Thursday, May 31, 2007

Broughtonia sanguinea alba

The orchid is from Jamaica and is normally red. It can grow in the mangroves near the water. The white form is very rare in the wild. My plant is a product of four generations and each time the best is used for the next generation. You would never find one like mine in the woods. By improving a species, the pressure is off the species left in the woods. It would be like wanting a German Shepard dog, but not a wolf. The dogs are all one specie as are the
Bro. sanguinea.
My plant is growing on a palm tree with nothing more then a little fertilizer sprayed its way. Here are some more pictures of the Broughtonias.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

This morning I drove around Coral Gables looking for Stars and Strips. There were plenty of them in my city, now quite and waiting to celebrate Memorial Day. But when I returned home I realized that the flag in my own garden was for me the most important. In my heart I honor all that went before me, not just heroes. I could write much more but the flag says it all.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Andrew vs a tree

Hurricane Andrew was a most destructive hurricane in south Florida. It blasted its way across south Florida on August 24, 1992. Fairchild Garden sustained major damage. This tree was leveled by the wind. All that was left was the stump. That stump produced three sprouts. Then the middle of the stump rotted away and left three trees with very peculiar trunks.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Amorphophallus peanafolia

This is a close relative of Amorphophallus titanium, the so called Mr Stinky. Fairchild Garden gets the media out when ever the titanium is in bloom. The flower is 5 to 6 feet tall. You can see that flower here. This year I have 3 flowers blooming, each two days apart. Last year they bloomed all on the same day making it impossible to set seed. When the flower opens at dusk it's a female and 24 hours later it's a male. Thus a single flower will not set seed. I am trying to set seed this season. The first flower lost most of the pollen to rain. The second flower had a lot of pollen that was easy to harvest. Now I hope to fertilize the final flower this evening. You can see the the pollen here. The picture at the bottom of the page shows the golden pollen and the white female flowers that are none receptive. When the flower first opens it produces a very unpleasant odor that attract flies. At this point the plant is producing heat (if I put my hand near it I can feel the heat). I don't know any other flower that can produce heat.

Friday, May 25, 2007

What is it?

I found this in the garden the other day. In fact I found two more. Can any viewer tell me what it is? It's close relative has been on the front page of many important news papers.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New construction

In Coral Gables if you design your new building with a Spanish flare you will receive zoning perks, including more square footage for your building. This is most often used with high rise buildings. This way our city keeps the Spanish look.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More Chihuly eye candy

Chihuly glass art is just plain joy. When walking through Fairchild garden it's hard to figure out were to focus your eyes. The plants are fantastic and the Chihuly glass is pure magic. If you haven't seen the display of Chihuly at Fairchild go there and enjoy the beauty. See it enlarged!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ae Ae banana

I have grown this banana for over 40 years. It is probably the most coveted plant that I grow. I have given or sold pups (small new growths of the banana plant), for the all that time. At the presant I know of only one commercial grower and one public garden that still has it alive. This stalk of fruit is in a contest. Members of are trying to guess when the fruit is ready to eat. The person that correctly answers will win a division of the plant. I have seen the Ae Ae for sale at $100 for a small one to $1000 for a mature plant. People that have guessed a day will be invited to come for a tasting party. Chick here to see more pictures of my Ae Ae bananas.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


This south Florida native tree is sometimes called the sunburn tree. The bark is red and peals off as thou it had a sun burn. Some of the trees are a little more silver, but the best are the red ones. Be sure to enlarge the picture.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Red Coleus

Coral Gables has a large budget for the beautification of our city. Last winter the flower beds were mostly annual begonias and now for summer we have coleus. This red form is particularly nice.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Epi. randii

When I started to grow orchids this plant was a color form of Epi. purpuratum. But through the years the taxonomists keep changing the name. The color form of my plant is 'randii' and the genus just keeps changing every few years, so I use the original name. This orchid grows in a pot that hangs in a mango tree. Every so often I fertilizer it, but most of the time it's on it's own.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What kind of a building could this be?

This city owned building was opened last year. It will take 20 years to show a profit. Here is another picture of that building.
The building is a parking garage, but it does look like a museum.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gatsby's Horse Stable

This apartment complex with stores on the first floor has a lease from the city to use public property. About 15 years ago the block was used as a city bus terminal. But I remember when it was Gatsby's Horse Stable in the 40's. It's in the middle of our town. I could stop and watch the horses in the paddock and then see them all around the city, even in front of our house. Back then traffic was not a problem. Most of the time they were in the parkways and cleaning up after them was not an issue.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


The name of this waterlily is FireFox and it doesn't care a bit if you think that FireFox is something else. We drove to Palm City, about 3 hours north of Miami to buy Lotus and Victoria waterlilies for a public garden in Miami. The grower had FireFox for sale and it's my next waterlily. And as for computers I use Sea Monkey on one Linux dirsto and FireFox on the other.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ponce De Leon Blvd.

