Friday, May 31, 2019

Summer time has arrived at the DragonFly Garden

Summer is here and you know it, temperatures are reaching the mid-90s every day and the swarms of hungry mosquitoes are all around.  Florida gardeners are accustomed to these conditions, that is why you will only find me outside early in the morning or early in the evening.  Unfortunate for me, that is peak feeding time for our mosquito friends. Traditionally May is the beginning of our rainy season, we average around 5 inches of rain.  This year according to my rain gage it has rain less than one inch.  My garden is holding up well despite the lack of rain, thanks to my sprinkler system and my rain-barrels.    

My meditation corner looks brand new after a new coat of paint.

Summer favorites
Bougainvilleas are in bloom throughout the summer

Rangoon Creeper or better know around here as Jasmin Manzano

 Kings Mantle

Gardenias are one of my summer favorites

Sometimes our cactus grace us with a flower

I don't see too many of the Gulf Fritillary butterflies in my garden, they have beautiful colors on both sides of their winds.

Today I took a video of the garden early in the morning, I posted it on my YouTube Channel check it out.  Warning I am not a very good videographer.

Friday, May 24, 2019

The pleasure of micro-photography in the garden

This week I have been getting up early before sunrise and going to my garden with my micro lens waiting for the sun to come out.  Micro-photography takes alot of practice, but I think I got the hang of it.  This picture of the crown of thorns flower is my favorite

The Rangoon Creeper flowers are best to photograph in the early morning, the flowers are totally white in the early morning, later in the day they turn pink and red by the end of the day. 

Some succulent flowers are so small, that micro-photography is the only way to capture the essence of the flowers.

One of several types of Heliconias in my garden.

It is not easy to photograph the correct purple color on the Kings Mantle flowers.

Check out the size of the mosquito perch on this Thryallis flower.  The only problem with taking pictures early in the morning is that it is feeding time for these guys (and they are hungry)

The Blue Porterweed plants are all over my garden, I let them be because they are a favorite to all polinators.

This is a spike spider, they are hard workers, they will rebuild the web several times a day if they have to.

Is impossible to take a picture of a butterfly with a microlens.  This Zebra landed on this Firebush flower when I was taking a picture of the flower. (a case of being at the right place at the right time)

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The urban tree canopy

Between my neighbor’s backyard and my garden, we have the thickest tree canopy in our neighborhood.  We both love tropical fruit trees and our two small gardens can count on over twenty trees.  It is sad to see that our city landscape is losing its tree cover, most homeowners see trees as a nuisance.  My next-door neighbor already complained to me that my Plumeria tree is too messy, especially in the fall and I should think about cutting it back,  I explained to him, that Plumeria tree is keeping his house cooler in the hot summer months and helping him with his air conditioning expenses (I don’t think he believed me)
We have lost so many trees due to hurricane strikes and out of control development that our situation is critical.  The local government is trying to replace those trees that were lost, by planting hundreds of trees on the street right of way and by giving trees to anyone who wants to adopt a tree free of charge.  More needs to be done, we need to educate our neighbors of the importance of our trees, how they clean the air around us, cool our homes and neighborhood, attract wildlife, increase the value of our properties and help our planet against global warming.

The saga of my Avocado tree.  A few months ago, I wrote on this blog that I was ready to cut down my avocado tree if it didn’t produce any fruits this year.  Well, it got the message and so far, I am counting around 10 avocados.  This week I had to stake the tree, a storm with heavy winds almost knock down the tree to the ground.    

Mangos are on the way.

Summertime is here and so are the zebra butterflies

Saturday, May 11, 2019

I have my garden back

After several weeks of construction outside the house, I finally have my garden back.  First, we did the house roof, next came the painting and last we replaced all my rain gutters.  Needleless to say, my neatly compact garden did not fare well with workers coming in and out.  I tried to minimize the damage by moving plants out of the way, but that was not possible for those planted on the ground. 

Today I finished redoing the front garden.  As you all know my front garden faces west and we get hit with the hot Florida afternoon sun.  My choices are limited for this area, but you can't go wrong planting miniature ixoras, lantanas, and milkweed (food for the butterflies)  My ground orchids, have been there for years and are not bothered by anything.

My Fireball bush did not do so well during the construction, I had to dig it out and replanted in another spot.  I hope it survives. 

For color in a hot Florida summer, I recommend Purslane, it will bloom all summer long and is not very fussy about water

In the back of the garden, I took out an old trellis that was fallen apart and left everything else the same.

My rain barrels are back online, in time for the rainy season.

Happy Mother's day to my mom, my wife, my daughter, and all the mom's out there