I can feel it in the air. Just today I noticed that a few more green bits had forced their way above the soil surface outside. Spring will be here soon and for some of you it has already arrived. In the meantime, these flowers have been helping me through. Their colourful, long lasting blooms have been a nice respite from the dreary monochromatic gloom of winter.
I came upon this gorgeous Passiflora trifasciata on my first day in Thailand and was completely floored by it. I had no idea that such a gem existed. The leaves look like big bird feet!
Passiflora is known primarily for its gorgeous flowers and deliciously exotic fruit. The leaves have a nice shape, but I find them to be a bit boring overall. I had never seen one before this that is clearly all about the foliage. When given a choice, I tend to favour foliage over flowers. Flowers come and go, but interesting foliage holds your interest almost indefinitely, depending on the plant (and your climate). Being short on space, I prefer to keep plants that give me something to look at for longer periods of time. Ugly, ragged stages of plant development don’t hide well when there is no behind-the-scenes area in which to hide them.
Of course, being a plantoholic through and through, I want one. Immediately. I figure if I can tolerate the inconvenience required to overwinter a very large passionfruit vine with pretty flowers but boring leaves in the hallway outside the door of a cramped apartment for three years running, then surely I can keep this one now that I’ve got more space.
And yet another door is opened. Over the weekend I was chatting with a fellow gardener and thrifting friend about how you can find interest in certain collectibles, but you stay away from buying even one because you don’t want to open the floodgates to a new obsession. It’s okay to admire that jug, bowl, or plant from a distance with a certain amount of interested detachment, but inviting one into your home and life is a dangerous first step towards an appearance on the show Hoarders.
Having more space and an evolving mindset has unleashed the Kraken inside of me, so-to-speak. There are so many plants that I am either going back to with a renewed passion, or am allowing myself to try for the first time ever. Friends, these are interesting, albeit dangerous times.
I’m generally not a big-leaved tropicals person. It’s not that I don’t like them, it’s more that I like to see them rather than grow them.
As a city dweller, I’ve never had much garden space available to me. And, well, big-leaved plants are terribly GIGANTIC. They are also tropical, which means they need a warm and humid place to overwinter indoors. My living spaces are small and dry. As a result, I’ve simply opted out of growing these plants. I oooh and awe at them while visiting greenhouses or tropical locals, but I’ve always managed to keep a mental distance from them. These are plants for looking and looking only.
And then I went to Thailand.
A lush balcony garden in Bangkok.
From the glittery, tiled temples to the lush, statuesque plants, everything in Thailand is BIG and FABULOUS. Even in a congested metropolis like Bangkok, the Thai people still manage to find the space to go big. Now there is no excuse left and I want to go big, too.