Like caladium, anthurium are a tropical I never could get into. I have a penchant for freakish, alien plants, but there is something about their waxy, fake phalus-like appearance that bugs me. They just seem so Hollywood — the plastic surgery disasters of the plant world.
Last year’s trip to Dominica changed that. There, for the first time, I saw anthurium growing in their natural habitat. It turns out they live in the jungle, alongside streams where it is very humid and the soil is moist. In that environment they don’t look fake at all.
There, surrounded by a lush green backdrop, where everything is waxy and shiny, they blend right in and it seems perfectly normal to come upon a flower that looks like one of Madonna’s performance outfits, or that neon t-shirt I wore back in 1985.
I took all of these photos at Papillote Wilderness Retreat in Dominica. They have an amazing garden that has been very naturally integrated into the forest landscape. It was by far the best and most inspiring garden I saw on any of the three islands we visited. If you get a chance to visit Dominica, do not miss out and make sure you give yourself at least a full day to explore it. We only had a few hours and it wasn’t nearly enough time.
Don’t forget about the Holiday Drive for House of Hope in Dominica. We’ve met the original goal but the need is much greater than that. I am still giving out raffle tickets until December 18, 2010.