The house is beginning to feel like a home, as we start to tweak things more to our liking. Seems like with every little project we accomplish, we put two more on the list. I am focused on the plantings, and it’s my first experience with tropical plants in the tropics instead of in pots and greenhouses.
For me, a big part of the fun is learning the plants that came with the property. Some of the landscape plants are new to me—that plant that looked dead in April is fully leafed out now, and I can identify it. That other plant that looked dead in April…actually is dead. But even more, the trees around the road edge and the lower edge of the property. What’s native, what is introduced? What can be removed to improve the view to the sea, what should be removed to get rid of a big weed?
I’ve found that the biggest problem so far is the Neem tree, which hails from India. It was introduced here before the volcano erupted, to be grown as an ag crop. Among other things, it’s the source of a widely-used organic insecticide, neem oil. It’s escaped, and there are large trees along the road and along the lower property line. And lots and lots of seedlings. So, we’ve been taking those down.
An exciting thing to discover is that we have a number of white cedars, a native tree (Tabebouia)—not a cedar at all, but a broad-leaf evergreen that has a
spectacular flower display if we are ever here when it blooms. We also have a some mahogany trees, (Swietenia), and I think the ceiling of the house might be made out of mahogany. Although plentiful on the lot, it’s supposed to be “regionally endangered” because of logging. The white cedar and the mahogany both get pretty big with time. There’s a row of huge, beautiful mahogany on the adjoining property (left, downslope. I guess that’s southwest) that are silhouetted against the sky.
Moonshadow is on Logwood Road, it’ll be interesting to see if we can figure out the origin of the name. It’s all second growth forest; this area would have been in probably cotton at one time, followed by sugar (if it was wet enough here) and limes, and grazing. Lots of different agricultural enterprises that came and went. I hope we can find the early history of the land. There’s so much to learn and experience here. Larry