Fairchild Events

RSS

Behind the scenes of the Orchid Festival

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Melana Davison sorts the plants that have come to be show-offs. It starts with a jumble of vibrant jungle flowers waiting to become an exhibition. Wednesday, volunteers from Orchid Society of Coral Gables welcomed members' show plants, sorted them by color or by need for a particular size or a shape, and gradually from the chaos assembled a living tableau of beauty. Behind the scenes at Fairchild's 11th International Orchid Festival are months of exacting horticulture, culminating with ...

Learn More

A dazzling first day

Friday, March 8, 2013

Orchid Society of Coral Gables created this display from members' plants. Friday Fairchild was bustling with orchid lovers for the opening day of the 11th International Orchid Festival. The day was glorious, the plants were glorious, and the prices at vendor booths were generous. Coalition for Orchid Species took first place for tabletop displays, while the big display put on by the Orchid Society of Coral Gables was chock full of eye-catching flowers, including Blc. Pamela Finney Big...

Learn More

Carambola: A Star(Fruit) on the Wall

Sunday, March 10, 2013

If you have a modest yard with little space, but want fruit trees, the solution could be as elegant and simple as a star fruit espalier. What is an espalier you may ask? Well, simply think about a grape vineyard and you are home. This system will provide a novel use of this dooryard plant and serves as an effective design component in your yard. It can even cover up some unsightly or undesirable section of your home garden....

Learn More

FTBG and FIU Contributions to the Bahamas National Natural History Conference at Nassau

Monday, March 11, 2013

The first ever Bahamas National Natural History Conference took place at the College of the Bahamas between March 5 and 8, 2013. The conference was jointly organized by the Bahamas National Trust and the College of the Bahamas. FIU-FTBG facuty Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega was a member of the organizing and scientific committees. FIU faculty Dr. Mike Ross and Dr. John Withey and Fairchild Scientist Dr. Joyce Maschinsky organized a roundtable on Urban Ecology aiming to discuss common challenges ...

Learn More

FIU Graduate School has Annual Retreat at The Paul and Swanee DiMare Science Village

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fairchild and FIU have a solid commitment for graduate education and 32 students from FIU have developed their graduate research at Fairchild since 1998. On March 14 we hosted the annual retreat of the FIU Graduate School. The FIU team was welcomed by our Director Dr. Carl Lewis who stressed the importance of graduate education for the Garden mission and how the FIU-Fairchild partnership is being key to enhance the education program of Fairchild. Image below from left to right: FIU-FTBG ...

Learn More

Contributions to USDA Community Day

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Once a year the Subtropical Horticulture Research Station of the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) located at Chapman Field opens its doors to the public. The event, known as Community Day, took place on March 16 and two FIU-Fairchild Faculty Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega and Dr. Hong Liu delivered two popular talks entitled "David Fairchild in the Bahamas" and "Dress to impress -- how orchids attract their diverse pollinators". Dr. Liu and ...

Learn More

Attracting beneficial insects to your garden

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald You might ask, "Why would I ever want to attract bugs to my garden?" Many bugs are beneficial to have around your plants, and their presence can actually be a sign of a healthy, thriving plot of land. Although some have a reputation as pests, insects are also pollinators, predators and decomposers - all very important roles in a balanced ecosystem. Aside from their reputation as pests, insects are also pollinators, predators and decomposers....

Learn More

Make your backyard a wildlife habitat

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald Imagine sitting in your backyard as colorful birds chirp and flit about and bountiful butterflies scout blooms for nectar. With the right plan and the right plants, you can make your backyard into a wildlife habitat that will attract amazing birds and beautiful butterflies. Birds like berries and insects, so choose a variety of plants that will both produce berries and be home to small insects that birds like to eat. Native plants are always a good choice ...

Learn More

The Florida vanilla vine, ‘a big climbing orchid’

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald The vanilla orchid is a tropical plant that grows in the humid rainforests of Central and South America, Mexico, Tahiti and Madagascar, with a few native species in Florida. The Aztecs discovered the plant in Mexico and used the seed pods in various ways: to aid in digestion, as an aromatic, and to flavor beverages for Emperor Montezuma. The Totonaca people of the Gulf Coast of Mexico were probably the first people to domesticate vanilla. It was originally...

Learn More

The informal hedge

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald A good hedge is a beautiful thing. In a world where we are packed together in zero lot line homes like so many sardines, hedges divide us and give us something we cherish - privacy. They can make our property a place where children can play and adults can frolic by the pool and barbeque without the prying eyes of our neighbors. When you think of a hedge, you probably think of well-manicured hedges cut at just the proper height and perfect angle. These...

