It’s been a long wait!
March 22, 2017 6:40am CST
When we moved to our previous house 9 and a half years ago, we invited the neighbours round for a drink, and they came, bringing with them a ‘house-warming’ present of a small Strelitzia reginae (bird of paradise) plant, about 6 inches tall, in a pretty pot. The plant grew happily over the years, first on a windowsill and then in the conservatory. I always wanted one of these and knew they take a long time to flower, generally about 7 years from seed, so I waited… and waited. After 8 years with no sign of any flowers I began to get houseplant envy, when I saw that my neighbours had put their plant out on their patio and it was flowering freely. Six months or so ago we moved house and the plant, now taller than me, was installed in the corner of the kitchen, getting in the way of everyone who tries to walk around the table. It has less light here but it’s a bit warmer, so maybe it was that, or maybe it appreciated more company, but whatever the secret it has taken us by surprise by finally producing some flowers! Apparently in their native southern Africa these flowers are pollinated by sunbirds, which perch on the horizontal spathe from which the flowers emerge. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that these plants are as common as muck there (any comment @Inlemay?) but over here they are still quite unusual houseplants and they have brought a welcome splash of colour to our mornings! All rights reserved. © Text and image copyright Fleur 2017.
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@Fleura There is an interesting mountain variety the "Gre-noble" (sorry, the name of this city is forbidden at myLot as a bad word) walnut tree, which gives walnuts after 8 years. They are "table" walnuts, good to eat but not for oil.
There were plenty of bird of paradise plants in the garden leading to the Monte-Carlo Casino, the garden was called "La petite Afrique" (the small Africa). They had become very tall plants and I remember that the flowers lasted for long time. I have never seen them here, but I know they could not survive outside in the cold.