Today we had to get out. The weather in southwest Florida has been chilly, going only to 70 degrees. To the natives here, that is a cold spell. So we arrived early at the Thomas A. Edison Estate. There were few people around, and they all wore masks and kept their distance. The gardens, dedicated to Tom’s wife Mina, were struggling to produce blooms in this weather.
The gardens are a big deal, although they are not extravagant. Edison planted this 108 foot tall Mysore Fig tree himself in 1923 when it was just 4 feet high. The tree has its origins in China, Southeast Asia, India and Australia.
We like to walk the grounds along the Caloosahatchee River. Edison, despite his over 1,000 patents and huge wealth, probably akin to the mega tech-rich today such as Elon Musk, seemed to be a fairly down-to-earth guy. He liked to fish, tinker, and hang out with his buddy Henry Ford who also had a winter house next door. The Edisons also had a guest house on the property.
The garden staff here have labeled every plant. There is a sign on the estate which warns of falling figs.
His house is very comfortable in its design and decor. You can walk up onto the porches and peek inside from a few portals. He and his wife had a maid and probably a gardener. They stayed all year round while he went north in the summer.
BENNY GOODMAN “Whispering” from Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite.