The Bees and the Poinciana Tree Denouement

The last you heard from me on this subject, I was totally flummoxed by the way the whole thing had evolved. The bees were ensconced in the tree, the contraption to lure the queen out was not working well, I’d had to renew my 6 months permit to remove the tree saying the bees were proving to be more of a problem than I thought and I was mightily frustrated.

At the beginning we were trying to preserve the hive. It took the better part of a year to get the bees stressed enough to get the queen out. Eventually the bee people assumed the queen was out and came to remove them. They vacuumed them into a large barrel and took them way. We called the tree removal man and he noticed some residual bees in another part of the tree; so we had to get the bee people back. They told us to remove the tree as soon as possible. The tree soon came down.

It actually didn’t look too bad, a little sunnier which was good for the bougainvillea under it that never bloomed from lack of sunshine. I missed the beautiful bright red blossoms and shade of the Poinciana Tree, but not the eternal mess on my back porch. So things were generally better…until

A letter came from the Key West Tree people saying we had to replace the Poinciana tree with new plantings equal to the diameter of the tree we had cut down or pay a hefty fine. Well that was an old tree and the diameter at the base about three feet; and most of it was hollow. We had planted in the last year two Avocado and two Mango trees, a couple of Key lime trees and a few coconut trees lining the driveway. The coconut and lime trees didn’t count. The person responsible for controlling rampant and irresponsible plant growth on the island, who was very helpful in extending our permit, said she was coming to inspect the new plantings. We met her at the door, talked to her while she measured the trees we had planted.

Then we took her into our back yard to show her the Gumbo Limbo tree, which is quite magnificent. It has showy red bark; interesting branches low to the ground and a nice shady canopy. It is indigenous to South Florida. We were trying to show her that we really were a tree-hugger kind of people and only cut down the Poinciana tree because it was diseased and had been badly damaged during Hurricane Wilma. The Gumbo Limbo has to be thinned out occasionally, as the canopy will block out all sun, if left alone. It’s a good thing we like it, as getting rid of it will have to wait for another generation. Then the Key West Tree Person said, “We’re done here.” Not knowing exactly what that meant, we were hopeful. Since we heard no more, that was the end of it.

There was a time when you could plant anything you wanted, and dig up anything you didn’t want. Not true anymore in Key West. THEY want indigenous trees on the island, and you can’t cut them down. In Peter’s office, one of his guys had a sign which said, “They, who they? ” Who they, indeed.

2 thoughts on “The Bees and the Poinciana Tree Denouement”

  1. You are a superb story teller! I smiled all the way through your update!
    Indeed, they is ‘we.’

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