Thursday, December 24, 2020


From my family to yours
Merry Christmas


Best wishes for a New Year filled with love, health and happiness 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Harvesting Bromeliads

End of the year, after all the bromeliads bloomed is the best time to harvest all the plants.  The job of taking out all the old plants and letting the new pubs breathe and get some sun, is not an easy one but necessary if you want to keep some semblance of order in the garden.   The bromeliads in the picture below, represent about one third of all the plants in the front garden (there are more in the back garden).  I have decided to reduce the number of plants I have.  The job is getting too big for me to handle.  This year I am getting rid of all the Portea's in my collection, the flower spikes are beautiful but they are big and too aggressive, not suited for small gardens like my.  


Last week we had a cold front come through and it brought high winds, my table umbrella became a casualty.

Now that I don't have an umbrella, there is more sun in this corner of the back garden, perfect for my herb and vegetables garden.

The Brunfelsia tree should be full of flowers by now, but this year for some reason is not a good year.

Female Painted Bunting 

My bottle tree was another casualty of the storm, I had to replace several broken bottles.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Chasing hummingbirds

The hummingbirds are back for the winter season.  This year there seems to be more hummers than in past years, I also noticed that they are going after flowers that were not part of their diet before, like the coleuses.  The reason for their change of diet is because their favorite flowers, the firebush and powderpuff have not bloomed as they usually do this time of the year   

No much sun in this corner of the garden, but everything is looking lush and green.

My firebush tree has been crowded by my lychee and mango trees.  I'll wait for the spring after the hummingbirds head north to cut it back.   Yesterday I trimmed some of the dead lower branches. 

This bougainvillea bush is the only one on my collection that does not need full sun to bloom. 

I don't have a before picture, but my garden shed was in desperate need of re-organizing.  

It turned out that all the caterpillars that I posted about last time, were not monarch butterflies but queen butterflies.

 I hope you all have a happy and safe THANKSGIVING

Sunday, November 15, 2020

That time of the year to plant a winter veggie and herb garden.

I decided to give winter veggie gardening another try.  Last year I told myself that it would be my last year wasting my time on a vegetable garden that barely produced.  This year with Covid 19 keeping us all close to home with not much to do, I decided to give it another try.

This is the only corner of the back garden that gets from 4 to 5 hours of morning sun everyday.   As you can see everything is in containers, I am hedging my bets using soil sold for this type of gardening.  The year of 2020 has not been a great year for nurseries in my home town, and it has affected the availability of vegetable seedling.  I am mostly planting seeds this year, like arugula, spinach, chives and lettuces.  The hot and wet weather in my zone 10B are not ideal conditions for sowing seeds, but I’ll give it a try. 

Last week while we waited fo tropical storm Eta, I had over 50 monarch caterpillars born in the Milkweed plants.  With all the rain and wind we had I didn't think they had much of a chance, but they made it through. 

The Painted Buntings are back in the garden for the winter.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

A new look for the back garden

Like everyone else all my travel plans for the fall season changed with Covid 19.  So I need it to come up with a plan B.  Garden makeover,  for sometime I been thinking of making changes to the back garden to be more open for entertaining, specially at nigh.  My first task was to take out the last grass section (is impossible to have grass in a shade garden), the next task was adding lighting (a combination of electric LED lights and solar lights) 

This week I pressure cleaned all the pavers and stone in the front and back garden.  I used to do this job in a day, this time it took me three days (this is what happens when you are retired and can do the job at any time)

The fall migration is beginning , this week a Black-and-wihte Warbler and a Black-throated Blue  Warbler visited my garden.  

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler

There has been a large number of dragonflies in the garden lately, good news for us and bad news for mosquitoes.

Not many flowers in the garden this time of the year, except for the wild petunias (Ruellias) they flower all year-around.

Happy Halloween


Friday, October 02, 2020

Squirrels 10 Gardener 0

I have lived in my home for over 30 years, the first 29 years were squirrel free.  The location of my neighborhood had something to do with it, to the east there is a big Interstate highway that keeps wildlife from crossing over and the Florida Everglades to the west.  Last year we got our first squirrel visitor, he liked our neighborhood so much that he brought all his friends, now we are overrun with the little critters and they are not cute anymore.  They have taken over the bird feeders and they love to feast on our fruit trees.  I bet you didn’t know that squirrels love avocados, this year the avocado harvest was plentiful and I did’t mind sharing my fruits, but the mango season was not that good and and a third of all my mangos were damage by our four legged friends.  

My father in his old age, spent most of his time outside in his garden keeping squirrels away from his fruit trees, I used to think that was funny.  Now I am becoming my father. 

Hey that bird feeder is my dining room  

This corner of my garden is looking nice after all the rain we been getting.  This garden bed has croton, blue porter weed, coleus, ferns and elephant ear plant (Colocasia)


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Let the sunshine in

For the last couple of weeks I been working on bringing back sunshine into my garden.  All my trees are growing rapidly and I need sunlight to filter in and keep the garden's diversity going.  

First on the list of trees needing a trim was the avocado tree.  The avacado season is over and is time to keep this tree in check, avocado trees are very aggressive growers. 

The star fruit tree was on the list for a hair cut.

I am considering removing my Plumeria tree, but that will require a tree cutting service, for now I cut some of the lower branches.  This tree blocks must of the sun during our winter months when the sun is high in the souther hemisphere.

This week I scored three croton plants that my neighbor was putting in the garbage.  These croton plants are gorgeous and I will find a place in my garden for them.