Friday, 17 August 2007

Shades of Red

Red is a strong colour in any landscape. Here in Trinidad, it is more common to see both flowers and foliage in bright, vivid colours. Something about the tropics doesn't lend itself to subtlety. Everything is larger than life and brighter than photoshop. Could it be that the warmth is so conducive to life that everything is more competitive?
The anthurium is about as in-your-face as you can get. As a child, I hated them because I found them so vulgar. However, they have grown on me and the sheer variety available is dizzying.

Gerberas are not indigenous to the region and, as much as I love them, they are very demanding. Almost the stereotype of the hothouse flower. They love cosseting and feeding and are vulnerable to many insects, fungi and root rot if they are kept wet. I always admire the people who grow both gerberas and roses in our tropical, humid climate. It shows an attention to detail and a nurturing that is all the more admirable because I am incapable of growing either one. Maybe I will try again.

Bromeliads belong to an enormous family of mostly epiphytic members. The most famous bromeliad in the family tree would have to be the pineapple which epitomizes the tropics. While most are indigenous to South America and the Caribbean, hybridization has created whole new generas. I think that the one above belongs to the Aechmea group which are characterized by broad fleshy leaves in a rosette and striking inflorescences that rise from the centre. If anyone knows the name please post and let me know. Propogated by means of offshoots that form from the base of the mother plant, the new babies are known as "pups". If you come by a bromeliad and treat it kindly , it will throw pups for you and enable the beginning of a collection.

This lovely vine is a member of the ipomoea family and is known locally as "red morning glory" or "princess vine". It was available for sale a few years ago and has since become very difficult to find. It is beautiful and not overpowering so it will do very well in a porch or on a small trellis. It seems to be fairly difficult to propagate. My sister-in-law Joy has had luck with seeds but has not been able to get a batch in some time. I had one at my town house before we moved to our house and it nearly broke my heart to leave it, but by that time it was well settled in the ground. I think the correct name may be I. Horsfalliae. If anyone can confirm this, please post.