Tuesday October 16, 2012
Hey everybody, check out my butterfly garden. Actually, it looks a little sad right now. It’d been planted for awhile and was getting overgrown, so I replanted everything Sunday to give it more space. Consider this a “before” picture.
That’s not to say there aren’t some flowers happening. How this happened is that Hillary and I were visiting Fairchild like a year ago and happened into conversation with a very knowledgeable volunteer in the butterfly garden. Before you know it I was jotting down names of flowers on my phone (Milkweed, Corkeystone Passion Vine, Border Weed, Tropical Sage, Egyptian Star Clusters, Scorpion’s Tail). He recommended checking out Richard Lyons Nursery”:http://www.rarefloweringtrees.com/, which sure enough is an amazing place.
The guy at Richard Lyons recommended one or two more plants, and these five are the ones we came home with. Milkweed and Passion Vine are for sure in the mix, but I don’t remember what the other ones are. No matter, really, because we have seen exactly ONE butterfly this whole time — this weekend (maybe it’s the start of an influx, tho I doubt it; we’re near the bay, and I doubt butterflies like the salt air?).
This is the Passion Vine. But in any case, I’ll keep y’all updated. Now that I’ve got this post, it should be easy to drop in more photos as the everything fills in.
Hey, lizard, this trellis is not for you! This PDF is a pretty great resource on planting a butterfly garden in Florida. It’s complicated! For best results, you’re supposed to take into account plants that are common within a quarter mile of you, among a grid of other factors. I sprawling Miami I should think this amounts to doing trial and error with lots of the species on the list.
The idea though, is that you need a combination of plants — some that attract butterfly larva, and flowering plants that the adults feed on. Then, different species of butterflies like different plants (some like rotting fruit and manure). The Miami Blue Chapter of the National Butterfly association is an excellent resource. I am also to point out that there is a thing called Butterfly World, and their website at least is a rare and beautiful flower.
Wednesday May 7, 2008
The results are in from the Broward citrus canker class-action lawsuit: $11.5 million to be split between several tens of thousand residents. It’s not clear how much each person/tree will get, because some have already gotten money, yadda yadda, but sounds like upper three digits to me. Good news for former citrus tree owners in other counties, where similar lawsuits are ongoing; bad news for the State (uhh, that would be us). Someone should start talking settlement, no?
Thursday April 17, 2008
In front of the building at Meridian and 13th, recently redone. Some sort of Philippe Stark meets the old west meets Japanese traditional thing going on here. I tend to frown on this sort of thing when done to multi-residence buildings.
Tuesday April 15, 2008
The first of several huge class-action lawsuits against the state’s past Citrus Canker policy has come home to roost. The Miami Herald article deals primarily with the legal technicalities of the case, but here’s the point: The state based its decision to cut down healthy trees growing within 1,900 feet of infected trees on junk science, and didn’t sufficiently compensate owners. Well, now comes the penalty phase — we’re talking hundreds of thousands of trees, and the plaintiffs are talking as much as $5,000 per tree. Tim Farley, who’s quoted extensively in the article (and you can hear audio of him talking some more!) says the Florida citrus industry should pay, “but unfortunately that’s not how the system works.”
Actually, a tax on the citrus industry to pay compensatory damages in these cases would be just a wonderful idea. But they’re not the really really real guilty party here — industry looks after its interests, right? That’s what they do, that’s what they have lobbyists to do, that’s what we expect them to do. The real criminals here are the people that put the 1,900 foot rule into place — the government officials who failed to stand up to the industry, to stand up for residents with trees.
So, what do you do to ensure this doesn’t happen next time, with the next situation? Nothing. You take it, and the next time you take it again. There’s your moral. Now, get out there and plant some citrus trees — they only take a few years to get to fruit-bearing age.
Update: Clarifying the compensation per tree. First of all, that’s what the trial is going to determine. $5,000 is the pie-in-the-sky figure the plaintiffs are starting with, a number to be compromised from, and even then it’s intended to be the upper range. Actual amount would be determined by the size/age/value of the tree, with the majority in any case being under $1,000.
