When it was first founded decades ago, Eucalyptus Gardens, a property in Wilton Manors, FL, was a full-scale nursery. The business eventually folded, and the land fell into disuse.
In recent years, though, some enterprising entrepreneurs have attempted to repurpose the space as a neighborly gathering place for dining and coffee and shopping.
Where perennials and annuals were once for sale, there now stands a coffee shop, two cafes, an airstream trailer that serves as a vintage retail boutique, and an architectural reclamation vendor.
The stars of the show, both then and now, are the rainbow eucalyptus trees that greet visitors near the front gate, where their shade is a welcome relief from Florida’s sun.
When I first spotted the trees, though, I thought they were artificial — craftily painted props to decorate the outdoor dining experience. It wasn’t until I looked up — somewhere over the rainbow, way up high — that I noticed the leaves. Real leaves sprouting from real branches connected to very real, very colorful trees.
Eucalyptus deglupta thrives in tropical and subtropical regions, zone 10 and higher, where it can quickly reach well over 200 feet. As the bark sheds, varying shades of blue, purple, maroon, and orange appear — a living, colorful centerpiece for lunch and coffee, under the rainbow.