Shirl's Gardenwatch is hosting a garden blogger's meme at her blog challenging gardeners to pick just three plants that they would have to have if stranded on a desert island. That is a tough challenge for plant nerds.
I may have a slight advantage though. I have lived on a desert island. I wasn't tossed over board and forced to swim through shark infested waters like the lepers dumped on Kalawao and Ka lau Papa at least. I lived on a desert island by choice.
A little water in the desert does wonders. Besides, we were told to ignore growing condition issues for the three plants we had to have. If we chose it, it will grow.
Etlingera elatior or Torch Ginger is one plant I would want to have. This tropical ginger relative has bamboo like canes that can reach fifteen feet high.
The flowers have to be one of the most exotic in all of the plant kingdom. The individual blooms rise alone on a leafless stalk from the thick underground rhizomes and can reach up to four feet in height.
They make great cut flowers that can last for weeks. I loved to give them to friends on birthdays and anniversaries. The long stalk was cut to a nice hand held length. The round club like flower head was reminiscent of a royal scepter. The recipient was granted the right to be king or queen for the day. Torch Ginger was fun.
My second plant choice is Trachelospermum jasminoides. In the south where I grew up this was called Confederate Jasmine. This substantial evergreen vine with glossy dark green, simple leaves would be perfect for training over an arbor to make a nice place to get out of the hot tropical sun.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
In the spring it covers itself in clusters of small, star shaped flowers with a wonderful jasmine scent to fill the warm evening air. Chuck's Hardenbergia violacea might make a great vine choice too. If only I had known about it sooner.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
You gotta have a good tree on a desert island and there is a tree that will live in my heart forever. The fully double flower form of Cochlospermum vitifolia. Native to dry tropical forests, the smooth grey trunk takes on a swollen Baobab type of look.
In mid winter after the leaves have been shed, (Yes there are deciduous tropical trees.) the Buttercup Tree will produce thousands of huge bright yellow blooms that will carpet the ground beneath it. This is another flower that will last for days without even being in water, just sitting on table tops or placed in shallow bowls.
My beautiful Buttercup Tree did have a bit of a troubled life. It got bigger than what was good for it by the powers that be. I wonder if it is still there? The world that swirled beneath it never distracted from its beauty though and I made sure some of its progeny were safely planted in new locations.
That's my trio of plant choices for life on a tropical desert isle.
Thanks Shirl. It was nice to go back for a brief visit while I wait for the shower drain to thaw so I can have a warm shower.