Monday, May 2, 2011

Spread the joy around

An amazing thing happened in our garden recently. A plant flowered for the first time in years! What's so special about this plant? Not a lot, botanically speaking - in fact, it's quite a common plant around Brisbane and other places with sub-tropical climates. This particular plant however, has a lot of history behind it.

While the frangipani (plumeria acutifolia) only grows to around 6 x 6 metres, with white and yellow being the most common flower colour - the little branch my mum collected all the way from a friends' house in Coffs Harbour (NSW) was told to be hot-pink and yellow. Here it is, virgining on it's first bloom.

For years, my mum cosseted this plant in the cold of Toowoomba. It lived in many pots, until she transplanted it to her new home near Warwick. The frosts cut it back several times. In fear of losing it completely, mum asked if we would try transplanting her beloved frangipani in our garden. We have more of a sub-tropical climate here, so we nurtured it in the ground for over a year.

Then one day, it happened!

The flower opened, to reveal it's beautiful hot-pink and yellow petals. Not to be outdone, another bloom soon appeared...

Being autumn, it's lost a few of it's leafs in preparation for winter dormancy. I was so happy to see it's gorgeous blooms before it completely defoliates though. This particular frangipani cutting is living proof, plants were made for propagating. First starting it's life in a nursery in Coffs Harbour, finding it's way to a friend's garden there - then a cutting was brought to Queensland, where it lived in several locations, until finding it's final home in our garden.

All that moving, just to flower and bring joy to us here. I can't wait until it grows bigger so we can take cuttings for other gardens to share. Propagation is nature's way of spreading the joy around.


  1. When we were in Queensland and tne Northern parts of New South Wales, we saw paintings of frangipani everywhere! My husbands family had a tree in tne back yard but of course it wss winter and I didn't have the pleasure of seeing it in bloom. Such a beautiful flower.

    I haven't read the book " Botany of Desire" yet but it discusses the many ways that plants have evolved to survive. One way is through the seduction of humans. Frangipani would seduce me for certain!

  2. I agree, they're nothing much to look at in winter - big thick, sausage shaped branches. As a kid I thought they were ugly as.

    But of course, in the growing season they take on a whole new shape and are dripping with the most colourful flowers.

    Yes, it seduces me for sure! I reckon you're right about that little trick of evolution. ;)


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