RIVERCLUB CONDOMINIUM, Cocoa Beach
One of my more enjoyable landscape projects took place at Riverclub Condominium in Cocoa Beach. The original landscape design on the front of the building consisted of very old Japanese ligustrums (Japanese privet). Not only were the ligustrums gnarled and mostly bare, but they were also the victim of dry wood termites. Like old decayed teeth, these suckers had to go. We used a heavy duty towing strap and my old Suburban to extract the ligustrums. One after another we yanked them out until at last the only remnants were a stray root here and there. Next, we had to decide with what we’d replace these plants. The residents wanted color, of course, and something that was a slow grower. I wanted something that was disease, drought and
salt tolerant, and easy to maintain. I also wanted variety of height to produce a tiered effect. Some of the more persuasive board members wanted hibiscus and a smattering of birds of paradise. With all that in mind, we first amended the soil. We then planted a hedge of red Hibiscus rosa-sinensis on the west end of the building, followed by an equally long hedge of eleagnus silverthorn. To balance off this newly created bed, on the opposite east end of the building we installed a hedge of red ixora Maui, again followed by eleagnus
silverthorn. We achieved the desired splash of color with the hibiscus and ixora, but still had the center beds to contend with. I created an accent bed which sported several bird of paradise plants, flanked by blue daze (Evolvulus). On either side of this accent bed I made two more beds, each containing curly leaf crotons and blue daze. By now the board members, residents and I were all pleased. (If you’ve ever worked for a condo you’d realize what a rare occurrence this was!) We mulched the newly created beds with pine bark—not my first choice, but the board members prevailed–and watered everything in. The end result was a colorful, moderate-growing landscape that was salt tolerant, drought-resistant and relatively pest-resistant.