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Atala Butterflies in the Garden

Monday, February 10, 2014

Atala  butterflies were flitting around the garden this morning, and the Long John tree (Triplaris cumingiana), which has been in bold red flower for some time now, was their nectar source of choice.

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Everglades Winter Birds

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ospreys, once known as fish hawks, return to the same nest year after year. Likewise we return to the same birding spot year after year. With great satisfaction, we can report that the pair of osprey in Eco Pond in Everglades National Park has again successfully produced a youngster. Maybe more than one, but we only saw one small head rise above the sides of the huge and high nest. The remarkable thing about these birds is that the soles of their claws are spiny and the front outer talon is able to move forward or back to better hold a fish.

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Sunday in the Park

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday in Everglades National Park’s Shark Valley: Arriving at 8:45 a.m. (Shark Valley doesn’t open until 8:30), we secured a spot along the canal to practice our bird photography. Black-crowned night-herons are said to be reclusive birds, nesting and in hidden colonies and fishing at night, but today, four night-herons – two juveniles and two adults – were in plain sight fishing from perches on the drainage canal that originally was built for oil exploration.

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Chocolate Festival—Day Two

Sunday, January 26, 2014

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Pupating lady bug larva

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Three of these larvae are on my Jamaica capers. I never before have seen a lady bug larva pupate. Look closely and you will see the wrinkled larval skin scrunching up towardthe top of her head. ....

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Fun with Old Christmas Trees

Monday, January 6, 2014

How sad to discard an old Christmas tree! If you have the time and energy, I suggest the following: Take the tree into your yard and using a handheld clipper, trim off as much of the foliage as you can. Or even better, use an electric hedge trimmer. Cut the branches into smaller pieces and spread it around between plantings to act as mulch. It'll keep down weeds while decaying and adding nutrients into your soil. Alternately, you can toss the cuttings into your compost. Now...

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Ready for the cold?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Our unusually rainy and warm November and December have fattened our tropical plants, but also made them more vulnerable to a sudden drop in temperature, predicted for tonight. Water plants well as they will be better able to withstand low temperatures than dry plants. Putting container plants on the south side of the house can help protect them from the wind that accompanies a cold front. Drop hanging baskets to beneath a tree and cover with a sheet. Wind may be more damaging than cold...

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For your 2014 to-do list

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Boats killed fewer manatees this year than last. That's the good news. The bad: more than 800 of Florida's manatees died in 2013, a record number. Everywhere, the environmental news is grim. And yes, governments, corporations, etc., must make the big fixes, but it's time all of us did our part. So here are five New Year's resolutions you may wish to jot down. *Learn to turn off your irrigation system after rain. Where I live (Coconut Grove), home sprinklers run no matter...

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A David Fairchild collected plant is something to see!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One of my personal favorite trees is currently flowering in Fairchild. It is Pittosporum moluccanum. Our tree was grown from seeds which were originally collected in 1940 by Dr. David Fairchild on Tagapulo Island, Samar Sea in the Philippines. Our tree, now 73 years old, is less than 20 feet tall. The clusters of small white flowers perfume the surrounding area. If you would like to see this plant, just walk on the tram road a little south of the overlook wall. Your ...

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