Red-trunked acacias or acacias seyals, with their small yellow flowers and graceful branches, add a gentle touch. Silver saw palmettos add their shimmering fans to the mix.
And the spear-like stems of the encephalartos hildebrand and the wide-leaf coontie add their own primordial interest. “I like these cycads because once they are established you know just how big they’ll grow,” Jungles says. He’s worried the encephalartos hildebrand may be susceptible to wind damage, so he’s keeping an eye on it.
Along the eastern wall you’ll find large tufts of native fakahatchee grass. A number of planters are filled with gumbo limbos. “I like to look down the garden and see all the trunks that look like a forest,” he says. Jungles chose them because they remain small when planted in restricted areas and, in heavy winds, they tend to drop twigs and leaves before they lose limbs.
In fact, when the garden was first planted about two years ago, Jungles was worried that a hurricane might topple some of the trees before they had time to establish themselves in their five-foot-deep planters. The trees that now reach 30 feet high have withstood winds over 50 miles per hour.
He’s only had to trim the trees once. “I love to climb trees,” he says, so he used an eight-foot ladder to do the trimming himself. At the bottom of the gumbo limbos you’ll find carefully manicured yellow-green golden creeper. Jungles didn’t plan for these to be quite so neatly trimmed; he’d prefer they be allowed to cascade over the planters. But he realizes he may have pushed the envelope for “the wild look,” he says.
So he is considering replacing the creeper with the bluish purple flowers of Mexican salvia alongside the peach blossoms of bulbine. That’s another plant he introduced from Brazil, he says.
And one day he hopes all the areas covered with brown mulch will be covered with greenery. What’s more, he’d like to introduce crickets so their sounds would fill the night air.
“All gardens are works in progress,” he says.
Deborah S. Hartz-Seeley can be reached at email@example.com.