Saturday, March 31, 2007

Venetian Pool

This public pool started as a quarry. Rock homes all around the neighborhood took their rock from this hole in the ground. The city founder Merrick made a pool of monumental proportions out of this hole. Pictures of the pool were sent around the world to advertise our city. In the 20's Coral Gables was better known in Europe then it was in the USA. I learned to swim in this pool.

Friday, March 30, 2007

C. skinneri 'Danaes' AM/AOS

Spring starts differently in the tropics. We have flowers blooming 24/7/365. Sometimes we forget that its' spring. I know when spring is here. I just look in the garden and when the C. skinneris are in bloom, it's spring.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Talipot palm

This palm might have the largest leaf of any plant. It is rare in south Florida. This year was warm enough that it grew vigorously all winter long (it stops growing when the soil temperature drops below 60 degrees. This particular palm is 20 years old and just starting to speed up its growth. It takes 40 to 70 years to bloom and then it dies. But it will produce up to 2,000 pounds of seed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The family home

This was my parents house. It's only a mile south of are present home. I just met the present owner of of the house and he inquired if I had any early picture of the house. This picture was taken about 1943. The empty block to the right looked like the Everglades. As a youngster I could walk 10 feet into that untouched land and be in the middle of a jungle. Things have changed. Can anyone guess the price of the house in 1940 and what the present owner considers would be a fair price today?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Old Spanish

This house is typical of the architecture in early Coral Gables. This house faces the golf course and is a higher end home from the 1920's The majority of our street names can be found on a map of Spain. My parents lived on Escobar, Cardina and Palmerito (one house on two corners).

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tecomanthe hilli

This vine rambles all over the large oak in our yard. But getting a picture is not easy when your pointing up to the sky. When the sky is dull the flowers are also dull.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The climbing tree

This ficus tree is one of the best climbing trees that we have in the neighborhood. It is one of the banyan trees. It has multiple trunks, all but one started as an aerial root. It has been through many hurricanes and occasionally loses a large branch but the many trunks keep it upright.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Coral Way

Sorry for the digression. Now we are back in Merrick's neighborhood. Our street is lined with these beautiful oaks. It's surprising how many times that I see a tourist park their car and take a picture like this. Yes it's a Way, not a St., Ave., Ct., Tr., or Blvd.

Friday, March 23, 2007

What is an Ae Ae?

The Ae Ae is a variegated banana and the most coveted banana variety in the world. At one time only Hawaiian royalty were allowed to eat the fruit. I have grown this banana for over 40 years. Unfortunately very few people that received one of my banana plants were able to grow it for more one year. To see more pictures go to my site:
Even more interesting is a site (
This gives you a chance to win one

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Platycerium bifurcatum

I took a few pictures on my way home from the farmers market, Our street is lined with very large Oaks. This elk horn fern sprouted on one of these trees. We have been told that they are invasive (see what the Australian governments has to say). Invasive or not it is still a very pretty fern.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sobralia sp4

Now for something different. My yard looks like spring every day of the year. This orchid has bloomed for the last six weeks, The flower lasts only one day but the plant sends up new flowers every few days. My problem with this plant is getting the correct name. The genus is full of mistakes or unknowns. My plant doesn't have a full name, but if you look at a group of flowers from this one plant you would think that the flowers are not related. to see the variations go to: Scroll down the page and see the variations in this flower.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The father of our city

This statue of George Merrick is new. The ladies of the local garden club donated it to the city this past year. The artist was carefully selected and three ladies visited him in Mississippi at least two times to OK the progress of the statue. They thought the rolled up blue prints were just fine. Unfortunately when driving on the south side one might not think of blue prints. I have been sent pictures of other statues with the same problem. The city commission is considering how to remove the blue prints.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Farmers Market and City Hall

Our city hall looks like a copy from a building in Europe. It is a copy of a building in Philadelphia. For the last week I have been posting pictures that I took as we walked to the farmers market (five blocks due east from our house). The market is active from January through March, because our local produce is ripe in the winter. I have a few more pictures of the walk home.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Courtyard Garden

This little pocket garden is a 12 by 12 foot space at the front door of a condominium. Yesterdays bougainvillea is part of this condo. There are 6 or 8 of these little gardens. Many are designed by landscapers and are very nice, but this one has passion.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


This morning we walked up to the green market. The market is held on Saturday, January through March, around city hall. On our way we saw this bougainvillea spilling over a wall. The little cream colored flowers are hidden between three colorful bracts (petaloids). In the cool dry season the bracts can last for a month or two. But if we have a few days of rain and little sun the bracts fall, ending the show.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wall of The George Merrick Home

The house stands alone on a small triangular block and it is protected by a wall, not the average wall. The water feature in the wall reminds me of the fountains and ponds all over the city. Yesterday and today I used a jpg that is 1200 pixels across. When you open the picture it will fill the screen with out scrolling. I find that the larger picture tells a better story. I edit my pictures in Gimp, an open source answer to Photoshop. Do any of you use Gimp?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Merricks carriage house

Thirty years ago the carriage house apartment was rented and the renter had a macaw and two toucans. My daughter (5 years old at the time) and I would walk over to see the birds. I can still see the two of us sitting on the grass looking up at the birds. I also remember the noise of those birds that we could hear in our yard a block away.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The George Merrick Home

Merricks home is the only home on a small triangular block. It is walled and hedged to the point that it is hard to picture its beauty. The original house was a piece of art. But a major flaw was the bedrooms were on the second floor that had only one stairwell and it was on the outside in the patio. I guess Merrick was telling prospective buyers in Coral Gables that the weather was always good and dry.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Coral Way

Coral Gables Merrick House and Poinciana Place are on Coral Way where the old oaks shade the street. This picture was taken six years ago with my old aim and click digital camera and it's not too crisp. After walking my dogs I hurried back to the front yard for this picture. The sun beams where like this for at least 15 minutes. It's easier capturing a spider web lite up my the morning sun.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Poinciana Place

This is the honeymoon cottage that George Merrick built for his wife. They used the house for 2 or 3 years before they built their large home on the golf course. Poinciana Place was built as a one bedroom and one bath house. The major value of this home is the magnificent front porch with its view of the old oak trees that line the street.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Coral Gables Merrick House

This is the family home of our cities founder, George Merrick. His father had a grove of grapefruit, avocado and guava. When George Merrick was designing the city he first thought that he would call it Guavonia. Fortunately that did not happen. The name Coral Gables refers to the coral color of the gables on this house.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys)
I never thought that I would ever have a blog. I was busy with three web sites, but missed feedback from the visitors. This blog sounds perfect for promoting my town and my horticulture. Before I started this blog I went out and took a few pics, some of my garden and some of our block. We live next to the honeymoon cottage of of cities founder. Coral Gables is an easy place to fill up your camera. The new pictures have to be edited. Todays picture is from one of my sites.