Garden Photos forum: City Garden in the Yucatan

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Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
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extranjera
Feb 24, 2013 6:35 PM CST
I thought I'd start a thread to put some of the things I have growing here in my small city garden. I've got many terraces and a roof to grow things on as well. I used to have more sun in the back garden but the banyan tree on a neighbor's wall and some other trees in the yards around me have grown a lot and now... I have a lot less full sun. I still have areas that get half a day of sun and others that unfortunately get full sun only in the summer. That's something I have not really found a solution for, whether to plant shade loving plants that burn and look awful in the summer or sun loving plants that fade and eventually die in the winter. Having tried to keep the sun lovers alive through 3 winters and not having a lot of success, I'm now starting to plant shade lovers and trying to give them shade in the summer.

Some of the shade is my own doing, I planted some tall bamboo when we moved in to block the view of a hotel on the block behind us. It is almost 40' tall now, it does block the hotel view. I also put 3 fishtail palms in a bed near an old well that we now use for rain runoff. I think the roots have found the well as they have grown really fast and really tall. Here's a pic of that corner of the garden.

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I'm pretty sure that the roots from the bamboo have filled the bed to the left of it and that is part of the reason the ginger and heliconia that was in there is so pitiful. Partly it is that they no longer get sun, but since I tried to dig a bit I've discovered that the whole bed is full of fine matted roots, must be the bamboo. I'm getting some young, strong backs in this coming week to dig out those beds, perhaps put some plastic between them and the bamboo and refill it with new dirt.

What is blooming now? The Pata de Cabra (Bauhinia divaricata), native to this area, is covered in blooms. I dug this one up on my friend's land near Uxmal, I've pruned it so that it is a high arching open bush rather than a shrub. You can see the whole plant below and to the right of the bamboo in the pic above.

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I spotted these blooms deep inside the heavy growth of the heliconia the other day.


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Today we got in there and cut down most of the heliconia branches. It's something we have to do every year anyway and I like to do it when they are blooming so I can see the blooms. It made a huge pile of long leaves and took quite awhile. The cats all appeared while we were cutting up the pieces, they were a lot of help!

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It's a lot more open now, I can see all the blooms.


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A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
[Last edited by extranjera - Feb 24, 2013 6:44 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #364009 (1)
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
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Bubbles
Feb 24, 2013 7:31 PM CST
OOOOhhh! Those Heliconias are gorgeous. Love the Bauhinia too!
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
Feb 25, 2013 1:25 AM CST
I agree I tip my hat to you. Heliconia's hunt has started.
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
extranjera
Mar 31, 2013 3:35 PM CST
Back in February I thought my ground orchid was toast. The cats had laid on it and flattened all the cigars, don't know the real name for that part of them but they look like big stogies. I was bummed, I really thought there was no way it would come back.

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In early March I noticed that there were long bloom stalks coming up from that area and new growth as well. Hurray! Now it is blooming, there are 2 long stalks of blooms, and it looks like a few more are growing.


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A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
Image
Bubbles
Mar 31, 2013 3:40 PM CST
Hope you're going to add those to the data base! I need to find a cat to lay on some of my plants! Whistling
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
extranjera
Mar 31, 2013 4:43 PM CST
Oh, I can loan you a couple of really expert plant laying cats. They are also good at plant nibbling and bark shredding while sharpening their claws. Rolling on the floor laughing I think their main occupation is finding new, wonderful and destructive places to sleep. Other than that, they while away some time just knocking over pots and digging in the dirt. I won't mention their bathroom habits no matter how many spotlessly clean litter boxes they have. It's a good thing they look so cute while doing all this and that they have me trained to think they are worth it.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
Forum moderator Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Master Gardener: Texas
Region: Texas Tropicals Plumerias Ferns Greenhouse Garden Art
Image
Bubbles
Mar 31, 2013 8:31 PM CST
Too funny! Can't have cat anyway. We have coyotes that think cats are delicious. Thumbs down We have to warn new neighbors to keep cats inside. Some don't listen and their cats go missing.
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
Mar 31, 2013 8:36 PM CST
Shrug! One mans food is another mans poison. You are most welcome to take all the feline creatures you want from here.
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
extranjera
May 10, 2013 1:38 PM CST
Oh Arif, how can anyone not appreciate an animal that can look soooo comfortable. I wish I could relax like this.
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I noticed a bloom is forming on my decorative banana, here it is called musa mexicana. The bloom will be a light violet.

