Springtime in Tropic Florida

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This is a Tabebuia in the parking lot of my grocery store. To me, Tabebuias are the Forsythias of spring in South Florida. Bright, cheerful yellow flowers on a semi gnarly trunked tree with corky bark. This tree will soon be covered in yellow trumpets.

Tropic Florida, to the best of my knowledge is a term coined by Frederic Stresau to describe South Florida, he is a fellow Landscape Architect who wrote the book on Florida. The book is unfortunately titled Florida, My Eden, making it sound more like romance than shrubbery. Mr. Stresau has been gone for many years and I think his book could use a little updating and really a new title.

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Onward, I do like the sound of Tropic Florida vs. South Florida. Whereas it never gets really cold here winter has its cold fronts and they are finally passing into warmer cold fronts. It is late March and here are the actual signs of spring from the garden:

The fruit trees are blooming and the bees are out in full force:

On the left, we have a Rose Apple, Syzgium jambos, a rather weird fruit common in the Caribbean, it has a rose scent with a slightly sweet taste and the texture of a water chestnut. We keep meaning to make a pie from the fruit.

On the right is a Mango in bloom, I think this is a Haden Mango, nice fruit for eating or baking a Mango Rum Cake. I have had fruit from this particular tree and it is highly recommended.

Other harbingers of Spring from Tropic Florida

 

On the left, Shell Ginger, Alpinia zerumbet, a true sign of Spring peeking out from its foliage and to the right flowers from the Hong Kong Orchid tree. I have cut these for flower arrangements these past couple of weeks.

I am trying to get everything in place for the hot summer weather and feel time slipping away for working outside. My tomatoes have set fruit and I think the Armadillos ate it! Tomato season really ends about Memorial Day here, although it can be pushed to July 4th. I have seen people use umbrellas over tomato plants to extend the season.

Time for me to get back to the garden.

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12 comments on “Springtime in Tropic Florida

  1. George Rogers says:

    Always enjoy the orchid-trees. The one today looks like a different species from the one last week? Was it the same tree?

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  2. The fruits are really interesting. I know what you mean by trying to get all the garden work done before the heat. I am way behind, but it will be in the 70’s this weekend…I have some holes to dig.

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  3. Oh, what a glorious post! That tree is such a cheerful sight. And the fruit: We had a rose apple tree at the very back of my grandparents’ property – I loved rose apple. And you have a mango tree – what kind is it?

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    • Cynthia, you must tell me what to do with the Rose Apples – we were thinking of a pie?! The Mango in the photo is a Haden which is my neighbors, I have a Nam Doc Mai, which is a dwarf Thai variety with the smaller yellow fruit.

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      • We just ate them when we were kids. But someone brought me a rose apple jelly from Jamaica and its light rosy taste was delicious. If you find another recipe, I’d like to hear about it. what’s a Nam Doc Mai? Is it sweet?

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      • I was actually thinking of using some in stir fry, like rose scented water chestnuts. Maybe add them to a Mango Pie. It is a kind of weird fruit, the tree is beautiful though. The mango is sweet, kind of like Champagne Mangoes and the tree is dwarf. I have 2 limes, a lemon and a new Cuban Avocado tree so I needed a small Mango tree!

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      • You are fortunate to have a variety – and so many – of fruit trees. Let me know how either recipe turns out.

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      • Ok, give it a few months.

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