Anna Maria Island

I’m visiting my usual haunt at Anna Maria Island this week, Runaway Bay Condominiums. I’ve been coming here for more than a decade now, but after I discovered a love for plants it’s begun to feel like a pilgrimage.

Wild & Wonderful

The Seascape Landscape

The landscape right on the beach is one thing– 60-year pines tower over the gulf shore, overlooking dunes dotted with sea oats (uniola paniculata), railroad vine (ipomoea pes-caprae), and dune sunflowers (helianthus debilis). Thick mangrove swamps hedge in the east side of the island. Farther south, Longboat Key is famous for the hundreds of banyan trees that line the main road.

Mangroves hedge Anna Maria Island on the eastern side.

An exotic touch

The Plumerias of Runaway Bay

Runaway Bay is a humble place; run-of-the-mill for a condominium built in the 70s or 80s, most likely. But what I do admire them for is the investment they made into exotic landscaping, particularly with plumeria trees.

Where I’m from, plumerias average around 5 to 7 feet in height. Runaway Bay’s trees are full-canopied 15 to 20 foot trees! Going by a growth rate of 2 feet per year, they could be anywhere from 12 to 18 years old, but I’m just guessing.

All this to say, after one particular beach trip I came home and began to see plumerias everywhere I went. You might’ve had something similar happen to you once you learn about a new plant; it’s called the frequency illusion, and honestly, I kind of like it. It feels like an awakening (or a scavenger hunt if you’re not feeling adequately spiritual).

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