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This Acalypha wilkesiana is blooming, over the next few weeks the blooms will turn a darker red. I love the patterns of the leaves, this is a plant that just makes me happy whenever I see it.
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My pineapple has been growing for what seems like 2 years, I don't think I will bother with this again. It's still really puny and may need another year!

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Why bother when there are sweet beauties like these on every corner.

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A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
extranjera
May 10, 2013 2:01 PM CST
Yesterday I discovered part of my jasmine had been stripped of leaves and I knew the Grumbling leafcutter ants had returned. So, last night we went out with the flashlight and found them. They had also moved across the yard to a basket that was full of stuff I'd trimmed from the garden and they were cutting that up and hauling it away as well. That would be fine if they weren't also back to removing all the leaves from the jasmine. We put out bait and they eagerly started hauling that home too. It usually takes a few days and several additions of bait before they disappear. The bait poisons the fungus they grow in their nest for food, the colony dies when the fungus dies. This group were coming from an empty house that backs onto my garden. They can strip my entire garden in a few nights if I don't spot them soon enough. I've even had them go out into the pond on the lily pads and eat their way back to the edge.

See the bare stems at the top of the photo? A few more days and my entire garden would look like that.



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A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
May 10, 2013 8:17 PM CST
Jonna does pineapple grow there, what is the humidity like? Your garden is doing well Thumbs up . We have ants but no leaf cutter ants that I know off, these ants carry their cows which they milk for nectar unto my plants to feed which reminds me that I should spray my roses and jasmines. They have even started a cattle farm on my vinca?
My problem is snails and slugs but this year I am not planting any seasonal flowers so the snails have no space to hide. Due to lack of water at the most crucial time of the year I am changing over to succulents both, soft and hard. I tip my hat to you. .
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
extranjera
May 10, 2013 11:19 PM CST
Yes, pineapples are grown commercially in the area to the south of the city. However, those in the picture and the ones that are all over now are from the state of Tabasco west of us. It is hotter and more humid there and that is what makes pineapples really sweet so everyone is happy that the Tabascan piñas are in season. The ones grown here will be ripe a little later after more heat. Our humidity is generally high, lower in the winter but at this time of year it is building up. The seasonal rains start sometime in June and as that time approaches it gets more and more humid. It was hot the last couple of days, around 40°c (over 104°f) but the humidity is still around 60%, it will go a lot higher. I spent much of the day in the pool and working on the garden, easy to stay cool that way.

