Locals can spend decades whizzing past The Reef time share resort in Marathon, never giving it a second thought. From Overseas Highway, it looks like a small pod of alien ships — octagonal structures lifted into the air on pedestals.
The grounds, though, are a beautifully groomed paradise with quirky touches.
“People drive by all the time and I don’t think they understand the time and attention Lorenzo has put in this,” said Laz Flores, the manager.
Lorenzo Rodriguez has been the head landscaper at The Reef for more than two decades. He’s quiet and has a big smile and best known around Marathon for his prowess on the softball field.
He said growing up on a Dominican Republic “finca” — or farm — that anything green has always held his attention.
Rodriguez has created vignettes throughout the property. In one spot, Spanish moss grows out of a rescued tiki head. Colorful buoys and lures hang from transparent fishing line tied to the boughs of a massive mahogany tree.
“Our guests find things when they go out fishing and then bring them to me,” Rodriguez said.
The most magical spot, though, may be his nursery. It’s a carefully edited vignette complete with bleachers of new and healthy sprouts, driftwood, worn boat line and blooming orchids. It’s a workspace for sure, but disguised as another beautiful piece of landscaping.