TROPICAL FRUIT SEASON IS HERE AT TROPICAL NURSERY
Twenty-six years ago, John Realino was an irrigation contractor and an expecting father. Working long hours late into the night wasn’t accommodating, so he changed the way he conducted his work to better suit raising his daughter. He created Tropical Island Nursery, because of her, as a sanctuary to continue his business and incorporate his family. “When she was born, she grew up running around the nursery,” he said, describing how he set up playground equipment on the grounds so he could watch her grow up alongside his trees. Now at the age of 25, Miranda Realino is still highly involved in her father’s nursery and gave me a tour of their prosperous property.
Tropical Island Nursery is an organic fruit tree nursery, which grows everything completely insecticide free. From mulberry to mango, lychee or avocado, the nursery is home to close to 1,000 fruit trees and over 50 varieties of palms. However, Realino and his staff don’t just grow the trees, he’s also a landscape installation contractor. All landscaping materials are grown under the ecosystem he’s created, where bees roam freely and no insects are harmed. “Everything lives together: lizards, frogs, turtles,” to produce a completely chemical free environment.
His team works on site to place what customer pick out, and even remove old plants they no longer want. Because of his background in irrigational, they often install sprinkling systems or redesign existing ones around the new plants. Realino mentioned he frequently collaborates with clients who bring in photos of their property, so they can start the landscaping process with dual input. He can redesign a home based on a picture, by coming into the nursery he can get opinions on what the customers like best and offer assistance on what works best with their unique set up, he offers honest advice and quality plants.
Tropical Island Nursery is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Located at 560 South Plumosa Street on Merritt Island, the nursery is a surreal atmosphere, beyond the gate, becomes quickly engulfed in paths of trees, ponds, and wildlife. Browse their property for plants, or enlist John and his staff for landscaping irrigation, sod, rock wall and more. Realino says, “Landscaping is not just a job for me, it’s an art form.”