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Small but beautiful

Friday, October 1, 2010

A lovely flower caught my eye today at the Garden (well, OK, more than one): Clusia lanceolata, the porcelain flower. Sometimes called porcelain flower,this is Clusia lanceolata. Clusia was actually a Fairchild plant of the year in 2007. It is from Brazil's sandy shore, and therefore is salt tolerant. The waxy flowers are small but rather elegantly turned out in six white petals that have red bases. It likes sun or partial shade, and stays in the shrub-size range or may become a small...

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Galapagos Encounter

Friday, October 1, 2010

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Field Tour 20th Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Grower

Monday, October 4, 2010

Field Tour 20th Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Grower September 26, 2010 We depared from the hotel in the early morning to the National Tropical Botanic Garden located in the Lāwa`i Valley, on the south shore of of Kaua`i. It is a garden paradise, transformed through time by the hands of a Hawaiian Queen, a sugar plantation magnate and most significantly by an artist and an architect. The endless topography display a large canopy of rainforest trees with tall curving roots growing ...

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Bird Day has fledged

Monday, October 4, 2010

A yellow warbler that might steal your heart.. Dr. John Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, had more than 200 people in the Bird Day audience Sunday for a talk that was powerful and exciting. Through citizen scientists around the country reporting on birds in their backyards and the astonishing technology of the Internet, Fitzpatrick said, we can follow the lives of birds and determine the health of their ecosystems. Here are three links that will engage you in...

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But aren't bonsai small?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

This black olive has been trained into abonsai shape, albeit on a large scale. Today at the garden, the Bonsai Society of Miami had members working to construct backdrops and pedestals for their fabulous miniature trees that will be on display Saturday and Sunday for their annual show and sale. Small and even medium sized trees were waiting to be placed, when a truck pulled up. Five people somehow managed to extract a 50-year-old black olive from the van and onto a rolling cart. But it is ...

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Welcome home migratory birds

Friday, October 8, 2010

Swallowtail kite visits South Florida in the summer. Caribbean Migratory Bird Day is to be celebrated Saturday on the heels of our Bird Day. This celebration is being led by the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB), the largest organization devoted to wildlife conservation in the Caribbean. Many of the island celebrations will have a "Welcome Home Migrants" theme. And here's a story about a migrant that will take your breath away. This comes from the Western...

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Side by side we stand

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Trinidad... since our arrival in Port of Spain on this neotropical island we've been fortunate to have been afforded pleasant weather, exceptional colleagues, fertile verdure, and Caribbean color at every turn. It is a grand pleasure to undertake this joint expedition between Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC) in close collaboration with our long-term collaborators and colleagues from the University of the West Indies (UWI) National Herbarium. The...

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Celebrate Fall at Fairchild’s Edible Garden Festival

Monday, October 11, 2010

Celebrate Fall at Fairchild's Edible Garden Festival and Scarecrow Contest! Coral Gables, FL, October 12, 2010-It's officially fall and in South Florida that means there's no better time to plant your garden! So whether you've planted and tended your own garden before or just want to know how to get started, Fairchild's Edible Garden Festival and Scarecrow Contest on Saturday and Sunday, October 23 and 24, will teach you all you need to know about growing your...

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From mountaintops to the lowlands

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO. Greetings from Trinidad! The last few days have been completely encompassed by fieldwork and processing of our plant specimens. I hope you enjoy perusing a few images from the field... Ms. Abdo and Mr. Rivera of Fairchild take a momentary break beneath a gigantic tree found along a mountain ridge top in the northern range of the island. A stately Mauritia palm is one of only two in its genus. This ancient palm reaches its northernmost native extent in Trinidad, and ...

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Boogaloo, where are you?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Searching for Trinidad's rarest palm TRINIDAD & TOBAGO. After bidding Juan a warm farewell this morning, as he set off to carry out a final meeting and prepare our precious plant cargo for departure back to Miami, we made our way several hours south into a forestry site. We were intent on following up on information from our colleagues at the National Herbarium of Trinidad and Tobago regarding the island's rarest palm, Astrocaryum aculeatum - also known as the "banga" or "boogaloo" palm. As ...

