Tuesday, May 15, 2007


While I still can, I figured I should give the people what they really really want, the exotic and the tropical.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day gathering spot is at Carol's May Dreams Gardens.

What could be more mundane and typical of Hawaii and the tropics than the Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia regina. It is primarily a warm season summer bloomer. The common name can be a problem at times. Bird of Paradise is a catch all name for many people for that amorphous, imaginary, tropical plant that floats on the edges of their non-gardening brains. It can be a game of twenty questions to try and guess what they really mean.

Calathea insignis, the Rattle Snake Plant. I think I need to take some pictures about half an hour earlier with a touch more light. This flower is truly a vibrant corn on the cob yellow.

Heliconia collinsiana, one of the hanging Heliconia.

Etlingera elatior, the Royal Scepter of flowers. Bye bye Torch Ginger. You have been passed to new gardens whose owners may bestow the status "Queen for a Day" with the gift of one of your heavy blooms on a special occasion.

The ethereal Ice Blue Calathea, Calathea burle-marxii.

Blue Ginger, Dichorisandra thyrsiflora. This is a shrub sized relative of the Wandering Jew family. Mine is about eight feet tall.

What would a visit to Hawaii be without a chance to stop and smell the Plumeria.

An old friend from my home in Florida, the blush pink Zephyranthes grandiflora. This Zephyr Lily is quite happy in Hawaii. It sets seed with abandon and is primed to blanket the island with its delicate and cheerful blooms. I could be cursed or blessed. Opinions may differ.

I think it is a fine thing.


Yolanda Elizabet said...

Tropical blooms pretty, very pretty! I have Dutch blooms, also pretty. ;-)

Crafty Gardener said...

What a lot of beautiful blooms you have, some so tropical they would never grow in my garden. Stop by and see my slideshow of spring blooms.

M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) said...

I love the idea that we live on the same planet and our gardens are so completely different, as alien to each other as two different planets. Take that science fiction writers.

mss @ Zanthan Gardens

Annie in Austin said...

We're going to miss seeing these lovely tropical plants, Christopher, but as Tony Avent has proved, North Carolina is a plant paradise - with so many wonderful plants to grow.

As a Northerner, when anyone mentioned Bird of Paradise what came to my mind was your Strelitzia...it doeasn't grow in Illinois, but it was common in greenhouse gardens and as cut flowers.

When I came to Texas, people kept pointing out a different plant and calling it Bird of Paradise - soon I realized that name means Caesalpinia down here.

Good luck with the plant selling and the packing~
Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Robin said...

Beautiful tropical flowers. Reminds me of my visit to the Big Island several years ago.

Deviant Deziner said...

It's been a while since I had a chance to comment on your blog , but I have been checking in.

What a visual treat to see such beautiful tropical flower photography and the accompanying essays.

I think I am going to miss seeing this tropical paradise more than you when you leave for the main land.

I've so enjoyed visiting !


Susan Harris said...

fabulous photos!! S

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

If I am lucky I may get a few days to relax before I go and may do some walk abouts like Chuck B at Whoreticulture.

I can see you all really really like the exotic tropicals. Ho hum. Been there done that. (He lies to himself.)

Why do we gardeners always covet what we can't grow? I think I am having some Salvia envy right now. We can grow many of them here of course, but this is to an extent a horticultural wilderness, controlled by restrictive import/export agricultural inspection laws, for good reason.

Carol said...

We at least have in common the Zephyr lily, though I call them fairy lilies. Same thing?

Love all the tropicals, they are so pretty and different from what we can grow in temperate climates, but then, you can't grow peonies or lilacs!

Thanks for participating in bloom day!

Layanee said...

Chris: Bird of Paradise is only mundane in Hawaii! It is a beauty as are all your other photos. How exciting to be moving to a place with a totally different plant palette! When is the move?

Pam said...

If you need some salvia, I have plenty in my South Carolina garden that I am willing to share! I so enjoy seeing the images of the tropicals in your garden (they really are amazing - the blue!) but like in your most recent post, I am attached to the gardens of the south now - the live oaks and hydrangeas and salvias and magnolias - there is a fragrance and a color to them that has gotten under my skin.