Saturday, January 8, 2011

Indoor Livestock in South Florida

It started on a visit to my Godmother, Kathie and her husband Larry for the holidays.   We had a pleasant visit, and after Larry excused himself for some business he had to attend to, we went out to their little secret garden.

Behind the house in Wellington, there is a back yard full of Bonsai and fruit trees.  It is a compact space that has Tangerine and Orange trees as well as some other beautiful plants.  They seem to have the same idea that I do, you can have beauty in your yard but you should be able to grow something that bares fruit even if you don't get a chance to have any of it.

That Tangerine tree had on the order of 100 fruits this season, and I came home with a shoebox full of them. 

I also came home with some plant cuttings.

My yard is quite full, but every time I get a cutting from someone I care about I am able to look at the plants and think of them fondly.  Remembering the times that I had when I got the cuttings that are now a tree is a nice way to remember your good times.

I have in the back yard a Trumpet Flower tree that has salmon flowers on it.  Nice plant but after reading the fear mongering that the local news paper said about how they're poisonous, I'm afraid to go near it.  Many tropical plants have the same problem, they look beautiful but need to be handled with care.

The Trumpet Flower didn't like the last cold snap and died back, and it died back last year as well.  If it makes it to next season I will be surprised.

Coming home with three plumeria cuttings as well as an unidentified cutting that was in the way of the walkway meant that I had to root the things.  In the two weeks, the unidentified cutting lost all its leaves and almost all of its green so I am afraid it will end up in the trash bin.  

Of the three plumeria cuttings, one has a leaf growing from it and the other two seem to be alive but unhappy. 

All of these are in water as well as some hybrid coleus.  I have a row of jars all three of which are rooting plants.  As the natural process of shedding extra leaves goes on, the water turns into a pea soup and has to be changed.

This is where the livestock comes in.  You see, this being Winter in South Florida, I've taken advantage of the cool breezes blowing through the house.  The last front that came through put us on the Northern side of the winds.  The wind isn't coming from the ocean like it does in the Summer, and the land breeze is keeping us up to about 5 degrees F warmer than Key West.  The weather is backwards.  Metro Broward county is warmer than that of Metro Dade for some reason, and I suspect that is the water. 

All of that water that surrounds us in the Everglades breed Mosquitoes.  The little things are everywhere that aren't sprayed.  They did spray here a while back, but of course that never gets them all. 

Unless your house is very new, your screens may be missing or have holes in them.  All it takes is for one female to find a tablespoon of water with a little bit of plant material in it, and you will breed bugs.

This morning we have killed six mosquitoes.  The usual trick is to have a copper penny in the bottom of the pots and I missed the ones with the plumeria.  So of course I emptied all the wrigglers into the sink, added a penny and started swatting mosquitoes.

(Make that 7, the little blood suckers are coming out of hiding)

So today when the neighbor stops mowing the lawn, I will open the windows and hope that they all end up in the back yard.  Wind blowing from the front of the house to the back will keep the little blighters banging their bug brains against the windows and hopefully they'll just run out of steam.

Until then remember the helpful hint - copper bottomed plant pots or put pennies in the bottom of all of your "rooting pots" or else you will end up like I did.  I've got this big welt on the right knee and now I know where they came from!

Ok, those cuttings are getting planted TODAY!

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