Monday, February 26, 2007

Bareroot Heliconia

If I don't need a backhoe to dig it up and move it, I am willing to sell it. Here we have five starts of Heliconia indica "Spectabilis" ready to go.

Before anyone starts thinking he isn't going to leave them a bush to piss behind, I have been doing this for the last sixteen years. These five starts of this Heliconia are about one quarter of a two year old clump and I have three clumps of the H. indica.

Taking bareroot divisions of most Heliconia and many of the Gingers is an easy and quick way to get mature growth from new plants. The rhizome or underground stem is the most important part of these plants. A big fat mature rhizome is a big head start for impatient people.

This leaf is what they are after with this Heliconia, a beautiful pinstripe of pink, green and red. The whole plant has a strong red coloration to it.

Red is the most coveted leaf color it seems for the "I want Color" crowd. It jars the eye enough for people to acknowledge there is indeed color in the garden and to approach some level of satisfaction that they are gardening and designing correctly.

The flower on this Heliconia is insignificant for the most part. It is a plain red upright bloom that blends in too much with the red plant to be distinct or showy. Even the form and size of the flower is a bit on the wimpy side so it isn't much good for cutting.

But those leaves! If you want a little more drama in a tropical flower arrangement or the coolest placemats for a dinner table, this is the plant.


The County Clerk said...

Christopher... I am envious as hell of the life you seem to lead.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Hank I can assure you my life is pretty standard issue with all the usual struggles.

I can only guess what it is you envy, the warmth, the jungly abundance, making tidbits of money playing in the dirt, the marketed fantasy of a desert isle?

I envy your ability to buy a house and remodel it, maybe.

I have seen too many people die in the last six years. The message I keep getting is live for the now. This is the only life you get. Stop struggling to "Make it", whatever that means in our current culture of consumption.

Maybe it is my mid-life crisis but I do not want to spend the rest of my life working just to pay the bills. On some level I have made a conscious decision to work less and try to consume less. I have given myself permission and the time to find out if my creative side can sustain me in new ways.

That means in many ways I have to give up the notion of "security" particularly in the financial realm.

I have come to rely more upon the kindness of the universe that has always been there for me.

That could end at any moment by accident or illness, but I am incredibly fortunate to have been born in the USA. Most of the world's people are not as lucky as me.

Maybe some of that comes through on my blog.

christin m p in massachusetts said...

I know of course that everyone doesn't experience mid-life crisis in the same way, but apparently I have been affected by it in exactly the same way you have Christopher. What you said about spending the rest of your life working just to pay the bills reminds me of this quote I came across recently:

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it."
Ellen Goodman
American journalist (1941 - )

I'm hoping that some day I can get a little piece of land too -- just big enough to create one of those "homesteads" I've been reading about lately.

I'm thinking I can learn how to grow and can fruits and vegetables, and maybe learn how to take care of hens (for the eggs) and get a milking cow. I'll have to give up eating meat altogether, though, because if I raise any animals, they'll immediately get names and become my pets.

Here's a link to a homestead in Vermont that I just found today. Since Vermont is so close by, I'm thinking that I could visit there one of these days to see it in person.

Lilac Hill Homestead

Deviant Deziner said...

I came here to comment on this breathtaking Heliconia and instead feel compelled to comment on my philosophy on life instead.

One of my parents died at a pretty early age in life.
It left me with a profound outlook that life is short and to enjoy it while it lasts.

I get my enjoyment from gardening , sculpting, snow skiing , traveling and believe it or not, working in the field of landscape design.
I stubbornly keep my business small because I like to design but really dislike managing people , especially people in the office.
So I am resolved that I will never make the money that will afford me the opportunity to renovate my tiny little cottage in the manner that I dream about or that I have the opportunity to donate either my funds or my time to the organizations and movements that I feel passionate about or that I can afford good quality health insurance/ health care.

I get by .
so far.

I feel like I will probably always have to work to make the bills unless I sell my little cottage here and move to Mexico ( which is the plan ).

Retirement is not a word in my vocabulary.

Now back to those Heliconias ...
Do you think that they would survive in my zone 9a ( sunset zone 16 ) ?
If so I would be more than willing to pay you for your plants, your time and the shipping costs if you are interested in selling these beauties.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Retirement is not a likely reality for a lot of people of the boomer generations. I too expect to work or generate some income for the rest of my life. Thus my refusal to continue to work like a dog day in and day out all day long.

We'll see how that works out when I may have to get a real job on someone elses schedule in NC.

Most heliconia are true zone 11 plants. I went to find the native range of H. indica 'Spectabilis'. Heliconia indica 'Spectabilis' is native to the South Pacific islands from Vanuatu to Sulawesi, Indonesia.

I don't think it would be happy in your zone 9a Michelle. Below 50 degrees it would get pissy most likely. You have a small green house don't you? As a potted plant carted out in the warmer summer months it might work, but that would be dependent on your night time summer low temps.