Friday, June 20, 2008

The Great Frangipani

I will not do justice to this plant if I don't provide sufficient information about this tropical beauty. The Great Frangipani is always white in colour. Other varieties are also available in colours of yellow, pink , red and combinations of them. To my mind , however, the white variety is most appealing to the senses as a result of its extra strong scent.

This morning I woke up early to catch the early blooms and was surprised to see the frangipanis exhibiting their best . I plucked two branches with a handsome cluster of flowers at its terminal ends. Rushed back to my chalet. Found an old sea shell. Turned it upside down and pleased to see the result as below.

Way back in the 17 th century, a French botanist by the name of Charles Plumier had journeyed to the tropics and described various species of this plant. The botanic name 'Plumeria' is therefore a recognition of his studies. This plant is one of the easiest plant to propagate and grow.

Take a slightly old branch, preferably a meter long, hang it to dry its sap for a day or two before planting it in a soil mix of damp sand and peat moss. Do not water too heavily or else the succulent branches will rot . Once established fertilise them with a rich compost and decayed manure.

In Sarawak and Malaysia for that matter, the great frangipani loves the open sun and rain. They flower continuously and just recently have gained a big following among gardeners here due to its evergreen quality and heavy clusters of white flowers that they freely exhibit the whole year long.

Besides ,the white frangipani has gained a certain degree of spirituality due to its focal point and prevalence in the Balinese garden concept. Overall, I love frangipanis for its fragrance, its showability ( I mean showy character) and ease of maintenance.

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