I moved to Florida from upstate New York 5 years ago.
From dirt to sand, from country farms to neighborhoods, from nature to suburbia. Into a white house, with yellow shutters, a couple of trees and too much grass. Our yard was flat and trim, like every other yard on the block. In every direction, I saw houses with cleanly swept driveways and neat garages. I longed for Nature.
I planted jasmine along our front walk, and a little bougainvillea by the garage door. In a very short time, the magic of Florida gardening cast its spell on me as these plants grew more in one season than what could be possible in 2 or 3 years in NY. I dug more holes, and I added fruit trees, native shrubs and trees, bamboo, passion flower vines and native wild flowers.
Our yard is now a private garden. One little square of grass remains. We dine on oranges, grapefruits, mangoes, bananas, pineapples, cherries, mulberries, avocados, loquats, Kumquats, pomelos, and key limes. The fragrances of jasmine, magnolia, ylang-ylang, trumpet flowers, and blooming citrus fill our senses on a regular basis.
Everyday we watch butterflies, birds, turtles, and lizards meander through our little jungle. I have picked mulberries while watching the cardinals feed their plump babies the same fruits on a nearby branch. I watch the yellow and black striped zebra butterflies dancing along purple passion flowers while sipping my morning coffee. Sometimes, I just lay on the warm ground to rest with the plants, gazing into the sky to see red tail hawks, bald eagles, wood storks, blue herons, and egrets floating along the wind.
I have found Nature in suburbia – or perhaps I should say nature found me. For all the acres of land and forest that surrounded me in New York, I must admit that I feel closer to Her here, in my little yard of natural wonders.