This is the north south street that intersects Miracle Mile. Before 1950, this was our main street with two movie houses, two grocery stores, three pharmacies and Coral Gables Elementary School. Now only the my school remains. But like Miracle Mile it has many restaurants. As I look around the word upscale pops up more often then I would care to see.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Miracle Mile

This is our main street. It was developed in the early 50's with up scale shops. In the last ten years many shoe, bridal and clothing shops have given way to high end restaurants. Greater Miami comes to Coral Gables to eat and mothers will fill them up today. Starbucks is on the left, city hall is at the end of the street and the high rise condo behind is the home of Jeb Bush (former governor of Florida).

Saturday, May 12, 2007


The coffee house is in the heart of Coral Gables at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Miracle Mile. My picture was taken last Sunday around 8 AM. The Mile was empty except for the patrons at Starbucks. They seem to be open all of the time, at least all of the times that I drive by the place.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The local book store / Books and Books

We are lucky to have a Ma and Pa book store. They can compete with the super big national stores. The owner is active in our community and a friend of many in the area.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Combretium sp.

This specie is one of the most spectacular of the Combretiums. Fairchild Gardens grows this rambler as a large shrub. If it was not regularly trimmed it would grow all over the garden. In a jungle that might be nice, but in a garden it must be controlled.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


This building, in the center of the business area, is covered with a ficus vine. It takes constant care. It must be trimmed or it would look like Sleeping Beauty's castle.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Coral Gables Museum

In the early 30's the W.P.A. built this combination Police station and Fire station About 30 years ago the city built a new larger facility and this building was used for the over flow from the city hall and some non for profits. Now it is the city museum. Check here to see the entire building.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Cordyline terminalis

This lilly relative was first called Red dracaena and is native to India, Malaysia and Polynesia. There are many varieties of this specie in the market place. This one looks like it's on steroids. Many years ago a superior variety was sold with the name of Cordyline terminalis 'Ti'. It was so popular that all dracaena soon were called Ti dracaenas. I don't know the name of this clone, but it is fantastic.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

The Miracle Theater

This miracle was built in 1949 as a movie theater (the third one in Coral Gables). We lost some beautiful architecture when the first two were torn down 15 to 20 years ago. When the Miracle closed as a movie theater a local thespian group took over. It is now a professional theatre called the Actors’ Playhouse.

A week ago a DP blog had a wikipedia link to their city. After seeing how the wikipedia handled that city I looked up Coral Gables. It was a nice surprise. But I was blown away when I saw the page of 'places of interest'. Of the seven pictures, I had posted six of them in the first two months of my blog, and here is the seventh picture.

Come to think of it maybe I might add the Merrick statue to the group of seven, but I wouldn't do it for profit and I do hope people have a sense of humor.


Saturday, May 5, 2007

Chihuly at Fairchild

Chihuly's glass has been all over the world. Only one venue has had it twice. Chihuly has come back to Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden. The reason is easy, he sold more glass in Coral Gables then any place that he has ever been. Last year I posted an album of Chihuly and keep it on line for one month, I am doing the same thing this year. Most of the glass is new this year. Come and see the entire show.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Another view

The Prado entrance is spectacular and one picture will not due it justice. For me it is like cherry blossoms, I want to see more. Photographers will linger and maybe a jogger, but it is usually empty. This shrine to beauty is thus a private joy. Share it with me.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

National Day of Prayer

This is my church and we observe the National Day of Prayer. Today there is a program at city hall to honor all of our city policemen that have died in the line of duty. I pray that we all can live in harmony with each other and the planet. That includes the ant that is crawling on my window sill.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Prado Entrance

This entrance is on the north west corner of the city. I will be showing more entrances of Coral Gables, but this is my favorite and I will also show more picture of this entrance. Wedding pictures are often staged around this entrance. I can take pictures freely but a commercial photographer must pay a permit.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A good Mayday to all

Mayday celebrates the renewal of life. In the tropics and near tropics we can celebrate the entire year. This red bougainvillea is one of the tropics most flamboyant flowers. The bougainvillea has many color forms but the red form seems to be the most popular. The white bougainvillea is not as popular but it has a place in the landscape.