Every year as summer approaches, Southwest Florida eagerly awaits the arrival of the rainy season. This year, the rains started in May, and the native vegetation landscaping at Newton Park shows it. Coastal dune soil is naturally sandy, poor in nutrients, and water percolates through quickly. High-tide storm events send waves from the gulf crashing into the seawall at Newton Park and salt spray from the gulf is carried across the entire park by onshore winds. This salt spray and the occasional flooding from the big storms and hurricanes greatly limits the types of vegetation you will find naturally occurring next to the gulf. Only the toughest and most well adapted native vegetation can hack these harsh conditions.
As you walk inland from the surf, you may notice the newly sprouting stands of sea oats, now growing rapidly, their roots trapping storm and windblown sand to build the dunes not only in front of Newton Cottage but all along the beach. Nourished by the rains, beach creeper vines which had lain almost dormant through the dry season start to grow almost by the hour, their winding tendrils extending sometimes as much as 60 feet along the grounds at Newton Park. Just landward, you will find the colorful dune sunflower and blanket flowers suddenly revitalized and blooming. Farther inland, cordgrass grows beneath seagrape, coconut and cabbage palms. The radiant orange geiger trees, red coral bean and firebush are farthest inland.
Summer visitors to Newton Park have a unique opportunity to see true native Florida coastal strand and dune vegetation growing on the shores of Estero Island as it used to be.
Newton Park is located just ½ mile south of The Mound House on Estero Boulevard.
|Newton Park Sea Oats overlooking the Gulf|
|Winding Beach Creeper Vine|
|Blooming Dune Sunflowers|
Sea Grapes forming an arched canopy at Newton Park