I have no wish to bring up the 800 lb gorilla sitting in most of our living rooms. My father was in the FBI so I grew up with 800 lb gorillas. Suffice it to say my husband and I are old and afflicted with conditions and ailments (type A blood anyone?) that render us both high risk. So, voluntarily, we have self-quarantined at our home on one of the larger residential properties in Cape Coral (0.61 acre - don't laugh). But we are blessed to be surrounded by 100s of my beloved palms and tropical plants that provide a cooling oasis and privacy. It's so restful to work in the yard, lots to be done to take my mind off the woes of the world.
I thought I'd take some time to share photos of our little palm paradise as it looks like we won't be going anywhere for a while. I started outside the front door and continued into our 3-lot Garden Lot, which is fully planted except for our 10x16' garden shed.
Blue & Red Latans
Sabal minor Blountstown Dwarf x2 in planter box
Northern edge of Garden Lot
Views from inside the Garden Lot
I just moved back to the Ft Myers area after 17 years in the West Palm area.
Everything has changed and all the palm people and Nurseries I knew back then are gone. Can anyone provide me some Palm Contacts (Palm Society, good nurseries for uncommon palms, etc) in this area Thanks
Very early one Saturday, my husband walked a trail in Rotary Park in Cape Coral. Rotary Park is located in far southern Cape Coral and preserves remnants of the brackish wetlands that once covered all of this peninsula. Cape Coral was carved out of a huge area of uninhabited primeval swampland once called Harney Point in the 1950s & 60s by two land grabbing brothers from New York. Rotary Park existed when we moved here in 1993. Its original purpose was to wow visitors and peddle building lots, i.e., "Fly 'em & Fleece 'em", with attractions like a Rose Garden and Waltzing Waters. Ironically, most (tea) roses can't survive here. After those gee-gaws closed and Cape Coral achieved cityhood, municipal leaders founded the park and fortuitously included the undeveloped remains of Harney Point.
During our walk I came upon a population of Sabals that do not resemble typical S. palmettos that are native to this area (FYI, Sabal minor & etonia are not natives). The leaves are large, flatter and the leaflets are not so deeply cut as usual. Because it is still dry season I was able to leave the path and go about 20 yards into the habitat area and I observed many adult trunking palms as well as juveniles. They all showed similar traits and I wondered: is this another phenotype of Sabal palmetto a la Sabal Lisa but not nearly as spectacular? Or are they escaped examples of a non-native Sabal that ended up in native habitat? Most of these palms are decades old and I saw them wherever I looked. Size-wise, the adult palms had the same dimensions as S. palmetto, which is the smallest trunking Sabal, and were nothing close to the mammoth Caribbean Sabals.
I took the following photos. The adult palms were tall and difficult to photograph in the dense underbrush. Fortunately, I found juvenile palms showing the same traits.
Can someone tell me if these palms are atypical palmettos or, if not, what they might be? Thanks
Gardens Clubs of Cape Coral annual plant sale -
Variety of Vendors & plants.
Palms - Bromeliads - Succulents - Orchids and more
When Hurricane Irma struck in September we suffered massive damage to our 3-lot landscaped garden. What little good news out of that is that almost none of the damage involved palms. We lost only a few so far, although their losses were painful and significant: Beccariophoenix alfredii, Pseudophoenix ekmanii and Cocos nucifera Dwarf Red Spicata were the worst. The bad news is that nearly all of my husband's large flowering tropical trees were uprooted or outright destroyed. So, it is true that many palm species are better able to survive hurricane winds than dicot trees. Our house suffered no damage, even from royal fronds that bounced off the roof. We never lost electricity. I binge watched episodes of Lost on Netflix in the bedroom with our two cats while Irma's winds howled through the night. I truly believe that the 100s of palms we have planted all around the property protected the house and each other during the long hours of hurricane winds.
In his post of Hurricane Irma's aftermath, Pastor Randy (Palmaceae) measured winds of 109 mph. I Iive about 5-6 miles SW of his house so I must have experienced like winds. No doubt Irma was a bad one but in 2004 Hurricane Charley, a bonafide cat 4, hit with 30 minutes notice (rather than nuke Tampa) and took this area apart from Ft. Myers Beach to Port Charlotte inland to Arcadia (it cruised right up the huge Peace River so stayed a 4). It was a little atomic bomb rather than a bloated behemoth so its smaller scope is more easily overlooked. We waited 11 months for our replacement metal roof (time out for commercial: If you possibly can, go with metal. Costs more, lasts nearly a lifetime, doesn't sweat hurricanes. Never tile - tile is worse than shingles). So, for me Irma was no Charley.
Anyway, nearly 3 months and $3,600 later this is my Garden Lot. Many of the huge trees are gone and palms (yay!) and smaller trees are taking their place. Irma's damage still lingers. Palms that survived are still recovering after suffering major frond damage and continue to grow out. A few may yet succumb from long term damage. Our shady oasis is a lot less shady and a lot more tattered. On with the photos.
From the SE corner looking north; view looks fairly normal but palm crowns still have broken and dying fronds we can't reach to cut
From SE corner looking south - Large coconut on corner of berm was blown at 45 degree angle. It was too large for tree people - Cuban entrepreneurs who stopped by with their business cards a couple days after the storm; we hired them on the spot - to move upright. We let the workers take all the ripe coconuts (they said the water was delicious). As it is still over our property we decided to leave it. It is already starting to curve upright.
From the front of our garden shed looking north. Most of this area was once shaded by tropical trees. Almost all are gone, the rest severely trimmed so the area is now open to sky and sun. Day the photos were taken winter's first cold front was moving in so skies were cloudy
This last seedling of my late Dwarf Red Spicata coconut mother palm replaces one of the fallen tropical trees. The mother palm leaned over like the previous palm but she ended up hanging above an undeveloped adjacent lot. She was too large to upright so we made the difficult decision to take her out. But we have several of her offspring planted around the yard.