Friday, May 21, 2010

Garden Update: May 2010

Current garden status:

For the first time since I've lived here, my magnolia is in bloom!

The trees by my lanai are in bloom as well. Now that I have these blooms to help me identify them, I think that I am now comfortable identifying these as Shady Lady olive trees.

The lubbers are infesting the yard-- both big and small lubbers.

So far they haven't been destroying my vegetable plants, but they have been eating the sheffelera. That's alright by me.

My gardenia is in bloom now...

I do nothing to this thing, but it seems to love it's location. I fear it won't do so well after we cut down the ficus, which currently provides it with shade.

The rubber vine is in full bloom right now.

I love this shot that Woodrow got of the rubber vine.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

More veggies and other updates

I decided that for Mother's Day I would give my mother a potted okra. She likes okra, and like me has been growing a few veggies.

I am now growing an assortment of herbs, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers and melons.

I also noticed the other day that one of my Plumeria (Frangipan) seems to have died.

Perhaps it took a bad hit from a lawn mower or weedeater. I was told by a nursery person that these are especially sensitive to damage caused by weedeaters and bumps from mowers.

I also bought a plant at an arts and crafts show Saturday. I don't know what it's called, but it looks like a colorful version of a Hens and Chicks succulent.

I thought that it might be pretty in front of the house, where I have no hose to water potted plants.

Not bad!

Unfortunately I uncovered a carpenter ant nest when I moved a pot yesterday. Well, unfortunate for me. The lizards were all very excited! They all came running when they saw what was going on! I had three of them vying for the buffet. I learned that the adults ants must have a fierce bite, so they are avoided by the lizards. The lizards seemed to be concentrating mostly on the winged ants, and occasionally an egg.

Grody! But I found both the ant and lizard behavior fascinating!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dueling Lizards

This morning I went out to check my garden and see what needed watering. As I walked over to check the new veggies, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and heard a *thunk* on the deck. Startled, I turned to look and saw two lizards on the deck, one on its back and the other one had a hold of it by the throat. I watched for a minute or two, and other than occasionally clawing at one another, they didn't move. I wanted to get video of the match, but I feared that the minute I turned my back they would depart, and I wouldn't know where they went or what happened next. I sprayed the hose in their direction, and it barely fazed them. So I decided to risk running for my camera, and sure enough as soon as I turned my back and stepped away, they broke apart. However there was no need for concern-- they weren't going anywhere. I ran and got my camera, and got a few shots of the lizards...

Then I watched in fascination as they kept at it, maneuvering around one another, looking for the tactical advantage. Then they started sparring again.

And again...

Did you see the way that he flipped the other one right off the strawberry pot?! Awesome move! I could watch that over and over!

It was very interesting to watch! The "thought" that would go into their maneuvering around, looking for the advantage, was really fascinating. I'll be looking for these big boys in the future!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Planting a small vegetable garden

Today we spent a couple of hours working in pretty searing intolerable heat in order to prep part of my giant raised bed for plants. I plan on ripping this bed apart and create 2-4 small square beds in its place, or a couple of long, narrow beds. But it will be awhile before I can do that. So for now I decided to prep a portion of it for a small vegetable garden.

Katy was there to supervise our work.

We moved a bunch of the dirt out of a 10x3 foot area, and mixed in potting soil, compost and top soil. Then I planted the poblano pepper, jalapeno pepper, green pepper, cucumber, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe and two eggplant.

Plus the other day I potted an herb bucket and in another bucket I put a Rome tomato plant with sweet basil.

But looky here! I was surprised to discover a bloom on the old pepper plant from last summer! This has been totally neglected, unwatered and in a weed-filled pot, yet there it is!

Yes, I weeded it now that I see how hard it is trying to survive. And I still have a couple of strawberry plants popping up...

And my mango tree, despite the freezes we had this winter, is trying to put out a small harvest as well. So far I've spotted two mangoes...

Also the other morning I was out in the yard when I noticed that my mahogany have lost their leaves (which they seem to do this time of year). Then I noticed this...

I haven't figured out what the heck that is! It's webbing full of leaves, forming a basket. I don't know whether that was purposeful or what. But I did see some lovely new little leaves coming in on the mahogany...

My jasmine is in full bloom, and I love the smell drifting around the lanai.

I still don't know what these two trees are that are in front of my lanai, but I like the look of them, even if they are too close to the lanai. They kinda look like Shady Lady olive trees, but I've never seen any fruit on them.

So it was a day of hard work, and I should sleep well tonight! We'll see how the vegetables and fruit do. It's getting hot out there. I hope that I can get them through the heat and keep them well-watered!