Tropical Forest Garden Pictures

“…And that’s me next to a “Chico” tree….”
…in the Fruit and Spice Park in Homestead, Florida, a tropical orchard that’s transitioning in parts to a full “food forest” garden. 
I normally wouldn’t insist on boring everyone with vacation pictures, but we just got home from a great trip to southern Florida to visit our friends Paul and Jenny and they’re also plant/gardening/architecture geeks, so we got to taste some unusual tropical fruits and check out some cool gardens. 
Since it’s the season of garden planning I wanted to share a few quick Permaculture-related sites I found inspiring:
Another view of the Fruit and Spice Park. Beautiful tropical garden loaded with edibles – very impressed by this place and their business model. There’s no reason why “fruit tourism” of this kind can’t be possible in Michigan. 
I find the understory layer and plant spacings in these pictures interesting in that they’re so similar to what we have in Michigan. Not what I expected. I could blather on and on about this. Lucky for you I won’t. 
Anyway, the plants are all different, of course, but visually this above could be a beautiful home forest garden in Michigan! 
A tropical Persimmon relative… 
Thicket of Sea Grape, with draggon fruit growing up a pole. 
Beautiful ornamental bananas. Ok, we can’t have those. But I imagine that we could imitate the “tropical” feel in our gardens by planting with vivid colors. 
Thicket of banana trees. 
This gigantic fruit is Jack Fruit, which we buy canned to make a vegan “pulled pork.” When fully ripe, the fruit turns sweet and has the flavor of “Juicy Fruit Gum.” 

A feast of tropical fruits. Sapodilla, or “Chico” was our favorite. Though honestly, I’d take a ripe Paw Paw, any day. This was from Robert is Here fruit market in Homestead. No better meal on earth than a variety of fresh fruits in season.

Grove of bamboo. Very beautiful. We can’t have these huge bamboos, but we can certainly grow bamboo in our gardens to add a tropical touch. 
Well, best to stop before I bore anyone to death with vacation pictures. 
I’ll be posting again soon and introducing a great new resource for native plant gardeners who’d like to grow a forest garden. Or… for forest gardeners who want to use more natives.
Coming soon….

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