Thursday, January 31, 2008


Viscaya Waterfront Promenade...


Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Viscaya Water Gardens...


Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Viscaya Secret Garden...


Monday, January 28, 2008


Viscaya Stone Barge ...


Sunday, January 27, 2008


Viscaya Gardens...


Saturday, January 26, 2008


It took me a week to recover from a HORRENDOUS trip to Los Angeles, California. I went to the Viscaya and took a series of photos to plug the days I was out of town. So these photos are not in sync with the dates, but they are of Miami. Here is a shot inside the Main house where photographs are not allowed.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane...

Well, I tried my best, but just couldn't help it! I am running out of time. Nothing I can do about it. So... there won't be my usual blogs for a few days. I'll catch up and repair this when I return on Wednesday, Jan 29... I am leaving my laptop behind so even if I want to blog from LA, where I'll be, I won't be able to... So, stay tuned! I'll be back!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Calliandra Tergemina

Calliandra is a genus of about 200 species of flowering plants in the family Fabaceae, subfamily Mimosoideae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of southern Asia, Africa and the Americas. We have plenty of them here in Miami. For some reason, it is quite hard to find detailed information about this plant on the internet. Its common names are Powderpuff and Fairy-Duster. I hope Tog will not come to tell me that this is the wrong name again.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dodge Island

A return to cruise ship row on Dodge Island to see if I can take some more photos. This is a shot of a Carnival cruise ship from a parking building far, far away where there are no security officers to yell at me. Go figure! This is where one sees the logistic support for these cruise ships, a small part of it is the fleet of heavy loading equipment to stock the ships with supplies. It's a huge and complex operation, and it's amazing to witness how well it is carried out. Like a clock work.

Logistic support

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

City Hall

The City of South Miami's City Hall on Sunset Drive, which is South West 72nd Street. The city was incorporated in 1927 and it is located adjacent to the South Miami public library.

South Miami

Monday, January 21, 2008


This is not a typical boat you see in Miami, it's too big! This boat is preparing to go deep sea fishing off the coast of emerald Biscayne. There are so many places you can go to with a boat like this... Bimini, the Bahamas, the Everglades, the Florida Keys, or just to hang around the Gulf Stream waiting for the fish to bite.

Blue Ocean

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Irish Luck

On a gray,wet and cool Sunday, I did not want to drive around Miami shooting pictures. Instead, I spent the time to improve my luck for the day, looking for a Four-leaf clover. No such luck. There is plenty of the regular, unlucky type in my back yard, most of them are flowering this time. Found none of the lucky type, I looked up some facts to make this worth your time:

Correction: Tog with this correction...

THIS IS NOT Clover (Trifolium), or trefoil, is a genus of about 300 species of plants in the pea family (Fabaceae.) The scientific name derives from the Latin tres, "three", and folium, "leaf", so called from the characteristic form of the leaf, which has three leaflets (trifoliate); hence the popular name trefoil. No wonder it's impossible to find a four leaf kind today. It would have been named Quadfolium then. Please don't look up that word on the internet, it's not what you think.

BUT IT IS Oxalis Articulata (Pink-sorrel) which is the largest genus in the wood sorrel family Oxalidaceae. Of the approximately 900 known species in the Oxalidaceae, 800 belong to Oxalis. Many of the species are known as Wood Sorrel or Woodsorrel.

The majority of species have three leaflets; in these species, the leaves are superficially similar to those of some clovers, though clovers differ in having the leaflets not in a whorl, and of unequal size with two smaller side leaflets and one larger central leaflet.

Thanks Tog!


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hidden Jewel

At the edge of exclusivity in Coconut Grove, at the CocoPlum circle is this hidden gem: a 1930's vintage house in the same state as when it was built, on a huge prime lot of real estate. The American flag can be seen proudly displayed on the balcony of the second floor. The surrounding flora is truly luxurious and typical of good old Miami.

1930's Gem

Friday, January 18, 2008

Still Building

Another new office building is popping up in South Dade and there seems to be no end to this trend in Miami despite the fact that talks about recession in the US are getting louder. The Palmetto Expressway North bound is in the foreground. The area immediately behind the Publix super market will be the site of a huge office condo complex named TowncenterOne whose ground breaking is imminent.

Non Stop Building

Thursday, January 17, 2008


A Ford classic ThunderBird. This one had a leaky brake but it was fixed. Still looking good after all these years.

Ford Classic

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Protogenous Hermaphrodite

Miami has so many varieties of flora that they can be used as diversion from cities and buildings and many others subjects for photography. Keeping a good balance is sometime difficult. Without having to leave my backyard, here is today's photo of an Anthurium, which most likely is a hybrid of A. Andreanum or A. Scherzerianum.

The bright red part is called a spathe, which is a showy modified bract. The flowers are small (about a few millimeters) that spiral around a fleshy spike called a spadix. They are protogenous, which means each flower begins as a female and later becomes the male counterpart. For this reason, early pollination can only be by cross pollination as the flowers on the same spadix are all female at the beginning.

In this photo, the female pistillate stage has recessed to the upper part of the spadix and the rest of the flowers in the lower part are males. The process begun from the base of the spadix and progressed up the axis so today's photo shows the male flowers starting from the base all carrying pollen. While they are female, the flowers secrete drops of stigmas awaiting pollen from a nearby male flower. Since I am not really familiar with how this really works, I can only guess if a female flower is impregnated by an insect or by wind (you can see lots of pollen fallen on the spathe,) she will be very lonely later on when surrounded by all the other male guys! Isn't nature wonderful?