Here's a link about leafcutter ants, they are voracious. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leafcutter_ant We also have about a dozen other kinds of ants and they also farm the aphids and scale. I'm not a fan of ants, and that's as mild as I can say it.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
[Last edited by extranjera - May 10, 2013 11:21 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #404952 (12)
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
May 11, 2013 12:53 AM CST
Hilarious! Ants,I normally ignore them accept when they shift house to my indoor pots or start farming. These ants carry their cows on their backs and soon there is a breakout in some part or the other at the same time they are natures scavengers. I normally use high pressure water to knock them off, once on the ground then they are eaten up by other insects. Maybe other ants also. We have quite a collection miniature, medium, large and jumbo. Black or red fire ants, take your pick but anyway once you knock aphids down they are fair game for other ants away from their protectors. No leaf cutters.
We are not 40c yet, you have a head start due to milder winters but by next Sunday we will be over 40c Shrug! . Humidity here were I live 20% but South next to the sea conditions match yours but we will soon be overtaking you all. We don't have the advantage of a evening cool sea breeze in lieu of which we have dust storms which have already started.
Jonna one problem, if this complete arid stretch spreading over Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India does not heat up beyond 45c we will have weak monsoons that year. If it goes beyond then we will have good heavy monsoons. Monsoon activity when I last checked has started in the area between Australia and Indonesia and once we start heating then the air rises up and creates a low pressure area underneath which in turn has a suction effect on the Monsoons. Giant heat engine and the first heart beat has not started as yet. Smiling
Sorry about that lecture. Established order and all. Rolling on the floor laughing
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
extranjera
May 11, 2013 10:48 AM CST
I am interested in the mechanics of the monsoon season, I will have to do some research on how they function here. Drought is the big fear for us, it may be what caused the Maya empire to fade and it still has a great effect on current lives. Normally we get most of our rain in the summer monsoons and very little the rest of the year. If summer rain is light, the underground rivers and water tables lower and crops fail. This winter it rained more than usual and hopefully that does not mean less rain in the summer. If high heat in the spring is what brings the rains then that is another reason to welcome it. Truthfully, I don't mind it so much although for the first time since I have lived here I have spent several nights sleeping with AC. I blamed it on the suddenness of the onset of heat this year, normally it builds more slowly.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
May 11, 2013 9:08 PM CST
Hilarious! Well if you got the suddenness of heat, we are on the other foot. We should be able to fry an egg in this month but today it is 19c Confused still clouds coming in from the West. We are also dependent on Monsoons rain for our rainy season crops, plus the underground aquifers, plus electricity generation, there are a lot of good pluses to a Good heavy Monsoons rain and for that, we need the heat. Extra rain in winters is Godsend if it is at the correct time. Leads to a bumper wheat crop with good fat grains while lack of moisture gives you grains which you can easily blow away. More chaff then meat. Maybe your Monsoons are also dependent on the Mexican land mass and much to the North of it heating up, creating a low pressure to suck in the clouds. Note what happens this year, maybe heavier then normal rains due to sudden onset of heat.
You can afford the luxury of AC while we are gratefulll if we can make a fan rotate on a UPS Grumbling . Smiling We(I) retreat underground to a huge basement, remains between 26 c and 28c all year round. Even my computers due to overheating end up down there.
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Calin
Weston-super-mare UK (Zone 7b)
Bulbs Lilies Plant and/or Seed Trader
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fixpix
May 17, 2013 12:15 AM CST
Nice garden and pics Jonna.
I love Heliconias. I got acquainted with this plant while in Taiwan and Thailand.
I just loved it.
That H. rostrata I found over there was just gorgeous.
Too bad I can't grow it here.
Name: Jonna
Mérida, Yucatán, México (Zone 13a)
Garden Procrastinator The WITWIT Badge Region: Mexico I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Ponds Tropicals
Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plumerias Plays in the sandbox Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
extranjera
May 17, 2013 10:08 PM CST
They are beautiful but they take up a lot of room. I'm starting to reduce them in my rather small garden. Partly because surrounding trees are not giving me as much space with full sun (they need the sun) and partly because they are untidy in small spaces. They fall over and while they have nice tropical greenery, I'm not short of that and having to cut the fallen soldiers all the time is a pain. When they are in a large area with boundaries and not a path next to them, they are gorgeous. I just don't have the space. I had a lot of grandiose ideas when I started this garden and after a few years I'm starting to scale back a bit.
A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
May 18, 2013 6:57 AM CST
Hurray! Crossed 41c.
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
May 20, 2013 6:09 AM CST
I tip my hat to you. 43c today.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
May 20, 2013 6:19 AM CST
Ju8st checked out these gardens.What an exotic spot.Soooo different from the Northeast US.
Great photos.

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