I thought I’d post a sunny photo today since we’ve been living under grey skies all week and I’m about to collapse into a no-sun, low-energy coma. Although, scrolling through folders of photos of us frolicking in the Caribbean a few months ago is kind of miserable in its own way.
I took this photo on the first of a short four-day stay in Barbados, where I saw lots of wonderfully fragrant fragipani (Plumeria) trees in bloom. If you have never smelled a real frangipani bloom I hope you get the chance someday. They are extremely sweet, soft and rich. For many they epitomize tropical floral fragrance.
We walked for miles through the countryside on that first day trying to see as much as we could. It’s a good thing I soaked it all in while I had the chance because I don’t believe I saw a single frangipani through the following three weeks. Frangipani plants do not like their roots to be waterlogged. Barbados has a MUCH drier climate than Dominica so I figure that has got to be the reason.
Here’s a link to the photo and story of the very first frangipani plant I had a chance to see and smell, ten years ago.
Yesterday afternoon I was invited into the apartment of a fellow Parkdale resident to check out her collection of fascinating and unusual plants. The visit brought the plant junky in me out in full force. I went home conspiring to get my hands on a few of those amazing plants myself and then spent the remainder of the afternoon rearranging and caring for the gazillions of houseplants I do have. Visits to other peoples’ gardens never fail to motivate me to do better by my own plants.
Mesembs in the front window.
Erika collects alpines, Mesembs (conophytum & lithops aka living stones are examples), Gesneriads (not African violets), orchids, and euphorbias. Looking back on our conversation, I’m not completely certain that she is exclusive to those plant families. Most of her collection just seems to fall within those categories. When I asked her what inspired her collection, she replied that she has always loved diminutive plants. The perfect-sized plants for an apartment dweller.
Conophytums are a South African plant that consist of two fused leaves. That’s pretty much it. They’re some of the most simplified and reduced plants I have ever seen.
They kind of look like doughy buns. Or really cute anatomical models of the cervix. Apologies for putting that image into your head, but frankly, that’s what I see when I look at one.
Conophytum bergerii (red) and Conophytum ratum (green).
Say what? These freakish things remind me of jelly candies or those stinky jelly air fresheners everyone had in their bathrooms in the late 70s. When I was a kid, I could never help opening up the plastic cover and poking them. I REALLY wanted to poke these too but that would have been very rude. The flower (yes they do flower) comes up between the two “leaves.” I can barely distinguish where that is on the red one.