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Of Migratory Warblers and Resident Turtles

Friday, October 25, 2013

I just always find something new around the Garden. Same is true for my own garden, but it's quite a bit smaller than Fairchild. Nevertheless, last Wednesday I was hunting for mushrooms and lichen to photograph along the mulch path of the Allee (which, by the way, is defined as a walkway lined with trees or shrubs). Instead, I looked up and spotted a turtle. South Florida lakes have a ton of turtles, but it's not so often I see any box turtles. Terrapene carolina bauri is the Florida...

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A tree that is 'elegantly upholstered'

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It sometimes is called the devil tree. But in her book Tropical & Subtropical Trees, An Encyclopedia, Margaret Barwick's description of the October flowers makes it sound quite heavenly: "the deep green canopy is elegantly upholstered with large posies of greenish white slender-tubed blooms that are held rigidly erect in downy, long-stemmed, compact, heads that come from the axils of the leaves." It is Alstonia scholaris, and you should rush to see it. Its home range extends...

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A perfect tree!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Eugenia confusa, redberry stopper, is native to South Florida, the Keys and the West Indies. It is considered endangered in Florida. Redberry stopper is an evergreen small tree or large shrub which slowly grows to about 20 feet and can serve many purposes in the landscape. The opposite leaves with interesting, elongated drip tips, emerge reddish turning a medium green several weeks later. The straight trunk is covered by distinctive finely divided bark. The canopy remains dense, even in ...

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Ballet takes flight

Sunday, October 13, 2013

. Miami City Ballet performed three movements from Tchaikovsky's Serenade in C Major for String Orchestra against the backdrop of the Bailey Palm Glade Saturday afternoon as a special event during the annual Bird Festival. Against the palms, the lakes and the clear blue sky, the dancers captivated everyone in a performance that could not have been more beautiful....

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How to care for your newly purchased plants

Monday, October 7, 2013

What to do with your new plants from the Members' Day Plant Sale What to do with newly purchased plants After careful reading and perhaps some research, you have selected plants for your home garden. Most of the plants that Fairchild offers for sale have been grown in light shade to full sun. When you bring home plants do not stop on the way home and park your car in the sun. This will cook any plants that are left in the car. Go home, unload plants, make sure their soil feels moist and ...

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The False Parasol Mushroom

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

For a couple weeks now some rather large, doorknob-shaped mushrooms have been sprouting up on the lawn between Cycad Circle and the Glasshouse Cafe outdoor seating area. At first there was one very large one, then as that one started becoming moribund a few other small white buttons began to emerge a few inches apart. The false parasol mushroom, Chlorophyllummolybdites At one point a fairy ring of mushrooms nearly formed. I visited them just about every morning, since I can practically...

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The Atala and Coontie—a Comeback Saves Two Species

Friday, September 27, 2013

While taking a quick walk outside the Gallery building this morning I spotted a red caterpillar against the olivey-green leaves of a coontie (Zamia integrifolia). Then another, and another. It had to be the larvae of the atala butterfly (Eumaeus atala), which is infamous for depending on the coontie as its host plant. On close inspection, they are more like a brilliant glossy magenta scarlet, more orange towards their undersides, with two rows of seven yellows spots along their backs. During ...

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Native Basil—an Endangered Plant for the Kitchen!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Did you know there is a species of basil native to South Florida? Ocimum campechianum is known by many common names, like wild sweet basil, wild mosquito plant, Least basil, Peruvian basil, and a few others. It is native, though not endemic, to extreme southern Florida. While it has become quite rare here-unfortunately earning the status of Endangered from the USDA-it is more common throughout parts of tropical America, including the West Indies. This annual grows to about 18 inches...

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Safety in numbers

Monday, September 16, 2013

Larvae beginning to explore theAristolochia flower. Polydamas Swallowtail butterflies lay eggs in groups on the stems After the storms. and leaves of Dutchman's pipe vines. For the first few days after hatching, the larvae stay together. Gradually, they part ways as they grow larger and need more leaf surface on which to feed. After Sunday night/Monday morning storms, I discovered that the little brown caterpillars, which had begun to separate, regrouped along the stem of the ...

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Ah the Fecundity—You’ll Never Know What You Might Find

Monday, September 9, 2013

It rained heavily this morning, by the end transforming the daily noon steambath into cloudy, breezy, and tolerably cool conditions. So instead of trying to let my mind go blank during a quick lunchtime break today, I took a 20-minute walk around the Garden. I like to walk and poke around dark, brambly areas people avoid, like basements. Those less trodden areas appeal to me; maybe because they are usually quiet, and slightly ignored. But they are very much appreciated by ferns, fungi and ...

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