Monday, December 31, 2007

The French Village, But Big

The homes on the north side of the street are bigger then the ones on the south side, that I have posted before. The landscape is minimal and you can see the entire house. Many homes in Coral Gables hide behind lush vegetation.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The French Village Once More

The garden has a strange object. Click on the picture and see if you can tell me what it is.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Chinese Village

The owner of this home came out as I was taking this picture. Did she ever want to talk. She has lived in the house for 50 years and she looked it (I have lived in our house for 40 years and I look it). She did give me some interesting history. Her house was built in 1926, while all of the other Chinese houses where built in 1925. I said how nice, you own the new house on the block. The village was an attempt to get buyers to come to Florida. It worked.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The French Village

The two homes look like twins. The topiary looks fairly carried for and that's not the norm in a warm climate. The nursery people have found a plant that they can turn in to a topiary in three years. But most house owners don't keep these fast growers trimmed properly and they don't know how to fertilize them (the plants need special fertilize). While the one in the picture is well trimmed it need magnesium and iron. Most new comers want a landscape that looks mature as soon as it is installed. The concept of maturing a landscape doesn't exist in south Florida.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Christmas Orchid

The common name of the orchid is Christmas Orchid, it's formal name is C, percivilia 'Summit' FCC/AOS. C, percivilia is the botanical name for the specie from the jungle. 'Summit' is the clone name and FCC/AOS is an award of excellent. This flower opened on the 23rd of December and will last for a few weeks.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Morning

DJ is 2 years and 3 weeks old going on to 4. He helped in opening the presents, every one's presents. The joy of a child on Christmas is fleeting and an extra present for the adults. DJ opened all of the presents and we had to figure out who sent the present and who received the present.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Cookie Tree

Early in the morning we put the cookies on the tree. My Grandmother made these Springerle cookies then my mother and a few aunts made them. In my generation there were no females and I am the only one making them. But our daughter can make them. Click on the picture and you might be able to see Saint Gabriel and the bottom is Mary with baby. I didn't have time to get a better picture, but on the tree they look like ivory carvings.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Nativity at Our Church

This 2D nativity took a while for me to like it. The church is on a busy street and we share it with a lot of people. This is my church and I give you all my good greetings of love and peace. If you have a different faith or even no faith please let me greet you with love and peace.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Gifts Are Ready

No diamond pendant, no Rolex, no computer, just toys. This part of our Christmas is for the young. The gathering of family and friends, the food that has a history in the family, ahh that's what our Christmas is.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Tree is Ready

The only thing the tree lacks is the Christmas cookies. In Coral Gables it's not to good to put the cookies out early. The heat and humidity would ruin them in two or three days. When we used cranberry or popcorn chains it was for 2 to 3 weeks. But then we didn't eat the chains.

Friday, December 21, 2007

French Village

This theme home helped to sell houses in the early years of Coral Gables.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Christmas From China Town

This home is part of the Chinese village and is one of the theme villages in Coral Gables that was built in 1925. The theme goes through the inside of the house and the gardens.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Red stem Malabar Spinach

Yes it tastes just like spinach and the it's popular in the Indochina area. We did enjoy the taste but now it's producing so many seeds and hard to harvest.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My First Slideshow

I decided to bite the bullet and try to make a movie clip. Well it's really a slide show. The pictures are all from my garden during November 07. I saved it in two ways. First was a large file that I used to post it on YouTube and here on the blog. The other file has a much smaller file and it can be used in an email.
If you want see the pictures one by one go to my site:

At the end of the month this 'togofcoralgables' page will be removed. The site has only the present and last month. The clip in this blog will remain open. But your invited to go to my site and see what is current:

Monday, December 17, 2007

As Close as I Get to Snow

The Justicia gives us a patch of white on this cold morning. Today is the coldest day that we have had this season. Since we are near (6 miles) to the water our yard is probably a little warmer then the posted 50 degrees.

This white flake is a Christmas cactus.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lichtenstein Comes to Coral Gables

For the last two years Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has had a Chihuly show. Now it has a Lichtenstein show. Click to see the art and some flowers and a little bit of Chihuly.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden

This is the tallest tree in the garden. As it gets taller it becomes a bigger target for the next hurricane. It went through Andrew and Katrina and a few other lesser known storms. The Pop artist icon Roy Lichtenstein has a show at the garden. It's the first time ever in a world-class botanic garden. Fairchild also has glass artwork of Dale Chihuly in Tropics Conservatory. If it doesn't rain I will go over and take a few pictures.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Comes to Coral Gables

Last Saturday the city of Coral Gables invited us to a garden party.

