Posted by Lesley on December 14, 2010
Although they’re called the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Thomas Edison was the first of the two to settle in Fort Myers and the estates showcase more of his life than Ford’s. Two of the three houses are Edison’s, and visitors can also tour his research lab. Aptly, the Christmas decorations not only celebrate the surrounding landscape but also Edison’s inventiveness.
At $20 a piece, the picture is my souvenir. I’ll wait for a light bulb to blow around here and make my own. A small drill bit will poke through the top of the bulb, and a lightweight wire hanger can serve as the hook. I love how the beads are worked in. They keep the wire in place but also add some finishing flair. The garland was finished with citrus and equally charming.
There were lots of natural ornaments on display too…
White Angel’s Trumpet- Brugmansia x candida – Peru
Cluster Fig – Ficus racemosa - Asia
Nagami Kumquat – Fortunella margarita - China
Limequat – Lime x kumquat - China
Posted by Lesley on December 12, 2010
We spent yesterday at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers for John’s birthday. It’s an easy trip from Sarasota; we were there in under an hour and a half. The houses were, of course, interesting and historic, but as a gardener, I adored the grounds! The backdrop is a postcard view of the Caloosahatchee River, and a large portion of the landscape is edible.
The citrus collection made my mouth water, and the trees made my mouth drop. Long vines hang like streamers from this Sausage tree. Aka Kigelia africana, it’s native to tropical Africa.
The vines have flower tips that resemble orchids.
Many of the trees were planted in the early 1900s, and they clearly show their age through their girth and towering height. Harvey Firestone gave Edison a Banyan tree in 1925 that has grown to occupy an entire acre of the estate to itself! That’s a Buddha coconut on the left and a trio of Australian King palms on the right.
Edison planted palm trees throughout his estate and what is now the surrounding neighborhood. It’s suddenly serene to pull off of busy US-41 onto McGregor Boulevard. There are palm trees lining both sides of the street leading to the estates. When Edison and Ford were traveling McGregor, it was a dirt cattle trail.
There’s still more to cover – Christmas decorations, exotic plants, edibles. To be continued…