Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Edison Winter Estate
     My family and I are just back from our Florida vacation.  The weather was good about half of the time.  The remaining time was cold (the temperature hit 32 degrees two nights), cloudy or rainy.  But it was better than the northern Virginia weather where we missed two snow events and an arctic cold blast.

     While in Florida we visited the Edison and Ford winter estates.  Thomas Edison and Henry Ford both had winter homes in Ft. Myers next to one another.  Although we were not allowed to tour inside the houses, we were able to view some of the rooms of both houses through glass panels.

walkway into the gardens
     But the gardens were most interesting to me.  The following photos are just a sample of the many trees and plants on the estate grounds.

red powderpuff
     The red powderpuff (Calliandra haematocephala) is an evergreen shrub that likes full sun and high humidity.  This one was from Bolivia.

Queen's wreath
     Queen's wreath (Petra volubilis) is a tropical, twisting vine that looks similar to wisteria.  It can have blue or white flowers.  This photo shows the twisting base of this particular vine.

white frangipani

      White frangipani (Plumeria alba) is a species of plumeria from the Caribbean that is different from the others; the leaves are long, narrow and curl inward.

sausage tree

       The sausage tree (Kigelia africana) from tropical Africa has long sprays of maroon, trumpet-shaped flowers.  The fruits look like giant sausages and can weigh up to 19 pounds.

Achiote or annato shrub/tree
      The Achiote shrub/small tree (Bixa orellana), sometimes called annato, has fruit that is heart-shaped and covered with spiky hairs.  It is native to tropical areas of the Caribbean and Mexico.

open fruit pod of the Achiote shrub
     This photo of the open fruit pod shows its red seeds.  A yellow to deep orange dye is extracted from the seeds and used as a natural colorant we call annato in food products.  The extract is also used as a commercial dye and for medicinal purposes.

    We spent a delightful and most interesting day at these estates. I will have more information and photos of other plants and trees we saw in future posts. 


  1. The trunk of that vine is incredible! I'd hate to see what it would do to a building! It looks like a twisted tree. Sounds like you had a great trip. :o)

    1. That vine really caught my eye. I don't think it really gets much thicker, so I don't think it would damage a wall. The sun seemed a lot brighter down in Florida.

  2. So many delights you enjoyed. I cannot believe you went back north before the all-clear was issued on winter. Though Florida didn't escape either.

    1. No, Florida didn't escape the cold either, but I did like the bright sun, when it shined. We had several cloudy, rainy days.