Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Vegetable Gardening at Our New Place

We really enjoy living at our new place in this ever so lovely neighborhood of Lighthouse Point.  I know this may sound absurd but it literally took us almost all of last year to get settled into the house.  I still have a few "I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-this-crap" boxes in the garage.  You know, the "I don't know what to do with the stuff yet don't want to get rid of it" stuff.   Oh well, I'll just keep hoping for some grand inspiration or a miracle; whichever comes first.   So what's a girl to do but find a distraction...ah-ha...a vegetable garden.  Of course I would use just about any excuse to get into the garden, hee hee, especially because it's a blank slate here.

For those of you who don't know, South Florida's summer heat and humidity usually shut down any chance of vegetables and herbs to grow well   Our sun is incredibly intense and can fry the heartiest of plants in one day.  By the time August rolled around, it seemed the heat would never stop and the rains would never come.  I figured it was a great time to plan for what I wanted to do.  First was research what I thought would grow here and figure out when to start preparing the soil...hmmm...so many choices...so here is what I bought so far.

UM HELLOOO...'glass gem' corn!  Why have I not known about this before...and where have I been...did I get heat stroke this summer, well I think a couple times but...how cool is this!?!
Glass gem corn grown by Kylee Baumle in Ohio
You can see her blog at Our Little Acre
For those of you not familiar, glass gem is considered a flint type of corn that you can use as popcorn or ground into cornmeal, it isn't a sweet type of corn.  As you can see it varies in color considerably and has incredible decorative uses.  I bought the glass gem corn from the Native Seed/SEARCH and also bought their cucumber 'beit alpha' and fava beans 'broad windsor'.
Beit alpha cucumbers, glass gem corn & broad windsor fava beans from Native Seed

From Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, I bought their Shanghai green pack choy, Fish pepper, San Juanito tomatillo, purple jalapeno pepper, yellow wonder wild strawberry, Mexican sour gherkin cucumber and calendula 'pink surprise'.
Fish pepper, Mexican sour gerkin cucumber,
Shanghai bok choy & purple jalapeno's
from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Pink surprise calendula, San Juanito tomatillo,
yellow strawberries & free gift of love-in-a-mist
from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Sidenote: I had some seeds I previously bought at a dollar store (because I just couldn't pass that up, am I right!?!) and am quite curious as to how they will preform compared to the other seeds.  So I will be planting those as well.

As I waited patiently for them to arrive, September's weather mellowed out just a bit and the rains we expected all summer (but never came) finally hath cometh, so ok, soil prep time.  I cleared out the weeds and amended the soil with mushroom compost, cow manure and my homemade compost.  I also made wood supports I modeled from a victory garden article from NPR.
Inspiration victory garden image from NPR about Cherokee purple tomatoes
This is what our looks like from the inside of our patio

The seeds arrived!  Straight away planted them in their pots, labeled and waited.
Four days later here is what I find peaking out of the soil...
The glass corn with mango's in back (left);
mango seeds, dollar store seeds of tomato/habanero/sweet banana pepper (just curious),
akee seeds, African tulip tree, cuc's, corn, sugar snaps, fava beans (middle);
beit alpha cucumbers (right).

Thirteen days later...shazam!
Corn & cucumbers (left);
sugar snaps in back & dollar store seeds of tomato/habanero pepper/sweet
 banana pepper in front (middle);
fava beans sprouts (right).

In the ground they go...

Glass gem corn & beit alpha cucumbers
The gem glass corn is on the left while the cucumbers and sugar snaps are on the right.  The rest are waiting patiently in pots in the middle.  Though as you see in the picture...I have run out of room LOL.  So to gain more ground, I am planning on moving the portora alocasia to another location of the yard.  BUT,

I also have to wait until this is healed...
Got into a tangle with a hedge trimmer...12 stitches later...sigh...
Not being able to get back into the garden is more painful than my injured hand.
Ugh so again at a stand till...sniff, sniff...insert sad pouty face here.

Well my friends, until the next milestone...Happy Gardening!

Best wishes,

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

South Florida Plants to Attract Birds

Hi friends!  Returned from a way too long hiatus...soooo nice to be back!
Now let's get dirty peeps!
Thought it would be great time to get some beautiful plants in the ground that will attract birds to your garden.  Fall is just about here and the northern birds that winter here in South Florida are starting to fly into town.  Now is a perfect time to get your garden spruced up for the out of town visitors.

Birds are easy to keep happy...water, food and shelter.
Water is easy...any type of bird bath will do.  Just make sure the water gets changed out frequently.  Also, the use of mosquito dunks and/or water wigglers is a great way to keep those critters from laying eggs.

Food is a bit more detailed...berries, fruit, flowers, nectar, seeds and/or bugs are usually the main sources.  The best resources for birds is always the most natural but you can always supplement with bird feeders.  Sidebar: buy the best quality seed you can afford, there really is a difference.

