How I Got Started

I started Butterfly gardening many years ago. My yard has been a progression over the years, and has made many transformations. Twenty years ago I experienced Hurricane Andrew. My yard and house were destroyed. We decided not to replace the pool screening and open up the backyard and put in some landscaping. That was the official beginning of my love for gardening in South Florida. I added a beautiful water garden years ago, and have been adding host and larvae plants for pollinators, mostly for the butterfly, for as many years as I can remember. I had my yard certified as a Natural Habitat, through the National Wildlife Foundation. To have a natural habitat you need to provide and meet certain requirements: 1. Provide a food source, 2. Provide a water source, 3. Cover, 4. A place to raise young. I try not to use any pesticides in my yard. I vermicompost and recycle as many of my food scraps as possible. If I had more land I would have a huge compost bin to recycle all my yard cuttings. Basically, I try to lessen my carbon footprint on this earth. In my own little world or backyard I try to provide an ecosystem in my water garden, provide birdbaths, birdfeeders, hummingbird nectar sources, feeders, puddling areas, host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and other pollinators. I am hoping to raise everyone’s awareness of the importance of saving our Butterflies, Blooms & Bees. Without them our world and food source will be in trouble. I hope you all enjoy my journey. I am not a Master Gardener, or Master Beekeeper, an Entomologist, or Journalists. I am simply a Backyard Gardener who is trying to lessen her Carbon Footprint of this Earth.

I hope you enjoy my blogs.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Holy Moly that’s a lot of Mulch!

The last several weeks I have been all consumed with the yard. I was interviewing someone new to mow the lawn, hoping that they may do a better job than my last yard crew. He was actually recommended by my husband’s business partner. He hooked me up immediately with some fresh mulch from the guys that are responsible for keeping the electrical lines free from tree branches. This was awesome! I have been trying to find free mulch for my yard for several years. I know that Dade County does give away mulch but I have never been able to find out the details. When the guys pulled up in the truck and dumped all that mulch, all I could says was “Holy Moly!” This is unbelievable; there must have been at least 4-6 yards of mulch being dumped in my driveway! How am I going to be able to spread all that mulch throughout my yard all by myself? I managed to spread one of the smaller heaps but then I realized that although I was physically able to do this, it would just take me too long and I would be too exhausted to be able to complete this task alone. So I sent my husband to Home Depot and he brought home two men to help me. Unfortunately, there are always men outside Home Depot looking for work. We fed them and for a decent price they helped me spread all the mulch around the yard. The task went much faster with help.

While I was helping them spread the mulch behind the bee hives, I was chased down by one of my bees. It was determined to sting me and got stuck in my hair. Usually I am able to walk fast enough and they will give up, but this one was persistent, and did sting me in the hairline. I was freaking out, because I wasn’t sure if it was one bee or several. I fell and scraped up my knees. I am fine, no anaphylactic reaction, just a little shaken up. I did get the epi pen out immediately but I didn’t need it. My face and cheek and eye are a little swollen, but I do think that the allergy shots are helping. I’m still not up to maintenance level yet because the local reactions can still be pretty severe. I posted a picture on FB and a friend that was actually in my beekeeping class that I took in Albuquerque made me laugh because she said, “I think Les told us that beekeeping and gardening were serene activities.” She said that this falls under the category of “combat gardening.” I think she is right!!

All that mulch in my driveway was just about enough for my entire yard. Hard to believe! I have just enough (I hope) to do around the bee hives. After getting stung I decided to save this for another day when I could suit up properly, smoke the hives, and be properly protected in case they wanted to try to sting me again.

Since this is supposed to be a gardening blog, I just wanted to touch on the importance of good mulch in the garden. This mulch was fresh and still green. You could feel the heat coming from the compost pile. It was from local trees so there was still a lot of green material, but the bark was chopped up into really nice pieces that will decompose slowly over months. Here is a link to a site that talks about the benefits of mulch. I hate the dyed red mulch and I would never use this in my garden. I am so glad to have been given such beautiful sustainable mulch to use in my garden.

Let’s hope when I mulch around the bee hives it goes smoothly without incident!
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