Guess who?

Guess who?
One of the most common yard birds in south Florida is nesting in my crabwood tree out back. Can you guess whose eggs these are?

Just in time for Fly-day

Just in time for Fly-day
A few flies I’ve seen this spring. A common hover fly, Toxomerus geminatus: A less common drone fly, Eristalinus taeniops: A common (in my garden) syrphid fly, Palpada vinetorum: None of these flies would find my yard at all attractive without the flowers that grow in it. And I would probably find my yard a ...

New backyard bug: Pseudodoros clavatus

New backyard bug: <em>Pseudodoros clavatus</em>
The sun came out one day in May of 2013, and I decided to take advantage of the situation and see what I could find in the back yard. And I’m glad I did; I found a lovely little flower fly that I’d been trying to get a picture of for years (and now, nearly ...

Springtime flowers: Gumbo Limbo

Springtime flowers: Gumbo Limbo
You know it’s spring in south Florida when your Gumbo Limbo sticks—er, trees—start to flower: You see, Gumbo Limbos are briefly deciduous—at the end of the cool part of the dry season, they drop their leaves, and for a brief while their branches are bare: Nursery people call this “leaf exchange,” and some trees do ...

New backyard plant: Willow Bustic

New backyard plant: Willow Bustic
On the first day of spring 2015 (that was March 20 for those of you who still aren’t keeping track of the seasons and astronomical events) I planted a new tree in the side yard out front: a Willow Bustic, Sideroxylon salicifolium. (Although take that taxonomic name with a grain of salt; apparently the tree is ...

New backyard plant: Beach Creeper

New backyard plant: Beach Creeper
My front yard is a problem. It faces south, and it’s very hot and dry. The soil is sandy, and because much of the front yard is reclaimed from a time when the street was wider, there’s a lot of crushed limestone under that sand layer, making for tough digging: those loosely compacted rocks are ...

New backyard plant: Bahama Jacaranda 2

New backyard plant: Bahama Jacaranda
One of my favorite memories of my decade spent at UCLA was seeing the huge trees with all the purple flowers and the flowery name: Jacaranda. They were scattered all over campus, in front of the library, in the courtyard outside a classroom I was in a lot, in the sculpture garden, near the top ...

Large moths

Large moths
Over the years I’ve found some big moths on the property, both as larvae and as adults. When I say big, I mean big enough that people notice them, not the little tiny guys that are present by the hundreds in the grasses and flower beds. I’m talking sphinx moths, family Sphingidae, also known as hawk ...

What’s in a name? The “involucrate” of Lantana involucrata

What's in a name? The
My last post was about a nice little Florida native plant that I’m trying out (again) in the yard: Lantana involucrata. Now “lantana,” you’ll recall, in addition to being the name of a town not far from where I live, comes from the Latin for “flexible,” whatever that may mean when applied to these rather woody ...

New backyard plant: Button Sage

New backyard plant: Button Sage
This spring I decided to revamp my yard a little bit, removing some poorly performing plants (firebush, believe it or not) and replacing them with species that might be more suited to the growing conditions here. And in my front yard, that means hot and sunny. Lantana involucrata, commonly known by its taxonomic name but also ...