Shelter is of course really complicated since birds are all over the map as to what type of nests they build and where.  Many people add bird houses to their garden though my experience is they usually end up building their own.
If you plant the trees the birds will come.

Here is a small list of trees and shrubs that I find are a good starting point for many South Floridian gardens.

Beautyberry (callicarpa americana) - bulbul, mockingbird, cardinal, catbird & brown thrasher
Blue porterweed (stachytarpheta fruiticosa) - cardinal & sparrows
Citrus - orioles, hummingbird, catbird, warblers, mockingbird, brown thrasher, cedar waxwing, finches & grosbeaks
Cocoplum (chrysobalanus icaco) - the fruit eating birds, catbird & mockingbird
Common hibiscus (hibiscus rosa sinensis) - hummingbird, spot-breasted oriole, painted bunting & northern oriole
Cordia (cordia globosa) - mockingbird & cardinal
Dahoon holly (ilex cassine) - mockingbird, cardinal & cedar waxwing
Elderberry (sambucus canadensis) - fruit eating birds
Fiddlewood (citharexylum fruticosum) - mockingbird, catbird & cardinal
Firebush (hamelia patens) - hummingbird, oriole, mockingbird, warblers, cardinal & other fruit eating birds
Firethorn (pyracantha coccinea) - mockingbird, cardinal, blue jay, catbird, cedar waxwing & woodpecker
Jamaican caper (capparis cynophallophora) - fruit eating birds, cardinal, doves, mockingbird, oriole & blue jay.
Live oak (quercus virginiana) - woodpeckers, vireos, warblers, blue jays, grackles & owls.
Loquat (eriobotrya japonica) - bulbul, mockingbird, cardinal & woodpecker
Marlberry (ardisia escallonioides) - mockingbird, catbird & cardinal
Mulberry (morus rubra) - the fruit eating birds
Necklace pod (sophora tomentosa) - hummingbird & warblers
Orange jasmine (murraya paniculata) - mockingbird, catbird & cardinal
Pigeon plum (coccoloba diversifolia) - mockingbird, catbird, robin & woodpecker
Powderpuff (calliandra haemetocephala) - hummingbird
Red & purple firespike (odontonema strictum) - hummingbird & oriole
Sabal palm (sabal palmetto) - red-winged blackbird, mockingbird, grackle, blue jay & robin
Scarlet milkweed (asclepias curassavica) - hummingbird, mockingbird & catbird
Sea grape (coccoloba uvifera) - mockingbird, catbird, blue jay & woodpecker
Shrimp plant (beloperone guttata) - bulbul, hummingbird, spot-breasted oriole & buntings
Simpson stopper (myrcianthes frangrans) - mockingbird, catbird & cardinal
Slash pine (pinus elliotti var. densa) - doves, blue jay, warblers, owls & woodpeckers
Southern sumac (rhus copailina) - mockingbird, catbird, cardinal & sparrows
Tetrazygia/West Indian lilac (tetrazygia bicolor) - mockingbird, blue jay & cardinal
Turk's cap (malvaviscus arboreus) - hummingbird & painted bunting
Virginia creeper vine (parthenocissus quinquefolia) - catbird, flicker, great-crested flycatcher, mockingbird, robin, brown thrasher & warblers
Waxmyrtle (myrica cerifera) - cardinal, catbird, vireo & warblers
Wild coffee (psychotria spp) - cardinal, blue jay & catbird
Wild grape vine (vitis spp) - fruit eating birds
Wild tamarind (lysiloma latisiliqua) - warblers, gnat catchers & flycatchers
Willow bustic (sideroxylon salicifolium) - fruit eating birds, cardinal, mockingbird, blue jay & warblers

I'm sure to have missed a few good ones so I will be sure to add them as come in.
Ok, now that you have your list...get out there and start planting some wonderful species for our winged friends to enjoy (butterflies too)!

Happy Gardening & Many Best Wishes,

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Garden surprise

One day this weedy looking plant popped up, totally unannounced..."hmmm, it sure does look like a tickseed, but never seen one that tall", I thought.  So I left it there just out of shear curiosity as to what this might become.  Very glad I did because here it is for you to see in its full glory!  A very sticking looking coreopsis or tickseed!  Enjoy your weekend!

Happy Gardening & Best Wises,

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Where has the time gone...

