuly glass art on displays throughout the garden. 

 A visit to Fairchild garden is not complete without a stop at The Wings of the Tropics exhibit.  The only place in Miami where you can see thousands of butterflies from all over the world in an enclosed building.

Impressive Fern tree in the butterfly house.  Where can I get one???

Saturday, March 02, 2019

How do you tell Spring arrived at the tip of the Florida peninsula?

In a place where the weather does not change much year-around, sometimes is difficult noticing the changing of the seasons.   One way we can tell that Spring has arrived is when all the mango trees are full of flowers.  This year the trees flowered a little late, but they now full of blooms.  Mango trees are not the only trees flowering this time of the year, avocado trees are also in bloom and many other flowering trees like plumerias and the powderpuff.

This is my avocado tree, the one on death row.  It has many flowers, we will see if we get any fruits.

Powderpuff tree

Brasilian Red

The Plumeria tree is beginning to flower

This week at the DragonFly Garden

I did a hard cut back to the Brunfelsia bush. Last year I neglected to do the yearly cut back after the flowering season was over and I paid for it this year.

I found these bromeliads pop in my neighbor's trash and I had to save them. 

Soon this male Painted bunting and all his female harem will be heading north for the summer.

Mourning doves are a common year-round resident in my bird feeder.   They can be a little territorial by keeping other birds away from the feeder.   This particular one did not care how close I was standing.

Sometimes we are in the right place at the right time.

My Angel's Trumpet bloomed for the first time this year.  Some gardeners believe that when this plant flowers, rain is coming soon.