Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Bird of Paradise

I adore the bird of paradise, not the feathered sort but the green growing variety.

I find The Bird of Paradise or Strilitza, to give it its horticultural name, magnificent. Gardening is another  passion of mine . My secret passion as I rarely if ever talk about it. My friends are in to opera, ballet, croquet, religion, most are very passionate about religion, but none of my friends is into gardening other than to pay for someone to do the weeding and cut the lawns.

For the last 34 years I  have lived in sub tropical New Zealand. The first thing I did when I bought our villa was to plant a Bird of Paradise of my own. It was hellishly expensive at $8 NZ, in 1976 and as I was paid just $68 and that had to pay for all household expenses, so at the time it was a luxury.

Although it flourished it failed to flower. Year after year went by and nothing, not a single bloom. After six years I decided to move it to another spot in the hope that it might flower and again for the next five years not a sausage as they say. Zilch!

My garden is small, too small for anything unproductive. If a plant fails to flower after a decent trial it is out. Only plants that pay their way are allowed so I spoke to my Bird of Paradise quite firmly and told it if it didn't flower in the next year I would dig it up.

To my surprise it worked. My lazy Bird flowered and has been flowering ever since. It is the most magnificent clump and now after 34 years I am going to plant two more.

Fingers crossed!

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