07 October 2018

Small bird of paradise

     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.