Pollinate Me Not

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I always wanted to show this shrub but did not get a decent photo of its tiny flowers until today. This aromatic shrub (Aglaia Odorata) is a member of the Mahogany family (Meliaceae) and is known as Mock Lemon or Chinese perfume plant (Mei Sui Lan,) or Chinese rice flower. It flowers year round and the pinhead size tiny yellow flowers are delightfully fragrant. The flowers are used for scenting tea. This plant is priceless for me.

This flower is very famous in Vietnamese literature and mythology, having a rain with the same name in the months of September when the stars Vega and Altair, separated by the Milky Way, are visible in the Northern hemisphere ( the legend of Nguu Lang (Altair) and Chuc Nu (Vega.))

The organic extracts of the twigs and leaves of this Aglaia Odorata yield eight insecticidal derivatives, according to a scientific study in Phytochemistry, Vol. 51, issue 3, June 1999, pages 367-376. Wow! I didn't know that!

Hoa Ngau

Monday, January 14, 2008

Under the Bridge

Here is a view of the same old Miami Downtown from under the William M. Powell Bridge which is part of the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Miami Downtown

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lady's Slipper

Here is my favorite orchid among the thousands at my friend's orchid place in deep South Miami, Banjong Orchids. This is a Paphiopedilum, commonly known as a lady's slipper orchid. He (and Tog) gave me many paphs over the years. I was never able to flower them, not even once, so I gave up on this genus.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Passion Flower

Passiflora Vitifolia, aka Crimson Passion Flower can be quite aggressive in its growth. The vine reaches out and latches on to anything near by with its tendrils. My fences around my house are living proof of that.

This vine is a naturally grown medicinal herb, approved by the German Commission E in the treatment of insomnia and nervousness. It is also used as a sedative in nervous disorders difficulties in sleeping, and anxiety or restlessness. Passion Flower reduces spasms and depresses the central nervous system. Not that I'll ever dream of using it.

There are over 460 known species of Passiflora. "Passion" does not refer to love, but to the Passion of Christ on the cross.

In Spain, it is known as Espina de Cristo (Christ's Thorn). In Germany it was once known as Muttergottes-Schuzchen (Mother-of-God's Star). In Israel they are referred to as clock-flower (שעונית). In Japan, they are known as clock-faced flowers, and recently have become a symbol for homosexual youths (really?) In North America they are also called the Maypop, the water lemon, and the wild apricot (after its fruit). Native Americans in the Tennessee area called it ocoee, and the Ocoee River and valley are named after it.

Passion Flower

Friday, January 11, 2008

Neglected Maiden

Found this beautiful lady sitting alone in an abandoned corner of a rock garden. Hope she'll be given a bath soon.

Marble Lady

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sink Hole

A quiet backyard in the neighborhood. This yard had consumed a lot of cash, and it looks like it wants more.

Feed Me

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

C. Percivilia

Here is the echo of another blogger from South Florida: Tog's blog on Thursday December 27th described this orchid, C. Percivilia "Summit," FCC/AOS which stands for First Class Certificate/American Orchid Society. In case you do not know, C. stands for Cattleya, a genus of 42 species of orchids. This plant came from Tog's backyard, but it now is growing in mine. It has 3 spikes and 7 flowers today. Thanks Tog.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Miami Downtown

A view of Miami Downtown from the East side of Dodge Island.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Cockroach Orchid

Here is a closeup of a bloom from my Dendrobium Crumenatum. If you smell the flower up close, where the yellow throat is, you'll know what a cockroach smells like.

Cockroach Smell

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sweet Tooth

My favorite delivery truck.

Hmm hmm Good

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Play Time

Parents supervising their young kids at playground in a public park in Miami. All the equipment must pass safety regulations and inspection before they are allowed to be installed in public parks.

Public Park

Friday, January 4, 2008

Custom Made

This, I was told, is a custom automobile. All parts are hand custom made. The price tag has a lot of zeros. Spotted at Cocoplum Circle, an exclusive area of Coconut Grove.

Need For Speed

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Thin Skins

Miami's Freezing. This is too cold for me. I need to move further South from here. Here's the news:

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- Wednesday night's bitter cold temperatures rattled tree-dwelling iguanas in South Florida.
The large green reptiles drop out of the trees and litter the ground when temperatures drop in sunny South Florida.
The lizards are not dead. Most of them are alive and are simply cold. When the weather returns to the warmth they know and love, they will spring back to life.

There is a couple of large iguanas living in the trees in my backyard, and I hope they are OK.

In front of my yard, some merciful soul provided a makeshift adobe for the homeless cats in the neighborhood with a cardboard box, a towel and some water. Thankfully, the weather will warm up pretty fast this time, at least, that's what the forecast says. Brrrrr!

Freezing in Paradise

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Jan 01, 2008

A typical secluded Miami backyard among the thousands on a peaceful and pleasant first day of the New Year 2008.

Secluded Backyard

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Hard Choice

This is not my best photo, but it is my most favorite, tie with my X-Spider Girl blog of Monday August 27, 2007. This photo was taken on June 17, 2007 of a bright yellow poinciana inside the University of Miami's main campus in Coral Gables.

Happy New Year 2008