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Garden as if life depends on it

Friday, December 14, 2012

Have you ever thought about what happens when a native wooded area is cleared for a building site? It is obvious that the trees and undergrowth has been removed, but what about all the creatures that were living in or would visit this area? The insects that were feeding on plants growing in the woods are gone; the birds no longer have a reason to visit this location to look for food such as caterpillars and other insects because their food plants are gone. When a local habitat is removed ...

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It's Open!! You will love it!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The ribbon cutting officially took place this morning. A new era at Fairchild began with this historic ribbon cutting. Then, the butterflies and the hummingbirds captivated the guests. A Heliconius butterfly heading to nectar. A hummingbird posing. The orchids and the aroids, the scientists and the graduate students, the donors and the volunteers, the hummers and the nectar-sippers were all on hand to celebrate the dream becoming a reality. "With this opening, we are bringing science and ...

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Rare, beautiful palm is fruiting for the first time in Fairchild

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cyphophoenix nucele Cyphophoenix nucele is fruiting for the first time in Fairchild. This palm is native to Lifou Island, one of the Loyalty Islands about 60 miles from New Caledonia. Lifou Island is about 50 miles long and 10 to 15 miles wide. The island is flat with no hills or rivers. It has abundant vegetation, dense interior jungles, fertile soils and beautiful reefs and coral. Water on the island comes from rain that seeps through the calcareous soil and forms freshwater ponds. Our ...

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Learning how to use productive plants to enhance your home, sustain birds, and preserve biodiversity

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On December 8th (1:30 pm) & 9th (1:00 pm) Doug Tallamy, author of "Bringing Nature Home: Using Native Plants to Sustain Wildlife in our Gardens" will be speaking at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's Butterfly Days. His talks will be in the Garden House. I know many people are interested in attracting birds, butterflies and other wildlife into their gardens. I read his book a couple years ago, and am delighted he will be here. Jennifer Davit, former FTBG Conservatory Manager, has heard ...

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Exciting News

Monday, November 19, 2012

Just a sampling of the amazing Chapungu stone sculptures in the lowlands I must admit that this is my favorite time of year, both here at Fairchild and South Florida in general. Days are cooler, the garden is gorgeous and the days of heat and humidity are in the past. This summer has been a whirlwind of activity in the horticulture department. All the planting inside and outside of the Clinton Family Conservatory (Wings of the Tropics) has been finished and now butterflies from Costa Rica ...

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Punta Arenas, Chile

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Punta Arenas, Chile -- A transition zone between grassland steppes and the Andes is a forest reserve just above this frontier town. Predominant trees are lenga, or southern beech, Nothofagus pumilo, and the Magellanic coihue, Nothofagus dombeyi. These slow-growing trees have just put out their new leaves, which are small and deeply veined with serrated edges. Attached to the gray bark are all kinds of lichens, which are excellent indicators of clean air. We hike up several kilometers, ...

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The Strait of Magellan

Friday, November 2, 2012

A day at sea and into the Strait of Magellan. Oil platforms are a surprise; Commerson's dolphins are a delight. Only 4 1/2 to 5 feet, the dolphins are in everyone's view finders, but rarely in focus because they are so fast. Black and white, they swim close to our zodiacs, teasing us with their breakneck speed. A Commerson's dolphin...

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Bahia Bustamente and Malaspina Bay

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Only about 40 people live there now, but at one time some 500 residents -- mostly single men-- worked in Bahia Bustamente harvesting seaweed. The village was founded in 1952 by an Italian, Lorenzo Soriano, who was looking for a source of seaweed for hair gel. With his four sons, Don Lorenzo established the first seaweed village in the world. Four types of seaweed still are harvested, washed, dried and packaged for markets around the world, used in Japan for sushi and in nutritional and ...

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The Bones of Patagonia

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Puerto Madryn, Argentina -- The steppes of Patagonia are filled with stories of the past despite their monotonous demeanor. Listen to Darwin describe the physical aspects: "The level plains of arid shingle support the same stunted and dwarf plants, and in the valleys the same thorn-bearing bushes grow." Yet across these wind-swept arid landscapes are exposed strata of the ages, and within each layer, there are bones of the ancients. Many of the mammals that lived here have been unearthed, ...

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Magellanic Penguins

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Patagonia is the southernmost region of South America. It spreads across 260,000 square miles of Argentina and Chile. Along with right whales and penguins, the area is famous for guanacos, glaciers, beech trees, sea birds, and a hairy armadillo. Charles Darwin spent much time here during the voyage of the Beagle, examining its geology and fossils. But he was not the first European here. In 1519 Ferdinand Magellan first saw penguins on his trip around the tip of South America, and the ...

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