“We keep things on the grow.” This is how Chair Nancy Fehr summarized the mission for the East Ridge at Cutler Bay Beautification Committee, one of several resident groups directly involved with village improvements and services.
For Nancy and resident volunteers, suggesting ways to maintain an “old Key West” look is an ongoing responsibility to enhance landscaping and beautification projects throughout the expansive tropical community.
It’s why you’ll see bougainvillea sprouting around the new exterior clapboard-styled homes in one area a nd native South Florida tropical plants and trees replacing evasive species elsewhere.
Clearing non-native growth from the rock pineland area of the eight-acre “Larch Hammock” with the East Ridge property is a year-round task for “Fehr & Friends” who make sure the area is kept in a natural state. It’s a home for rare gopher turtles, red foxes and butterflies. Thriving coontie plants, nourished by caterpillars, become the home of the endangered Atala butterfly with blue-spotted black wings, a winged palette of color.
Another task is keeping intact the “palmetum,” a garden of tropical palms located in the 1100 block of East Ridge. Originally planted by an East Ridge couple who traveled worldwide collecting rare species, the “Palmetum” is a tranquil setting with a meandering foot path and benches.
A 12-year resident and a Fairchild Tropical Gardens volunteer, Fehr welcomed the community’s offer to provide regular input for landscaping around the new Health Center now under construction.
“We were pleased when management asked us to provide suggestions for the Center as well as the pilot “Key West Look” program,” she concluded. “We really appreciate having our committee provide direct input to help both community renovation and preservation efforts.”