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Exciting sightings in Fairchild!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

In recent days, staff have seen the amazingly beautiful Painted Buntings in Fairchild! Over the past year, we have placed feeders in quiet locations within FTBG to encourage more birds. One of the important ingredients of the seed mix we use is white millet, a favorite food of Painted Buntings. Both male buntings and the "greenies" (immature males or females) have been seen at feeders in the Keys Coastal Habitat, the palmetum area between the cafe and the south gate, near the Victoria Pool ...

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Our 5000K marathon

Saturday, October 16, 2010

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO. Dr. Larry Noblick sits and carefully cleans precious palm seeds collected during the day's fieldwork. We'll continue our own version of this botanical 5000K marathon as we continue processing specimens and seeds late into the night - this is typically how we spend our evenings after each day of fieldwork. So far, we have searched for, collected, and processed over six thousand seeds!...

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Oooooooo, Halloween's best decorations

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bev Murphy, left, directs Bob Brennan in the cherry picker withhelp from Josef Pommer. Bev Murphy's marvelous Halloween decorations, made of natural materials, are being installed today. Palm sheath ghosts, gourd-nosed ghouls, mangy mutts with funny socks, bats, bats and more bats, witches and spiders.... Surely these are the best decorations ever, and the most Earth friendly. They bring smiles every year, as Boo! garden-members Bill and Bev Murphy haul Bev's creations to the garden. ...

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Pretty in pink

Monday, October 18, 2010

This wonderful Ceiba speciosa is stopping traffic. It's at the corner of San Remo Avenue and Yumuri Street in Coral Gables. As I was taking this photo, another woman stopped to do the same, and a third walked by to say she took a picture Sunday and sent it to friends in Seattle "to show them why I return to Miami every year." A floss silk or Ceiba speciosa that has many admirers. The color is spectacular, but so is the shape. This year, the tree started opening blooms on the west side of ...

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My Meadow Garden - Five Months Later

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It was early in May when I planted my meadow garden under a Guaiacum sanctum (lignum vitae) and a Veitchia. The plants have really grown into mature specimens and all the grasses are blooming. I've weeded this area only three times this summer and the grasses are now growing so densely that soon, weeding will not be necessary - my goal!! Each grass was planted about 2' apart so that their rounded form can be expressed In June I scattered seeds of Coreopsis leavenworthii, our native tickseed ...

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Is that a lilac in bloom?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lonchocarpus violaceus var. violaceus is a flowering tree native to dry hillsides in Trinidad. Plants often begin flowering when only five or six feet tall. Homesick northerners will love the scent, which is somewhat reminiscent of lilacs. Throughout October and November, masses of purple to pinkish mauve flowers are borne on six-inch racemes, making a wonderful show above the dark green pinnate leaves. This tree in the photo is located at the tram plaza. Be sure to get a close look and ...

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Growing a pizza in a pot?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Planting oregano Saturday to complete our pizza garden. What do you put on a pizza? How about tomatoes, peppers, basil, oregano? Come on by the Learning Center Sunday at 11:30 and I'll show you and the kids how to plant the right ingredients. Then you can make your own pizza garden at home with veggies fresh from your garden....

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October 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dr. Eric von Wettberg will be hosting three colleagues who are working with him in projects concerning soil adaptations in legumes. Dr. Maren Friesen (University of South California) and Dr. Ken Moriuchi (University of California at Davis) are visiting on October 8 - 10 to work on data examining salt tolerance in wild alfalfa. Dr. Heidi Huber (Radbound University inNijmegan, the Netherlands) will be visiting from Oct 23 until Nov 3, to discuss flooding and salt tolerance in clover. ...

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Beautiful fall fruit

Friday, October 29, 2010

Snowberry. Berries and more berries are borne on our native plants now and especially noticeable are wild coffee, snowberry and beautyberry. These shrubs are a boon for wildlife, and birds, and for a native garden they're very nearly a must. Snowberry, Chiococca alba, is a hammock native that likes some high shade. It is a sprawling shrub that bears yellow, bell-shaped flowers in the summer and white berries in the fall. The Institute for Regional Conservation cautions that it can be...

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