I rarely spend my weekends in Tampa anymore, opting instead for a slower, and less congested pace.
I live in Polk City on a beautiful lake.
It holds many amphibian and reptilian aquatic secrets in it’s belly, and some of the largest and strangest flying insects I’ve ever seen.
Yet the allure of the peaceful water, the lovely reflections of the sun as it rises and sets over the lake, the many feathered visitors, all work their magic on me and a new and special relationship is developing here.
I am committed to enjoy my immersion into this lakeside way of life. I’ve taken on the bugs, and the lake with its overgrowth of bull-rushes, cattail and arrow-heads with gusto!
The insect-life and aquatic vegetation are prolific, and determined to keep their hold on the shoreline environment. I work long, hard, and competitively to claim my ground, my shoreline and develop a white sandy area for myself where I can loiter peacefully. A space away from all the amphibian, reptilian, and aquatic life-forms that inhabit the lake. The insects have just begun to accept me as a harmless nuisance in their environment. The lake has not yet understood that I am not going away, and in me it will find a formidable opponent.
One who is decidedly intent on conquering my share of the western bank of the lakefront and transforming a small piece of the shoreline to suit me.
One of the first tasks I embarked on when I arrived here was immediately introducing Hibiscuses to the property. Tom has lived here for 18 years, and never planted anything. The vegetation on the property is natural to the area, and sprouted up on it’s own. Breaking the ground to introduce a new plant was shockingly hard. The ground was like concrete! Once I managed to get the young trees planted, I was thrilled. I planted about a dozen plants. They bloomed immediately, graciously and beautifully for three weeks. Then the natural environment attacked them. Some plants suffered systemic effects from the insect attacks.
Their foliage, and blooms were deformed. Some plants stopped blooming. I had to launch an aggressive counter attack on the insects with safe to use herbicides, and immune boosting treatments for the plants. Some of my plants are recovering better than others. A few of the “El Presidente” Hibiscuses rich red flowers are now anemic looking, almost transparent with weak traces of red. All but one plant survived, and it lost its life to our new yard man who mowed over it with his mower. Ouch!
The remaining plants are all at some stage of recovery, and all but two plants flower regularly! I have accumulated quite an extensive collection of Hibiscus portraits that are posted on my flickr sight, this blog and my pixlexia facebook page.
The effort to battle mother nature for survival is immense, costly, and at times discouraging. I am on a long learning curve. But I am persistent, I’m learning, and will get my way with this old lake. An old phrase from a movie I saw a long time ago comes to mind . . . “what one man can do, another can do”. I will tame the lakefront!
The landscape struggles, insect nuisance, intrusions from aggressive aquatic vegetation, are ongoing. I am getting my head around that. Still, I am absolutely in love with the waterways and wetlands of Florida. Despite all the reptilian dangers that they hold in their belly, yet our relationship has never waned!
Florida is usually associated with it’s beautiful beaches, but there is much more here.
Life in Florida, yes it is that good!