When we first met Filiberto Reid, the
gentleman, and we do mean "gentle man", who owned the property now known as TropicRiverWoods
Arboretum, little did we know that he would become the integral cog of the
wheel. Had Filiberto not appreciated our vision of his property, he
would not have sold it to us (he did not need to). As if that was not
enough, Filiberto actually took it upon himself to start suggesting ways to
improve the property and, having lived there his whole life of 62 years,
Filiberto knows just about everyone in town.
Our first attempt at growing plants from seeds
and seedlings at the property ended abruptly, and dishearteningly, due to
the sheer heat and lack of alternative watering sources, both of which either did not allow the seeds to
germinate or killed most of the seedlings. Filiberto suggested that he
start the seeds in plastic bags and keep them at his house, under a
spreading guava tree. This was his first of many sound suggestions and
began his own personal involvement in the project. Still today our
seedlings are being started that way (see picture at right). He also
suggested putting in a watering system, that he could do it himself so that
during the dry season (November to June) he could use a sprinkler system as
the need arose.
His knowledge of the land, and the
people, has made it possible for TropicRiverWoods to begin taking shape.
He is as dedicated to the project as anyone could be and, being retired, has
the time and energy to assist wherever needs be.
If it was up to only our few days here and
there that we can afford to be away from our daily routines that, although
necessary for the future of the project, does hinder our ability to afford
the time and work on the arboretum that it needs, and deserves, we cannot
envision where the property would be today without Filiberto.