Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nature lover's backyard in Miami

This week we are at my Dad's house in Palmetto Bay (the house where I grew up in Miami) remodeling his house to put on the market.  I took a break from crown moulding and walked out in the backyard with my dog Cyrus.  To my surprise there was so much wildlife everywhere!  There were Zebra butterflies, Julia's, Monarch's, Swallowtail's, Sulphur's and little Purplestreak butterflies.  Bluejay birds, Oriole's, Dove's, Hummingbird's and the elusive Bulbul birds.  I was so excited I ran inside to get my camera so I could blog some of these nature's wonders, lol :)  So here are some of the flora & fauna of Miami summer...

My right hand man, Cyrus, looking for lizards :)

Zebra Butterfly on the Firebush
Detail of Firebush, the flowers the butterflies like and berries the birds love to eat. 
The foreground is a native Lantana bush and the tall one in the background is the Firebush.  My Dad has about five of them in the backyard and they are all over 12 feet high, huge!
Lantana flowers the bees and butterflies absolutely love!

 The bottomside (above) and topside wings (below) of the Gulf Fritillary butterfly has such a stark difference of pattern, it almost look like different butterfly. :)

Baby Bluejay bird waiting in the Cassia tree to get some food from the parents. Peep, peep :)

 Chinese Fan palm with a pair of Monarch butterflies mating, oooh la la!

My Dad's papaya grove.  He absolutely loves to eat this variety, which doesn't have alot of seeds and are not as aromatic as some of the other ones.  Papaya's have many different health benefits aside from its beneficial vitamins & minerals.  Some of the many healthy properties they have are: beneficial enzymes to help break down the proteins of meat, low in cholesterol, anti-inflammatory effects in healing burns and arthritis, antioxidant for the skin, supports the immune system against infection, the seeds are used as a substitute for pepper and to prevent intestinal worms. Wow who knew all this from a humble papaya.

These sea-shell ginger plants have been here ever since I was a toddler.  I remember the distinct spicy sweet smell of them plant when you crush the leaves and/or break part of the plant. Very unique & beautiful plant to have!

This is a Spiral Ginger, the stem grows very long then starts to turn like a spiral.  It has these peachy pink bulbous blooms.  A very neat plant to have grow in between the other plants in your garden as a filler.  It it is not a stand alone plant since it can get a bit beat up looking depending on how dry the soil is and does die back when it gets too cold.

Lychee tree in our neighbor's yard, FULL OF YUMMY LYCHEE'S!!! Mango's too :))

Last night I ran inside holding this little thing, super excited to show my Dad & Joe. There were only a few in the backyard but its been years since we have seen any at all.  We call them Click-bugs!!!  When we were little, we would catch them all summer long.  As you can guess, catch & release was taught to us at an early age, so they always went unharmed.  When you hold these beetles, they will essentially click or snap their bodies to scare a predator into letting them go as one of their defense mechanisms.  They have these two spots on their back that glow green in the night.  They seemed to have disappeared after Hurricane Andrew for years until now.  So yea for nature making a come back!!!

This is a Shooting Star, Pseuderanthemum laxiflorum, that I relocated in a really cool coral rock garden on the north side of my Dad's patio.  Super cute plants that are very attractive in any garden.  Likes pruning to keep it a dense small shrub with purple flowers all year round.

Natal Plum flowers smell super sweet like a Gardenia.
When my parents bought the house in the early 60's, this Natal Plum was one of the original plants here on the property.  I think this plant is over 50 years old and by the grace of God survived Hurricane Andrew.

 Pool view

South Backyard view


  1. While looking online for ideas for my front yard I found your blog. That is such a shame what was undone to that gorgeous planter near the pool in your previous home. What a labor of love it must have been. If you want to come to my house and plant away, you are welcome any time!

    1. Hello, thanks for stopping by and your sentiments! Yes I know right, to each their own I guess lol. Well come to find out they sold the house about 2 years after they bought it, so hopefully the new owners will add to their own personal touches to the yard & make it beautiful again. It is such a lovely neighborhood with great neighbors, I do miss it so!

      Yes, sometimes we all need help in our gardens, hee hee, it would be great especially great if we had volunteer groups to weed people's yards lol. If you are looking for ideas, you can also check out my company's website for some past projects we have completed.

      Wishing you a great weekend & Happy Gardening!