Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I mentioned that the recent rains have been producing an abundance of magnificent blooms on our hibiscus bushes.
Hibiscus grow really well on Norfolk Island. We grow a great variety of them here, from the endemic Phillip Island Hibiscus (which changes from pale green to pink) to the little common red one to the great big and showy Hawaiian hibiscus. I am not sure why they are called "Hawaiian"......maybe the cultivars were developed there. But when we went to Hawaii, the blooms were small and scrawny compared to the way they grow here.
A Hibiscus expert from Queensland spoke to our Garden Club. He gave us all the instructions for growing healthy hibiscus - preparing the soil, what to feed them, how to prune them etc. Then he finished by saying that we could safely forget everything he had said, because they seemed to grow beautifully here no matter what!!
Hibiscus flowers generally only last a day or so, on or off the bush, in or out of water. But that doesn't stop us gathering them in abundance whenever we want a quick show of colour. We pile them in the centre of the table for a dinner party. Mind you, one must be wary of the ants. The little creatures love to gather deep inside the flowers, and unless you give them a good shake when you first pick them, you are likely to have ants join your dinner party!
You can stick the blooms onto the thorns of a wild lemon branch to make a showy spray, or poke the stalks through the holes in a large monsterio leaf to decorate a wall for a function. The tour buses even line them up along the dashboard when they take our visitors around the island.

And of course, you can always tuck one behind your ear!


Maureen said...

The hibiscus tucked behind the ear with your grass skirt and lei?!!!

allie aller said...

Hibiscus for you are like roses for just can't stop a rose from growing around Portland, Oregon!
I'd love to see you photograph some flowers and then print that onto fabric, something I've been playing with for a few years. The hibiscus would be amazing!
Or at least, take some photos of arrangements and let us print them?

Gillian said...

We have a sturdy red hibiscus in the front but with quite a few frosty nights in winter it's hard to get a new one to last. I shall try again this spring because they are such beautiful showy blooms.
Cheers Gillian

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