Learn More

Garden as if life depends on it!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald Have you ever thought about what happens when a native wooded area is cleared for a building site? After the trees and undergrowth have been removed, what happens to the creatures that were living in or visiting this area? The insects that fed on plants growing in the woods are gone. The birds no longer have a reason to look here for food like caterpillars and other insects because their food plants are gone. When a local habitat is removed, local ...

Learn More

Putting the right plant in the right location

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald South Florida can be a difficult place to carve out your tropical paradise, with calcareous soils, a distinct wet and dry season and a bevy of plant pests, but by choosing the right plant and putting it in the right spot, you not only conquer our poor soils and extreme rainfall patterns, you can also often forgo using supplemental irrigation, pesticides and fertilizer. Over my 20 years of writing and teaching about horticulture, that theme has run through it ...

Learn More

Beware the dangers of the string trimmer

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald Tools make our jobs easier, and the ability to make and use tools can distinguish us from other animals. But what if we use a tool the wrong way and actually harm something we are trying to help? That is just what happens when we use string trimmers aggressively near the bases of our trees and shrubs. String trimmers, sometimes called weed-whackers, are powerful little engines that propel a single or dual plastic string at high enough speeds to chop down ...

Learn More

What to do in the dry season

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald Although most places across the country have four seasons complete with changing leaves, snow days and the first robins of spring, South Florida has only two real seasons - wet and dry. You should have noticed a change recently, a little coolness in the air and very little humidity. That is the signal that we are leaving our wet months - usually late May to late October - and entering into our dry season. This coincides with the rest of the...

Learn More

Great bird and butterfly plants for a small yard

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald Many people have a tiny yard but still want to enjoy a few plants. The ones I am suggesting need little care once established. Many have fragrant flowers and all provide food in the form of small fruit for birds. All of them may be grown easily in a shady to full sun location. A good landscape consists of several layers. Tall plants in the background with smaller shrubs in front help give a more natural, appealing design. Pigeon plum, Coccoloba diversifolia, ...

Learn More

Society too disconnected with nature

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in the Miami Herald Do you notice a disconnect between the natural world and our daily life? Do you wonder why obesity is quickly becoming our country's biggest health issue? Questions like these prompted author Richard Louv to coin the term "nature-deficit disorder" in response to the growing problems that stem from society's dependence on the indoors. The concept that we need to unplug and spend more time outdoors is not a recent development; botanical...

Learn More

Edible gardens promise more than vegetables

Thursday, March 21, 2013

As published in The Miami Herald At a time when my tween daughter is fully entrenched in texting and technology, some very strange words have been falling out of her mouth. "Dad, you promised we would have cucumbers this year, right?" "Dad, you are going to build that second vegetable garden bed like you said, aren't you?" "I don't think we planted enough carrots last year." She has been peppering me with these comments and questions for the last...

Learn More

FIU-FTBG Faculty Performs Academic Visit to University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras

Friday, March 22, 2013

Invited by Dr. Eugenio Santiago-Valent n our FIU-FTBG Faculty Dr. Javier Francisco-Ortega visited the Department of Biology of University of Puerto Rico at R o Piedras to develop joint academic and research activities. During this visit Dr. Francisco-Ortega delivered two lectures in an upper division course on Island Biodiversity and Biogeography that is taught by Prof. Eugenio Santiago-Valent n. Dr. Francisco-Ortega is a member of the graduate committee of Mrs. Nirzka...

Learn More

Head of Fairchild Herbarium Makes Research Trip to Eleuthera

Monday, March 25, 2013

As part of our research program on conservation biology of the palm genus Pseudophoenix on the Caribbean Islands, Dr. Brett Jestrow (Head of the Fairchild Herbarium) traveled to the island of Eleuthera (The Bahamas) between March 18 and 21. The visit was jointly sponsored by the Mohamend Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund and the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (Eleuthera). During this visit Dr. Jestrow delivered a seminar (see flyer below) and collected both germplasm and DNA samples of ...

Learn More

An inflorescence that was years in the works

Friday, March 29, 2013

A pair of enormous Aechmea bromeliads has inhabited my garden for years, moving into various settings as they grew in size. The last time I moved them, I said that was it; they were too big and too dangerously armed to move again. They lived behind a group of shell ginger for a few more years, until I decided to cut away the gingers to allow more air into an orchid house. Aechmea mariae-reginae. Eliminating the gingers opened up a commodious spot where Anthurium x Marie could display her ...

Learn More