Living here in Oregon, I really miss the sights and fragrances of home. I used to be able to walk outside our front door and smell plumeria flowers by the hundreds. Just outside the back door was a huge red hibiscus bush. I’d frequently take blossoms from each one of them to put in my hair; sometimes I’d make lei out of the plumeria blossoms.
Whenever possible, much to Nolemana’s chagrin, I haunt nurseries for tropical plants that I have a reasonable chance of keeping alive in this Pacific Northwest climate. During the winter, our dining room becomes a solarium of sorts, crowded with Angel’s Trumpet (I have two of them ), a Bird of Paradise, Kahili Ginger, and a red hibiscus.
During the summer, the plants can all go outside, and we reclaim the dining room. Well, I do, that is. It’s full of wool and alpaca fleeces, and boxes of yarn. But I digress.
I rejoice when my tropical plants are full of blooms; last year the hibiscus bloomed all summer, as did the Daturas (though they’re late bloomers). The Bird of Paradise has yet to bloom, but it’s healthy and I keep hoping.
Yesterday for Mother’s Day, Nolemana and I went to Al’s Garden Center, just up the road from us. He wanted to get me something for Ka L‘ Makuahine, and we wandered around the plethora of colors trying to find that perfect plant.
Suddenly, I saw some hibiscus bushes! And they were 25% off! I was thrilled, and knew that that’s what I’d like to have. Nolemana kind of groaned, because he knew it would mean yet another plant in the dining room this winter.
Really, I don’t even know why we call it a dining room. We never eat there except when we have company. Which isn’t very often because then it means I have to figure out what to do with all the stuff ontop da table!
The hibiscus was a pretty shade that I’d never seen before; so we… I mean Nolemana… got a cart and loaded it up with the bush.
We headed toward the cash register, when I suddenly spied this:
An anthurium! Red ones, just like back home! I stood there, feeling just a bit embarrassed by the tears that suddenly ran down my cheeks and feeling so homesick for the land of my birth.
Nolemana came over and asked what it was, and which color (there were several) I liked the best, and I said, “Oh, the red one!” And bless his heart, he put it up on the cart alongside the hibiscus.
We came home and put the pots in, yep, the dining room/wool room/solarium. I was very pleased, knowing how lovely they’d be looking this summer.
Earlier in the day, my special friend, Julie, called me from the Milwaukie Farmers’ Market with exciting news. There was a grower there who had a special plant, and did I want it? I checked with Nolemana. Oh please, please, please! He didn’t really know watdaheck I was talking about, but said okay.
At church last night, Julie and I traded: my new plant for a check. (I think I got the better deal.) I was so grateful to her for noticing something so special and calling me about it. She told me that she’d said to the grower, “She’ll just love this!”, referring to me. He said, “Oh… is she from Hawai‘i?” Just because of what it was!
Today I took photos of everything. The sun shone through the clouds for a few minutes, and I got these wonderful shots:
New flower peeking out behind unfurling new leaf:
Da hibiscus blossom dat wen open today. I am extremely pleased with these next two shots.
And try look the one from Julie! Any guesses what it is?
Try look this shot.
U know wat is yet? Try look da blossom again.
I going post da answer in da next couple of days.
Pikake? Wonderful story about your mother’s day outting to fetch your scented gifts. You are certainly blessed to have a sensitive hubby like that and a thoughtful friend.Truly blessed 😀
Ahh! Sweet pikake! I’m surpised it’s growing on the mainland. It usually likes hot and dry climates. Nice seeing your assortment of native Hawaiian plants. Hope they all will do well.
Ah, I too miss fragrances from home. I look forward to when the jet door opens and you get that first whiff of non-airplane air as you step out in Honolulu-that heavy, humid, floral smell.
My grandparents used to grow anthuriums, so seeing them always gives me a wave of homesickness. And my dad grows a hibiscus right outside the lanai door that looks like that. Sigh.
Congratulations on all your plant scores!
You got it first, Izzie! And Sandy, you’re right behind her. Yep, it’s pikake! I could hardly believe it when Julie called and said, “There’s this plant here called “Pikake Jasmine”… do you want it?” She’d never seen pikake before, and she gets a huge finder’s prize. It’ll bloom all summer, the grower said. And yes, Nolemana, it comes in during the winter. Heh heh.
oooh. i guess i need to make special trip to Milwaukee to see if I can find one too. I’m still working on getting my plumerias to grow. Most survived the winter, but they don’t really like it here.
Oh wow, sound like u git wun Hawaiian dining room instead of wun place fo’ grind. But eh, eyes grind too u no. We wen try wit da Hibiscus hea but seem like Jutta no moah luck wit dem. Deh always maki on us. Oh well, we happy fo’ u tho. m/
ah, honey, I am homesick FOR you and I grew up in Texas. Good man you got there!
This is a sweet story. And thanks for the Hawaiian spelling lesson!
Thanks so much for coming to visit my farm. I think you are right about my mystery plant. Although it is done blooming now and it is lots bigger than my other Azalea.
Your page is beautiful!
How is your ginger doing? I bought one of those silly pre packaged ones when I was home (never would have THOUGHT of touching one of those things when I lived there!) and it’s sitting in it’s pot of soil not doing much of anything, although it’s little sprout nub is getting shades of purple on it , like it’s getting ready to grow….
I’d soooo love to have the smell in my hale, it reminds me of my teenage job picking Heliconia and Gingers at the flower farm in the morning. Man, I was pretty imune to the mosquitos, but I’d still get bit like crazy!
Also I’ve been trying to find a night blooming jasmine, My neighbor when I was a kid had one and it woud make the whole neighborhhod smell sweet.
I got a pretty Orchid sent here last trip too, it just finished it’s last blossom, now I have to wait until next year.