Santa was there and so were the children. I wounder if the young ones realized that Santa was at a real home and not a mall or department store.

The quartet sang the whole afternoon. Sometimes they would go into the living room and sing with the pianist. It was nice to see Christmas as it should be.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Christmas Tree With Style

The home owner has built this tree every December. At least as long as I have been driving down there street. I don't remember it ever being damaged by the weather. On December 7 07 I posted a larger pointsettia tree.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another Old Spanish House

I have watched this house most of my life. You can peek around and you will not find a window facing the sidewalk. I knew the owners at one point, but I was never invited in. The windows must open to a central patio.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Sob is an orchid and the full name is Sobralia atropubescens. Believe me, Sob is the proper abbreviation for this orchid. This orchid grows in the ground and not in trees. I blooms off and on all winter but the individual flowers last only one day. My site has a page of Sobralias, just chick here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Its Getting To Be a Habit

A rather nice habit. Last year he did a nose dive into his birthday cake. He had never seen cake before but he didn't have the least problem getting used to it. This year is the second cake that he has seen. But he waited for his Dad to cut a piece and then he ate it with a fork. Just because he used a fork didn't mean that he kept his face clean. At the way he is going, next year he will cut the cake and serve it to use. I hope that I can keep my face clean.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Tree Trimmers From the City

These trimmers are removing the lower branches producing a taller and more stately tree. It may be pretty but in a hurricane it is likely the first tree to fall over. This work is being done on a very busy street. It took a while to take a picture without a car. If you click on the picture you will notice that the workers are watching me. The next picture that I took shows a large piece of timber falling.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Not a Natural Tree

This tree is normally a very large tree. I should be as wide as it is tall. But man has decided that the wires going from post to post are much more important then trees. If(when) we have a hurricane we need the wires. The answer might be put the line underground. No way! If the line is in the ground when the tree falls over, the roots would tear the lines apart. The lines above ground are easy to detect and fix, but think of the problem of finding something you can't see. The only answer is to remove the trees, I don't think so. We love our trees and we will have to pay for them.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Caroling Competition

This is the 21st year of the competition for the middle schools and high schools. Five days of caroling and then an evening of the winners. The poinsettia Christmas tree has 1,200 potted plants. This is part of the Junior Orange Bowl. Our city sponsors the program of 21 activities, mostly sports. This is the world's largest youth festival.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Dancing Lady

This Oncidium orchid has many species and hybrids that are called Dancing Lady. Most of them grow with ease in Coral Gables. I hang the pots in the trees and they do their thing.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

In The Neighborhood

This chateaux is two blocks away. While it looks out of place around all the old Spanish homes it is a beauty and well over a million dollars. It's a lot of house on very little land and has been for sale at least a year. The add in the newspaper claims a swimming pool. I've looked for the pool when I walked by and I have never figured out where there is space for one. I'm a lap swimmer and I think small pools should be left for waterlilies.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Old Spanish from the 20s

Houses that where built for $10,000 now sell for $500,000 or more. Over priced but still nice. I grew up with this type of home and to me it's beautiful.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ae Ae banana

I have two plants that are maturing their fruit one week apart. There are at least 20 hands of bananas. This last Saturday and Sunday I had 12 visitors to get some bananas. If anyone wants to try this banana let me know. This is only for people that can stop the house. I don't plan on mailing any fruit.
Both the fruit and the leaves are variegated (I count six different colors). If you want to see more pictures of the Ae Ae banana click here.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Geiger Tree (Cordia sebestena)

The close up shows the true beauty of the flowers. There are flowers on the tree all year long, but not many today.

The Cordia tree has become part of the Florida Key's history. Named after Captain John H. Geiger, a pirate who built his home in Key West, the name "Geiger tree" was likely inspired by Audubon's engraving of Captain Geiger's beautiful flowering Cordia tree with white-crowned pigeons sitting in a branch.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Bridge, is a Bridge, is a Bridge

A friend has a bridge over his garden pond. It will not get you very far, maybe just closer to a waterfall. But what it does for your eyes and your mind is superb. I am sure that the trolls gather there. Click here to see his garden(and he makes a living doing it).