Garden, Plant, Cook!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bird of Paradise - One of My Few Ornamentals

Dear Folks,

Isn't she gorgeous!

Taken today September 17, 2013, I do not have many ornamental-only plants in the garden because I want to concentrate on food-producing plants.

As with some of the other ornamental plants (like the Amaryllis bulb my dad gave me back in the early 1980's), this beautiful dwarf bird of paradise has a story.

By the way, the dwarf bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) has the prettiest flower, I think.  The giant bird of paradise has a blue/white flower and is not nearly as showy. The plant family is part of the a large family which includes ginger.

When I moved to Arizona I was taken with the possibilities of what could be grown here, but as I was in an apartment, I had no real room to try out some things.  On the other hand the office I worked in at the time had a large picture window in the front.  I happened across a package of bird of paradise seeds and thought I would try to grow them.  So I potted them up and one of the seeds germinated and took off.

This was in late 1976 or early 1977.  I then carried the plant around in one succeedingly larger container over the years keeping it inside or outside as the conditions of my home allowed.

I finally planted at our home about 8 or so years ago.  These plants need a certain number of leaves to produce enough energy to create this large flower.  It bloomed for the first time 3 years ago and we promptly had the first killing freeze in 20 years!!

The plant went to the ground but I was hopeful.  It came back, then got somewhat frozen again this past winter but did not go completely to the ground.

This and 2 other flower spikes which have not yet opened are only the second time it has bloomed for me in the 37 or so years I have trundled the poor thing around.  So I found her happy spot and hope to enjoy blooms in succeeding years.

. . .

Coming Up

Bye-Bye Buzzards Food Sample Fun at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Free Seed Share at the Mesa Community Farmers Market

Ground to Table Class at Smiling Dog Landscaping.

See my website page for links.

www.herbs2u.net



-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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