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  • Blolly (Guapira discolor) in fruit. Boca Raton, FL, August 21, 2015

    My baby blolly, after four years: boy or girl?

    By / August 27, 2015

    Four and a half years ago we moved into a new house. This involved a lot of new things: first, and most importantly, of course, a new baby boy. Happy, shiny day. Also, relatively easy to determine the sex (baby humans have dangly bits). Baby plants, though, don’t have such obvious markers of sex. For… Read more

  • Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) caterpillar on host plant, Senna mexicana.

    Senna and sulphurs

    By / August 21, 2015

    This spring I overhauled the front part of the front yard, getting rid of some scraggly dune sunflower and replacing it with some more long-lived plants. (Not that dune sunflower is bad or short-lived, but I have it in many other areas of the yard as well, and it needs frequent cutting back to keep… Read more

  • Venus in close conjunction with Jupiter. June 30, 2015.

    Venus and Jupiter conjoin

    By / July 1, 2015

    Conjoin? Well, not exactly. But I don’t recall ever seeing the planets closer together in the sky than they were the night of June 30, 2015. They were both near the center of my FOV in my favorite macro lens: Truth be told, I’d forgotten all about this conjunction of Venus and Jupiter until my… Read more

  • Tabebuia aurea flowering for a second time this year. June 28, 2015. Boca Raton, FL.

    Tabebuias flower more than once

    By / June 28, 2015

    After over four years in our “new” house I’m still learning things. This morning I noticed that our Tabebuia tree out front is flowering for a second time this year. It had a reasonably good flowering season back in April, and here it is at the end of June: I hadn’t seen that before. Who… Read more

  • Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole) nectaring on Spanish Needles. Boca Raton, FL, May 10, 2015.

    Depth of field redux

    By / May 25, 2015

    A couple of years ago as I was just starting out in macro photography I experimented a little bit with depth of field using a beautiful male Citrine Forktail damselfly. Since then I’ve switched to a new macro lens and taken a lot more photos, but not much has changed. I still love how depth of… Read more

  • Cheesy-toes (Stylosantha hamata) providing a nectar meal for a Dainty Sulphur butterfly (Nathalis iole). Boca Raton, FL, May 7, 2015.

    Diverse lawns in south Florida

    By / May 22, 2015

    Earlier this spring I started reading yet another book on gardening in south Florida. This one, by James Kushlan, with photos by Kirsten Hines, is called Attracting Birds to South Florida Gardens. It came out last fall from the University Press of Florida. I didn’t order it at first, because I already have tons of… Read more

  • Detail of caterpillar removal.

    Fiddlewood flowers and true garden pests

    By / May 21, 2015

    Gardeners who plan their gardens for wildlife often see that planning rewarded. The thing is, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether that reward is, as the computer programmers say, a feature or a bug.  That is, we plant the plants we do because we’re interested in more than just the way the garden looks to us; we… Read more

  • Pink Purslane (Portulaca pilosa. Boca Raton, FL, May 14, 2015.

    New backyard plant: Portulaca pilosa

    By / May 20, 2015

    I didn’t plant this pretty little weed, known variously as pink purslane, kiss-me-quick, or pigweed, but I’m glad to see it volunteering in my yard. Pink Purslane, known to horticulturists as Portulaca pilosa, is a low-growing plant with succulent leaves (succulent in both the technical and culinary senses) and pretty little pink flowers (although if you plan… Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae). Boca Raton, FL, May 8, 2015.

    Gulf Fritillary

    By / May 19, 2015

    The Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) is one of the most common butterflies in my backyard, and it’s one of the most impressive as well. Large and brightly colored, it’s attracted to the nectar provided by the abundant flowers of the butterfly sage (Cordia globosa) that I have growing in several places, as well as to… Read more

  • Megachilid bee, subgenus Chelostomoides. Boca Raton, FL, May 13, 2015.

    New backyard insect: Megachilid bee sp., subgenus Chelostomoides

    By / May 13, 2015

    Being a backyard naturalist has its ups and downs. It’s fun to get to know your little corner of the earth well enough to know when something new (to you, if not to science) appears there. Lately I’ve been noticing how many different species of bees there are. Of course the most common bee in… Read more

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