The bird of paradise plants most of us are familiar with...from pictures and visits to local greenhouses or botanical gardens...are large and dramatic. But when I arrived in Bluefields I was introduced to others, among them a small plant which quickly became one of my favorites.
Although this little one is represented in our nursery, it's not salt-tolerant and we'll never be able to use it close to the beach which is a shame. However, planted near our piers it gives a visual punch and is the first color other than green that a visitor sees on arrival.
There are no nurseries in Bluefields. In fact the only nurseries I've found in all of Nicaragua are at Catarina, a town on the country's west side which in itself is one huge nursery because almost everybody there grows plants to sell. It's a stunning place to visit, sitting on a slope above a lake, with blooming plants everywhere. A big problem for me is that, despite its wide array, almost none of the plants is tolerant of salt-spray - I could find none for coastal planting.
So when I tried to add this small bird of paradise to our growing collection of plants, I had to beg a few plants from someone in Bluefields who had it growing in a yard. Actually I ended up being able to buy five or six plants. And then after planting it at False Bluff I learned that it doesn't thrive in the Caribbean's salty breeze.
But in a spot just away from that breeze it does thrive and in a few years we have this and a few other colonies that bloom year 'round.