Monday, August 13, 2012

Bird of Paradise

A couple of years ago, we were visiting my brother Phideaux ( ) in California, and were excited to see how the little plants I grew in my greenhouse were giant hedges and trees in the yards of Hollywood. My brother had a hedge of Jade along his house, where I had a few foot-high plants. We saw Bird-of-Paradise plants all over the neighborhood, as well as waist-high ferns and banana trees. Later, back in New York, we happened upon some BoP seeds for sale in the Bronx Botanical Garden shop, and wondered if we could grow them in our greenhouse. There were two inch long seeds with orange fuzz on them, and we planted them, kept them moist, and waited. And waited. After a few weeks, nothing happened. We googled, and found that the tough outer coating of the seeds had to be cut to allow them to germinate, so Peter made a few cuts with a razor blade, and we waited some more. After a month, success! Both seeds germinated, and threw up shoots, which turned into foot-long leaves on long slender stalks. We transplanted them into ever-larger containers, and a few years later had our own big leafy plants.
As we were moving, we had to decide what to do with them,and as we were going to be temporarily in a small condo, we could not take them.The new owners agreed to let us leave some plants, so we left them in the greenhouse.

Apparently, after the closing, the new owners discovered that one of the plants had finally bloomed! And he was gracious enough to share some photos of the marvelous flowers! We are so thrilled to see them! So, with permission, I share them. Maybe some day we will grow some more! But in the meantime I am so glad the new owners will enjoy the plants! And clearly the plants are happy, too!