Sunday, 3 June 2007

It's been raining on and off all day. It's amazing how much the light can change when there's so much humidity in the air. Everything looks really saturated and colourful. My Amherstia Nobilis (Pride of Burma) has survived the dry season and is thriving. When I checked this morning it has sent out even more new shoots in their characteristic pinky, rusty colour.
Pride of Burma is still a relative newcomer to the Western world as it was only discovered and classified in the early nineteenth century by Dr. Nathaniel Wallich (1786-1854), the then curator of the Calcutta Botanic Gardens. He first encountered the blooms in Rangoon (Burma) in 1826 where they had been gathered from a garden belonging to a monastery. When he does come face to face with the medium sized tree, he describes it as being "not surpassed in magnificence and elegance in any part of the world" and is "profusely ornamented with pendulous racemes of large vermilion-coloured blossoms". The flowers hang two to three feet long with each individual bloom averaging eight inches long and four inches across. My little tree is only 18 months old and has not bloomed for me yet. The photo above is from my sister-in-law Joy's garden.