Monday April 14, 2008
My third trip to Fairchild was the most interesting yet, thanks in part to unwillingly (and groaningly) submitting to the tram tour. The garden has over 500 volunteers, and among other things they lead all these tours, which are — surprise — extremely interesting and helpful in making sense of what might otherwise seems a somewhat sprawling estate. Fairchild has four distinct plant habitats and … well, I’m not going to regurgitate everything, but trust me, it’s worth it.
The public attraction aspect is almost secondary to Fairchild’s scientific function. A premiere collection of tropical wildlife, every plant on the property is a scientific specimen, and many are tagged for reference. Botanists come from all over the world to study this stuff.
In the arid area, almost every different plant is a different species. Set atop a small hill, the area was excavated and filled with fast-draining sandy soil to simulate a desert environment.
So, I guess we should talk about the Lichtenstein. There are only about 10 sculptures, but they’re pretty hard to miss of course. At their best (for example, this lamp light sculpture) they’re pretty darned good.
Also the house sculpture, charming enough in a photo, but employing a perspective gimmick that makes it look like it’s moving as you walk past it. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of tired “brushstroke” pieces to be had, but the best of it was pretty good.
Also, remnants of Chihuly abound. Here a lizard has gotten pretty comfortable with the red tubes. I sort of wish they’d get rid of the glass, because it’s pretty distracting. In the tropical rainforest all people were photographing were the sodding glass balls in the stream. (Tour tidbit: since Miami doesn’t get nearly as much rain as a rainforest needs, the area has a treetop-level sprinkler system — every layer of the rainforest needs water, not just the ground.)
Orchid fever in the enclosed conservatory building. I took the orchid pictures, but Susan took most of the rest of them, because like a knucklehead I left my camera battery at home. More orchid pictures at flickr: 1, 2, 3. Oh, one last thing. Fairchild has a butterfly garden now. Did you know that if you plant the right plants, butterflies will just start hanging out? Well, they planted lots and lots of them in one little area and viola — a year-round swarm of butterflies. Good stuff.
Tuesday April 8, 2008
I picked up a copy of Biscayne Times the other day, and found a piece on Miami guerrilla gardening group Tree-0-5, which plants impromptu gardens in abandoned lots. Of course the group was started by Rag Trade’s Stephanie, so there’s another reason to be bummed out that she’s leaving town.
Wednesday March 26, 2008
The North Shore Community Garden, around 73rd Street on Dickens Avenue, Miami Beach.
Tuesday February 26, 2008
Monday February 25, 2008
This tamarind juice was delicious, about the consistency of peach nectar. Very sweet, as it should have been — it contains high fructose corn syrup, which, along with the fact that it contains mostly water (30% actual tamarind juice) should have disqualified it from the “Juice” label. Oh well. I bought mine at Fruit and Spice Park, but it’s probably also available at Caribbean markets all over town.
Thursday February 14, 2008
Wednesday December 26, 2007
Christmas tree recycling instructions: if you’re served by Miami-Dade waste management, just leave it on the curb before January 25th. If not, drop it off at one of 14 collection points. Soon to come: free Christmas-tree wood chips! Update: And in Broward.
Monday November 12, 2007
Savepalms.com: bemoaning the removal of royal palms along Biscayne Blvd. I saw this website on a bumper sticker. (Not sure if they’re still sending these out — the website hasn’t been updated since February. I suppose the fight is over.)
Tuesday October 9, 2007
Monday July 16, 2007
A Ghost Orchid (pivotal in “The Orchid Thief” and “Adaptation”) has been found in Florida. Suprisingly interesting story, with a picture.
Wednesday January 17, 2007
I saw this while working on a series of photos of houses in Morningside. A crazy tree covered with huge flowers that hang straight down. The hedge around the house was blooming, too, with big flytrap-looking flowers.