In Memory of Tom
By Margaret Sheard
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 Tom 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.