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Northern Spring Struggles To Arrive – Tropical Gardens In The South Are Blooming

Posted on Thursday, April 02, 2015


(one of my oncidiums in full bloom)

A cleansing lemon drink fresh off the tree each morning, an orange when you want it and blooms on the mangos and loquat tree showing signs of more to come. All organic. No herbicides, insecticides, fungacides, anything-a-cides. Good for you and all in your back yard. In the dead of winter. Naples is a tropical gardening paradise.

Our latest projects are coffee plants and organic vitamin C sources.

Just this past week one of our young coffee plants (Arabica Catura) managed a single bloom – our first in the tropical garden.  We are now about one year away from our fist serious blooms across a dozen plants.  Over time we hope to see them how and produce about 3-4 pounds of beans each.  All are grown organically.  The health benefits of coffee are now widely published and we look forward to another health benefit from our garden.

Vitamin C is widely taken as a health supplement but organic sources may be hard to find.  Health News recently published an article  on home-made vitamin C production from orange peels.  Simply peel an orange, set the peels aside to dry for a few days and grind into a powder.  According to the article about a tablespoon full of the stuff is all you need for one day’s supply of Vitamin C.  Well if this is the case we would be all set.  Our peels are drying hard as board and if our coffee grinder holds up we should be able to try this.  More health benefits from our organic garden again.  We will see.
Part of the Naples lifestyle is the enjoyment of our surrounding tropical world. Oranges, lemons, mangos, avocado, loquat, Surinam and Brazilian cherries, bananas, lychee, pineapples, passion fruit and figs – all growing in our yard.  Please keep in mind  I knew nothing of gardening before moving here. You could do it too. It is not difficult and you may improve your diet and mental health in the process. Not bad.


(the dinosaur exhibit is running now at the Naples Botanical Garden)

Also in town we have the Naples Botanical Garden.  They are the real pros.  The garden  opened up its doors after a multi-month renovation this past Fall and wow what an upgrade. We are supporters of the garden and encourage all of you year round residents and seasonal visitors to take a look at the new garden. With 100,000+ visitors last year you will be in good company.

Larger than Fairchild and Sarasota, the Naples Botanical Garden is the relatively new kid on the street with some early big results and big dreams to follow. Florida Gulf Coast already co-locates here and the on site research is amazing. I encourage you to go on the garden’s web site at and take it all in ( It will brighten up your winter day!
In terms of your own garden you have all the makings of success right here in town in your backyard. On-water Naples living has never seen a hard freeze so you are good year round for outdoor plants. After several years of experimentation let me show you a few easy plants and trees to start with.


(prepping pineapple tops for rooting and planting)
I think the easiest plant to grow here is the pineapple. My twelve plants produce three to four pound fruit each year and people seem to love them. You can start with store-bought fruit and propagate them or you can purchase plants from the Botanical Garden. They do not need much food. Give them a little water in the dry season and in summer they are fine on their own. Bring them in to the Lanai for final fruiting to keep them away from the animals.  They are excellent candidates for organic gardening.


(my Springfield Mango in full bloom – easy to grow, salt water tolerant, pest resistant and prefers dry Springs (Popenoe) – fits right in to the Naples garden)
Mangos are the next easiest. Plant one of these and have fruit for years. Mango trees last for years and years, are pest resistant, and require modest amounts of care. Go to the Mango festival in July and sample all the different types of fruit then order the variety you like. A mature tree can easily produce fifty mangos or so.


(Our Guatemalan Avocados bloom late for your Thanksgiving and Christmas house guests and rich in omega-3 oils)
For the third easiest I would say the Avocado. I got off to a slow start with mine (be sure to plant them in the right place and away from other plants and tress) and you will enjoy lots of avocados for years to come. There are three main varieties so research them for taste, size, care and health benefits (some have a lot more omega-3 than others). Get ready of delicious salads and home-made guacamole.



(If you are enjoying citrus and want to add an orange tee The Valencia Orange may be a good pick.  It blooms much later than other varieties extending your fruiting season).

Now for the harder varieties. As it turns out all citrus trees are tough to grow now. Due to a disease called “greening” we are witnessing the demise of the citrus industry. With out intervention and I hate to say it but probably without new GMO varieties we may not make it. Florida is seeing less and less fruiting juice and now the disease has moved to California. I would hold off planting new citrus varieties until this gets worked out.

Blueberries are grown commercially here in Florida with special varieties and I made them work for a while but finally gave up. Disease, watering, and the required “chill-days” just would not work for me.
I would add the tropical peach to the difficult list. Birds (even with netting) their ugly deciduous nature and just lack of production caused me to give up here. When the tree was good enough to make it for me was outstanding.
One last note on care I am pleased fertilizer restrictions near the water are tough. The Marco Eagle reported on this recently at aI am for a balance of environmental and human concerns and keeping fertilizer use down near the water makes a lot of sense.


(Don’t forget ornamental varieties and flowering plants.  Antique Roses do very well here like this Mrs. B. R. Cant in full bloom.)

That is it on the gardening notes this morning. If you cannot make it there today take in some of our tropical gardening images on Pinterest and enjoy the views.

I hope you have an opportunity to visit or live in Naples or Marco Island.  If you would like to know more about living here just give us a call at 239.595.3921.

Please also consider reading our book “Understanding Naples Real Estate” to get you started on a real estate search or just give us a call about things to do here.

We look forward to meeting and talking with you soon,

Mark Goebel PA, Nan Goebel PA and David Goebel, PA
Co-Founders of the Naples Best Addresses Team

Coldwell Banker
Mark Goebel, PA and Nan Goebel, PA
REALTOR Coldwell Banker 5th Avenue South
Mobile: 239.595.3921 239.595.3920
Facebook: NaplesBestAddresses

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Mark Goebel, PA is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker on 5th avenue in Naples, Florida with 35+ years of visiting and living in Naples. After 25 years at Accenture, Mark retired as a managing director and spends his time helping non profits and building a Naples real estate team with his wife Nan and son David. Talk to Mark, Nan and Dave about life in Naples and why they chose this place to live full-time over all others and enjoy Naples real estate.
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