Hi my friends...Happy New Year, cheers to all for a wonderfully incredible 2015!!!  Ok so I have been gone wayyyy too long, right!?!
Oh my gosh, where in the world has the time gone!?!  I see the last time I post was, wait, what...August....wow we have so much to talk about!
Why dont'cha take a seat and let's chat a bit, I promise not to keep you too long.
Our Pompano Beach house in 2013, wishing the new owners lots of love.
So much to catch up on, ok, well as many of you may know, I ended up selling my house of 13 years last September 2014...sniff, sniff...but the young couple who bought it are super sweet and they really love it so it makes me very happy.  My bf and I decided to rent for awhile though I did take a nice handful of my plants and orchid collection with me.  Really the ones with sentimental value came with.  Though I did tell the new owners that if they want to get rid of anything, and I mean anything, let me know and I will be glad to come get it.

 This new rental house we are at now is literally a blank canvas with nothing here...until we showed up, lol.  Luckily our landlady is happy to have us do some new landscaping.  I will mos def be doing a before and after post on this place.  I already started a vegetable & herb garden that are doing amazingly better then they ever did at the other house, go figure.  Another post as to my veggie shenanigans, lol.
Our new rental aka "blank canvas" house in Lighthouse Point lol
Well friends and fellow blogger it's so nice to be back!  I missed you all so much and hold on tight cause we're gonna get back to bloggin'!

In the meantime, stay cool, keep hydrated and get dirty!
Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

2014 Mounts Botanical Garden Tropical Fruit Festival

I know this is a late post but better late than never right!?!
The Mounts Botanical Garden tropical fruit festival was June 28th and yes, you got that right...
it was a super uber hot day!!!   

I do have to say, Mounts Botanical Gardens made some changes this year which I think made it flow better.  Like the tropical fruit tasting was right when you walked in.    Luckily I was able to do some sampling this year and they moved people through fairly quickly.  Plus they grouped the vendors, food trucks and the live music together under the shade of large tree canopies.  

The food was amazing especially the guys BBQing.  I had their conch ceviche which is my fav!    Not sure why but it seemed like there were only a handful of vendors this year.   I do hope they did well.    Also it didn't seem as crowed this year, maybe the heat kept people inside?   Not sure the reason but for those of you who didn't get a chance to make it this year, here are some pictures from my adventure at this years Mounts Botanical Gardens Tropical Fruit Festival.

The front parking lot of Mounts Botanical Gardens: the left
picture is facing the gardens & the right picture looks at WPB airport.

Different views of the main lake

Container gardening

Fruits: (from left to right) dwarf pomegranate, sugar apple, dragon fruit & bananas

Butterfly gardens: from top left- stinky marigold, not sure what kind of
white flowering vine, purple salvia with pink allamanda vine & scarlet salvia with pink pentas.

Banana patch

Educational center

Plant, food & craft vendors while listening to great live music.

Lots of color & texture

A serene setting to cool down & contemplate.

The beautiful formal rose garden

Part of the plant collection in the formal rose garden.

Sweeping vistas reflecting a multitude of layers

Sarracenia pitcher plants hanging at the gardens' entrance
Hope you all are enjoying your summer!
Happy Gardening and Best Wishes,

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Latest & Greatest & Some New News!!!

Hope you all are doing well my friends!
It's been awhile since y'all have been by to visit the garden.
Boy do I have lots to show you & something important to tell you!

After much debate of whether to stay or start something new, I decided that after 13 years here at this wonderful little home, I decided to put it on the market.  If it sells then I will be very happy to know someone else can enjoy it too!   Now, I have to decide which plants come with me, lol.

I'm not sure how many more times I may get to blog about my little plot of paradise so let's have some fun while we can.   Since the thundershowers are coming and going on a daily basis and
it remains uber hot and humid outside...
it's a great time to take a virtual walk through the garden!

This is a view from the south walkway that links
the front & back yards.  You can see our new dog
Django under the huge Jamaican caper tree!

The picture on the left is dendrobium miyakei (I think)
Yes, the picture on the right is the same orchid flower!  The top picture is a week
after the blooms opened up & the bottom picture is what it looks like a week after the top picture.

Our front yard full of peanut flowers &
the Ellen Bosanquet crinum lilies in bloom

The above pictures show my spindle palm in it's place of eight years.
It grew so fast along with the adjacent trees that it had to be relocated.
Our contractor friend found a good home for this beauty on one of his projects.

Swallowtail butterfly chrysalis on our rue plant

My new favorite is this cutie beauty
michelia figo (aka. banana shrub).  You can smell this
from a distance as the super sweet juicy smell wafts
into your nostrils & your brain says "OMG what
is that delicious smell!?!"  To me it smells like
a banana now-and-later ;)

A fun artistic expression I made from an orchid picture.

My fiddlewood & American beautyberry
all full of berries the birds love to eat.

A view of part of our backyard pathway.

My longest lobster claw helicona ever!Très cool!

Beehive or Thai shampoo ginger

This is the back patio corner.
Thank you so much for coming by & walking through the garden with me!
Keep cool, stay hydrated, wear sunblock and enjoy some summer fun!
Happy Gardening & Best Wishes,