Gardening

Bird of Paradise – In Memory of Tom

In Memory of Tom

By Margaret Sheard

For the last 2 years the Bird of Paradise plant I have in my garden has flowered and each time it reminds me of Tom, the neighbour who gave Tom's flowerme the plant some 9 or 10 years ago.

The development where I live consisted of 15 bungalows, all owned by British ex-pats, and gradually most of the expats have moved on so we now have many Turkish Cypriot neighbours. When I originally moved here a near neighbour, Tom, was very helpful in doing some small jobs to help me out, for which I was very grateful and I think it was probably the second year that Tom and his wife were going away for a holiday and needed someone to look after his Bird of Paradise plants which he had lovingly grown and was tending with a controlled temperature, with only fresh water and a little special plant food.    I was asked to look after his dozen or so plants while they were away and being a very amateur gardener I was on tenterhooks in case the plants withered and died while I was looking after them.   Fortunately they didn’t and when the couple returned I was given one of the plants as a thank you.

I must admit I didn’t look after it as well as Bird of ParadiseTom did but I kept it indoors for a few years, it grew a bit but just leaves appeared and eventually I decided it should go outdoors.   After another period of time my gardener suggested it should be planted in the ground so I said go ahead.  By this time I didn’t expect very much from the plant but it did grow a lot bigger and then about 2 years ago it flowered for the first time and what a beautiful sight it was.  Thank you Tom I thought, at last my Bird of Paradise is blossoming.

This year it has just started flowering again and although only 2 flowers have yet appeared there will probably be a few more, they are so beautiful and unique.

Sadly Tom gradually suffered ill health and it was necessary for him and his wife to return to the UK where treatment and care was available for his condition, since when he has sadly passed away, but I have a lovely memory of him in my garden here in North Cyprus, which Tom and his wife both loved so much, and I hope Tom’s Bird of Paradise will continue to flourish and flower in his memory.

6 replies »

  1. Hello Margaret, I grew one of them from seed and it took four years for it to flower and on the first day it opened Shirley, bless her, knocked it during her dusting and the bud fell off. I now have three plants growing in my porch, again from seed, which are now three months old, the seeds were in my airing cupboard in the dark for six months.
    Derek

    • Thanks for the comment Derek. I hope your new ones are successful. I think Tom also grew the plants from seed but wasn’t absolutely sure. See you soon.

  2. I have two Birds of Paradise growing on my driveway . I love the exotic flower that it produces, they are also a very hardy plant . I think Cyprus weather is perfect for it as it loves the sun and should be easily grown in a sunny spot in the gardens of Cyprus. Best of luck and thank you for your story Margaret Sheard.

    • Thank you Sermen. Cyprus is probably a good environment for this plant as is Australia. I get so excited when the flowers appear, they are so beautiful.

  3. Thank you Margaret for “Memory to Tom”. It was a lovely thought. I remember so much of our little English community. We were so very happy there, Now I am making a new life without Tom and it is very difficult. I visit North Cyprus twice a year and catch up with as many friends I can. Inevitably I miss somebody out for one reason or another and this time, sorry Margaret, I missed you. I think you were out.
    Thank you again Margaret
    See you next year!!
    Jean.