Once in a while I like to take a leisurely trip through my 10-acre farm, with no ambition other than to enjoy the scenery. Today was such a day, an exceptional one in my view, and I’d like to tell you a little bit about it.
As you know, this winter has been warmer than normal, and that anomaly has created confusion in the plant world. For instance, winter vegetables and fruit in southern Florida have not all performed well, and there are signs around that the season is already winding down. However, leeks, Swiss chard and Malabar spinach are still going strong, and the persistent warmth has pushed our jackfruit and avocado trees into heavy flowering. On one row, I see the June Plum, Spondias dulcis, producing lots of fruit; on another, I spot the Alano sapodilla in fruit; and further along I find tropical pumpkin about to be harvested, wild coffee setting beans and jaboticaba nearing fruiting time.
Some trees are beginning to awaken from winter dormancy. I detect leaves on Baobabs and Gumbo Limbos. An array of pleasant fragrances also captures my attention as I travel around the farm, but the one that pleases me the most is that of the Sweet Almond, Aloysia virgata. Along the way I see the occasional hummingbird, but every part of the farm abounds with butterflies.
However, the most amazing feature of my excursion through Wonderland is color! Everywhere I look, something beautiful is in bloom: Brazilian Red Cloak; Jamaican Poinsettia; Gold Trumpet Tree, Tabebuia chrysotricha; Milky Way Tree, Stemmadenia litoralis; Firespike; Bougainvillea; Red Silk-Cotton Tree, Bombax ceiba; Pink Shaving Brush, Pseudobombax ellipticum; Hong Kong Orchid; Bush Pentas; Butterfly Sage, Cordia globosa; Popcorn Cassia; Calliandra; Texas Sage. Last, but not least, my eyes feast on the unique color of the Jade Vine, a finicky but mesmerizing performer.