Hibiscus holiday

It is time for us to visit the tropical north again. Not only do we escape the mountain cold for a short while but it offers us an opportunity to see my family and catch up with friends.
For the first few days it rained. I wore my grey, woollen jumper and wondered when the sun would warm me. Not to miss an opportunity to find new plants, I ventured into the old garden . 
  The fragrant roses and sweet peas have since gone and so too has the veggie garden and the old mango tree. All these have now made way for tropical survivors.  The crucifix orchid is one of these. They spring up in just about everyone’s Queensland garden. If you look closely you will see what resembles a small upright “cross” on each cluster of flowers.

We never had bromiliads in my childhood garden but they do grow so well here. (I have one poor specimen back home on the Mount which I must keep sheltered from frosts.) Common “bird of paradise” have also overtaken the front garden beds.

I guess I always associate the tropical garden with at least  one hibiscus tree. Reminiscent of Hawaian and Tahitian cultures, these are brilliant flowers in a variety of bold colours and able to survive in this harsh climate. The flowers can be used as a medicinal tea and in ancient cultures were offered up to the gods. I used to always be disappointed that once picked, they would close up and prematurely lose their splendour.

While we have been away a good friend of ours revealed an unexpected health challenge. This bold hibiscus is a little fragile now, battered by its climate but its courage and beauty have been revealed – it is a survivor.

My thoughts go out to all those who have a heavy cross to bear – may their friends and family be the mesh that supports them at this vulnerable time.

Enjoy the beauty of each day. Our hibiscus holiday continues.

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