Orchid Show at the Botanical Gardens Starts Today (02 August)

The big flower and orchid show, Orquídeas, Pájaros y Flores, starts at the Botanical Gardens today and runs through 07 August. Check the earlier post on this subject for the times and ticket prices. If you are into plants, don’t miss this one.

Jardin Botanico During the Feria de las Flores

The Botanic Gardens are generally free admission but between 02 August and 07 August there will be an entry fee for the Orquídeas, Pájaros y Flores show  (Orchids, Birds and Flowers Show).  This is a great show and well worth the admission price. The gardens will be close on 08 August to allow the show to be dismantled. Free for the rest of the year!!! To get there just take the Metro to the Universidad Station and bare right when you leave the metro system 🙂

Admission for the Orquídeas, Pájaros y Flores show is as follows:

ADULTS:      $COP14,000 ($US 7.77*)

STUDENTS: $COP 10,000 ($US 5.55)

CHILDREN:  $COP 4,000 ($US 2.22)

* At today?s exchange rate of about 1800 pesos per dollar.

This show is well worth the price and  the effort to go. See ya there!

Official 2012 Feria de Las Flores (Flower Fair) Guide

OK, here is a link to the official guide.

And here is a general website about the Flower Fair:  http://www.feriadelasflores.medellin.travel/

Humming Birds at Finca El Arroyuelo (Piedras Blancas)

The humming birds have taken to our feeders in a big way. Sometimes it looks like La Guardia on a busy afternoon.

For years we had just one small feeder hung on the front porch. During a recent trip to the States we got a larger one and set it up in May.  Although there was always action, neither attracted a lot of attention until about a month ago. Suddenly the rate at which the birds are taking the sugar water jumped. Now I am refilling both once a week. It may be that the larger one is hanging next to a sietecueros shrub adjacent to the porch. This gives them a staging area where they can wait for an opening. Some of them are very aggressive towards others wanting to use the feeders.

We have four species visiting our feeders. They are:

White-bellied WoodStars,

Bronzy Incas (?)

Greenish Pufflegs.

Green Violetear.

Guayacan Amarillo

As the dry season gets underway here in Medellin the yellow guayacans (Tabebuia chysantha) are blooming up a storm. These are the trees that look like clouds of brilliant yellow all over the city.

Finca El Arroyuelo

An arroyuelo is a small stream or brook. In Colombia it has a special meaning rooted in the love of natures beauty. A finca is a country property which may be a farm or residence. We named our place Finca El Arroyuelo for the beautiful brook which forms our northern property line. Located in a hollow at about 2400 meters ( nearly 8000 feet) in the Andes it is rapidly becoming home to us.

The view from the porch is dominated by slopes covered in pine and cypress. Patches of native woodland also contribute to the local mosaic and we are honored to have and care for one that graces the west side of our little dell. This woodland is now tinged bronze with the new growth on the arrayan trees and here and there purple and lilac of siete cueros flowers make bold highlights. At the edge of the wood, the gigantic leaves of Gunnera form a frieze that contrast nicely and create a very tropical feel.

This patch of forest attracts many brightly colored birds including several tropical tanagers, green jays and emerald toucanets. This habitat also support at least four different hummingbirds. These sally forth to use the feeder hanging on the porch and provide constant entertainment.

The woods are mossy and full of beautiful plants of all kinds. Orchids, bromeliads, philodendrons, brightly colored mushrooms to name a few. In the landscape fuchsias, hydrangeas,  roses and begonias bloom year around. Our mostly organic garden is coming along very nicely and is beginning to produce very tasty vegetables.

I highly recommend a visit to the  Andes here above Medellin!

Blooming In Late April

Blooming in late April in Medellin

Cattleya warszewiczii

We picked up a bunch of Cattleya starts from a vendor in the Parque Bolivar about two years ago. I guess two years from a division is not an excessive amount of time but it seems like forever. Anyway this one started blooming for the first time last week. It appears that this is Cattleya warszewiczii.





Planting Potatoes

11 April 2010

Well I got those spuds in the ground yesterday afternoon. Afterward we had a nice long gentle rain which was just the ticket. Most of what I planted was papa criolla and I did get around 6 pieces of capria ( a red  somewhat similar to red rose) planted.

I also weed-whacked a lot of kikuyu grass which is invading our place from a neighbors lawn. I need to keep it down until the next dry season when I can hit it with the glypsofato ( Roundup). This herbicide needs 6 hours on the weed before it rains. Not likely during the wet season here.  I don’t like to use chemicals unless necessary. Kikuyu makes it necessary!  This invasion has reduced the biodiversity in our meadow significantly. We almost lost the fireflies. They are a part of this finca I just don’t want to lose.

10 April 2010

Last week I prepared a plot for potatoes at the finca. I started working on this area a couple of years ago but due to my lack of experience with these soils I had little success. Last year I let it go fallow and the kikuyu grass moved in with a vengeance. Over the last month or so I have been killing and removing kikuyu. Last week I added a small amount of lime and a 15-15-15 fertilizer. These soils are very acidic. This fertilizer has a urea base and will need to be supplemented with nitrate when the plants start to grow. I´m going to try to get chicken manure but getting it to the finca is difficult as there is no road onto the place.

Last night I cut up the seed potatoes. They are drying well and will be ready tomorrow. I probably should have had them in the ground 2 or three weeks ago but that did not happen.

In addition to regular potatoes I am planting papa lisa or ulluco at the finca. This is one of the ancient crops of the Andes. It is popular in southern Colombia but is used very little in Antioquia. I planted a few about two months ago but they have grown little due to the dry weather. More will go in today.

The Rains Have Begun

24 April 2010

This past week has been very warm and dry again. Most of the climate modeling suggests that the el Niño condition will end during the Northern Hemisphere summer and NOAA seems to be pretty sure about that now. I for one will be pleased to see the normal rains again.

The rainy season has started in earnest now. This past week has been very wet with rain most days. Several afternoons and evenings brought heavy downpours. The humidity is up a lot. This past dry season was intense and lasted longer than normal. Generally in mid-March there is a distinct increase in rainy weather. This year we had a couple of wet days but no where near enough.

NOAA has indicated that the el Niño should last only through this northern hemisphere summer. That would put us on track for a normal rainy season between October and December.

Climate in Medellin

I just added a page on the climate here which you can find at this link or in the list of pages to the left of your screen.

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