Life on a farm canal in Thailand fascinated me not just for the tropical paradise that was home, but for the ready grocery store. So much of the surrounding lushness was edible, the variety and availability amazing. Willa Cather in My Antonia speaks of the wonderful orchards the first generation of settlers put down and how future generations drove past them to the stores in town to pay money for the same fruit. This lot was a cow pasture. So far we've put down 7 lychee, 13 manago, papaya, bananas, 3 avocado, 2 peach, 1 nectarine, 1 macadamian nut, etc and are thinking of hedging with blueberries. Also 2 pecan and 1 walnut. The ground cover in the front of the house is strawberries and a purple sweet potato.
Photo above taken in 2000; Custard Apple seedlings were planted all around the island. We had to cut out a thicket of invasive Brazilian Pepper. A native Florida ground cover and aquatic plants were planted. I find the Rare Fruit & Nut Society and native Florida plant nurseries a great help.
Below: Now in 2013, frosts have killed off the custard apples, so have planted a not so giant bamboo around the perimeter of the island and cult down some of the cabbage palms. Will eventuall cut down enough of the cabbage palms to leave the center of the island open for a gazebo.
Above & below taken around 2000, before we put in the custard apples and the ground cover, Perennial Peanut - fron a nursery specializing in native Florida plants - run by two British ladies! Trees, oaks, nuts, mango, and lychees now make a forest that hides the neighbor's house.