The cooler days and chilly nights of winter have passed now in tropical Florida, and the songs and colors of spring have arrived. Yes, we do have seasons here. I am blooming where I am planted on this new farm, like all the big, beautiful trees bursting with blossoms. I had documented back in the fall the list of established trees here, and have been eagerly awaiting their blooming potential. Thus far, the color and beauty of my blooming trees has not disappointed.
The first tree to pop was the Caribbean Trumpet tree that exploded a few weeks ago into a profusion of sunshine yellow, creating a dynamic contrast with the deep red color appearing on the neighboring Mimosa tree. It was really spectacular, and even glowed at night under the full moon.
Soon after across the front yard, an unidentified tree produced a blanket of white fragrant blossoms, initially covering the tree like snow. My Mexican landscaper later revealed he thought it was a White Orchid tree, which proved to be correct. I had been researching new trees to plant along the road, and an orchid tree that was on my list was now removed. I was thrilled to already have one.
The orchid tree was followed by the truly, ever-bearing Mulberry tree, whose symphony of changing colors from white to pink to red and finally deep purple, produces an over abundance of scrumptious berries several times a year. It becomes a welcome daily task to harvest the just-fallen berries for my hens to enjoy, and pick the berries from the tree with which to bury my morning granola and yogurt. There is no shortage of these delectable berries for people, chickens, birds, squirrels and nighttime wildlife visitors to savor.
The grand Mango tree is fully dotted with tiny green balls now that come July, will be weighing down its many branches with sweet, juicy fruit. I will be getting my mango jam recipe ready now! I added an Ooh-la-la Avocado tree and a Sherry Loquat nearby to the mulberry, mango, sugar cane and banana line up. The south side orchard is becoming a delicious feast.
The narrow garden bed along the chicken yard fence is now bursting with vibrant color and texture. The tall stature of a flaming red Canna is flanked by big, broad Comfrey leaves topped with blue flowers, as electric orange Nasturtium vines begin to climb the fence as the backdrop for gold and magenta Amaranth. My red hens blend beautifully with this mix of colors as they nibble the plants through the fence.
The bed continues beyond the gate where sunflowers and snap peas grow. No garden is complete without the sunflower’s presence that brings both beauty and benefits. While my hens await the sunflower seeds, the high protein of sunflower nectar nourishes the bees that in turn, increase their pollination throughout the garden. Most notably, these cheerful flowers possess an amazing attribute: their ability to help remove toxins from the soil, air and water, a process called phytoremediation. We should all be planting healing sunflowers all over the planet to help care for our Mother Earth. Perhaps a Sunflower Day is in order.
Yet another discovery on the farm was made on the pond peninsula. I went to the pond one afternoon to plant some dwarf Papyrus, Crinum Lilies and Butterfly Ginger along the edge of the peninsula. The grass had been mowed shorter recently and I began to notice some patterns in the grass. One poke with the shovel became multiple pokes, uncovering a hexagonal shape made from pavers with a paved path along the whole peninsula. A few days later, all the grass burying the pavers was removed, and now I have my base upon which to build a stucco boma and fire pit on the peninsula point. What other discoveries will this little farm and its land reveal?