Friday, January 27, 2012

PASSION FLOWERS

Passiflora
A Fortune in Houseplants Beside the Road
The gorgeous flower above blooms on the hillside at the end of the suspension bridge across the Rio Quebradas. There is only one way into our compound, and one way out. Over the bridge. Each time I walk across I marvel at the beauty of these flowers. They seem to only last a day, so there are never hundreds of them, only a few, rare as true passion itself.      
Wild Orchids
I am constantly stunned by the beauty of this place. As I used to joke when I moved to LA from places like northern California, Seattle, Montana, Texas and Boston, I am in "horticultural shock."  There in LA, the jacaranda trees floored me.  And the perfumed February evenings of Beverly Hills - I think it may have been the scent of sweet olives that so intoxicated me, that made me feel I had been transported to celestial realms.  Here in Costa Rica when the cane fields bloomed I couldn't believe my eyes.  I constantly see plants I struggled to coax to simply live thriving in the roadside ditches, staggering under blossoms in casual yards, 20 feet tall to the 12 inches they grudged me. Orchids on 15 foot stems grace my friends' backyards.  Bromeliads and ferns decorate unlikely trees.  Birds of Paradise fan out 30 feet in the air. And fruit falls into your hands from every third or fourth tree.  I know now why this is called paradise.