Saturday, June 29, 2019

My small urban nature preserve

 I started seriously gardening in 1990 when my wife and I purchased this house we currently live in.  The house was new, in new development and it came with lots of grass and five young Alexander Palms (three of which are still here) Over the past 29 plus years, the garden and my gardening philosophy has evolved from a decorative flower garden to a control chaotic mix of plants and trees.  One of the things I am most proud about is the way this mixture of plants and trees has attracted so much wildlife to this small urban plot of land.  The garden is home to three different types of lizards, several kinds of frogs and toads.  I have garden snakes, rats, squirrels, visiting raccoons, several types of butterflies and an endless number of insects (some beneficial to the plants and some not so much) During the winter months many migratory birds stop by or make the garden their home.
Is amazing how Mother Nature if giving a chance will come back and flourish.  My garden is 100% chemical free; I try to provide food and shelter to all the creatures occupying this small plot of land.  This year the squirrels and birds have eaten more of the mangos that I have, but that’s ok there is plenty for everyone.  Rats are part of the urban landscape, but so are feral cats that seem to keep their population under control.  This garden ecosystem is my small contribution to our planet, if we put a little effort, Mother Nature will do the rest.      

This week at the DragonFly Garden
I expanded my work area, the trunk from an old coconut tree finally collapsed, a good place to add more storage. 

Hard cut to the Fire Dragon bush

Lately, all my Hibiscuses are producing one flower at a time

It was clean up time for this corner of the garden

One of the three types of lizards residing in the garden

This Monarch caterpillar got lost on the way to a plant and ended up in corner of my front door.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

June, my least favorite month of the year.

I always dread the arrival of the month of June.  In South Florida, we live in a never-ending summer climate, but June brings out the worst of summer.  It is the official start of the summer season for everyone, including us.  It also means the start of the rainy season, the rain brings out the swarms of mosquitos, high humidity, and temperatures in the high nineties (as I write this post indoors, in the comfort of my AC, the temperature outside this afternoon is 101 degrees with a heat index of 115 degrees)  June also brings the worst allergies for me, I get a terrible itch around my eyes the minute I walk outside, especially in the early morning.  As I get older, this allergy has been getting worst.  I don’t know what causes it, but as soon as July comes around the allergies fade away and everything returns to normal.  The high allergy season for us is between February to April when the pollen count is the highest.  I must be allergic to a plant that becomes active during this month.   
In the month of June, the garden becomes very aggressive and it requires my attention more than any other time of the year.  Now that I am retired, I am trying to do a little bit of gardening every day in the early morning, weeding and trimming is the extent of my gardening duties.   

This week at the DragonFly Garden

Yellow spider orchids 

White and purple Ruelias (Mexican Bluebell)

The perfect mango

See what I mean about June, this Fire Dragon bush is out control in need of a haircut

Friday, June 14, 2019

Ferns, my new love affair

I must admit that in my early years of gardening, I was not a fan of these plants.  They were invasive in the garden and I was on a crusade to eradicate them.  Fast forward to the present and they won me over.  The fact that they are a great ground cover for shady areas had something to do with my conversion.    These days they are all over my garden, in the shade and wild areas as well as in pots.  Before my conversion, I had no idea how many types of ferns there are in this world, and how my home state of Florida seems to be a good home for many of them.   I am now officially a collector of ferns, whenever I see a new one at my local plant nursery, it comes home with me.  I like the idea that I have so many places to plant them, where they can thrive.  All the trees in my garden have restricted my gardening experience, so now I have something new to look forward to.  

Foxtail and Birdsnest 

I didn't know that Staghorns are part of the fern family

This Japanese Holly fern did not do well in the shade, will see how it react to more sun.

I found this beauty in the back of my Dad's old garden, so far is one of my favorite.

This week at the DragonFly Garden

It is mango harvest season at the DragonFly.  Mangos become an integral part of our diet during this time of the year (Today's lunch Mango smoothies)

June is the start of the rainy season in South Florida and is also time for the rain lilies to bloom.