• 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Sweat bee, Agapostemon splendens, Boca Raton, FL, May 1, 2015.

    Sweat Bees, or, spring is happening…

    By / May 1, 2015

    …and the bees are buzzing with excitement. I was out in the yard at lunchtime, as usual, and I noticed more than the usual activity around the flowerbeds in front. There were these little yellow blurs zipping from flower to flower in the Gaillardia. These are among the prettiest flowers in south Florida, although I… Read more

  • New backyard plant: Willow Bustic

    By / April 10, 2015

    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… Read more

  • Beach Creeper (Ernodea littoralis) flowers. Boca Raton, FL, March 28, 2015.

    New backyard plant: Beach Creeper

    By / April 8, 2015

    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… Read more

  • Jacaranda caerulea just leafing out. Boca Raton, FL, April 2, 2015.

    New backyard plant: Bahama Jacaranda

    By / April 4, 2015

    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… Read more

  • lantana_involucrata_inflorescence

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

    By / March 31, 2015

    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… Read more

  • Flower clusters of Button Sage (Lantana involucrata). Boca Raton, FL, March 29, 2015.

    New backyard plant: Button Sage

    By / March 29, 2015

    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… Read more

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