Yesterday I visited Mike Dubinovsky and Tatiana Anderson, two very interesting people who grew tired of the Russian cold and moved to near Punta Gorda in south Florida to start a mail-order nursery specializing in rare tropical plants called Top Tropicals. They have over 800 different kinds of tropical fruits, fragrant plants, spice plants like cinnamon and allspice, and an incredible array of flowering vines, shrubs, and trees. In a very short time, they have built a business that ships to all over the country and the world. The impetus for their growth is that people up north where it’s cold in winter want weird and colorful tropical plants too. Mike recently shipped a gardenia to somebody in Alaska. Somebody in Fairbanks now probably has their only dog sled with a gardenia bush. Check out the nursery at www.TopTropicals.com.
It’s hard for people to visit Mike and Tatiana because they don’t exactly live in the center of town. I could say they live in the middle of nowhere, but that’s a bit generous. Actually, they live on the far edge of it. There is nothing around for miles and miles except for old citrus groves, palmetto scrub, and fire ants. Oh, an one other thing — the Paradise RV Park. Yes, hundreds of retired people holed up in RV’s and campers have found paradise in south Florida’s version of the Bonneville Salt Flats. What do they do all day? Compete to see who has the biggest blood clot? Catch a bus to the nearest Baskin Robbins to try all 21 flavors of oxygen? Hey, if this is truly paradise, send me in the other direction. It can’t be any hotter and the people there are bound to be more fun.