Reminders of Generosity

Almost three years ago, my husband and I stopped for lunch at the little Baja restaurant whose sign is pictured above, and I immediately noticed the prolific vine covering the fence out front. Its orange blooms overpowered even the adjacent bougainvillea, and I snapped several pictures.

As I approached, I noticed some Queen butterflies nectaring on the blooms and loved the brilliant tone on tone effect:

queen on flame vine, baja

Once we entered, the roadside restaurant was quiet, the inexpensive food turned out to be delicious, and its proprietors were quite friendly, and I asked–in my ungrammatical and faulty Spanish–if I could purchase some of the basil I’d also noticed growing outside. We love to make pesto and basil is not always easy to find in Baja.

They said they’d be glad to simply give me some and sent their daughter (and waitress) outside with me. She started to pull up an entire three foot tall plant by its roots to give to me–such was the family’s generosity–but I stopped her and explained I only wanted a handful of leaves for my “salsa italiana.”

The nearby poinsettia plants were impressive as well:


I treasured the photos from that day’s visit, and I kept thinking of that beautiful vine, believing that, like the poinsettias and bougainvillea, it would be too tropical a plant for my zone 8B garden back in Texas, until months later I ran across a mention of it in the wonderful gardening blog Digging written by Austinite Pam Penick. (
From her post, I found out its apt name: Mexican flame vine.

And I started to think, maybe . . .

Last spring, while browsing plants for my new backyard landscape, I visited a local nursery and was delighted to see Mexican flame vines for sale, so I brought home two specimens to plant.

By fall, not only did I have two vines which had thrived in the heat and strong sunlight of summer (I’m hoping they’ll survive this current coldish winter), I also had Queen butterflies visiting their bright blooms as well.

queen butterfly on Mexican flame vine

All that warm orange reminds me of Baja and the hospitality of its people, speaking to me of the bright flame of their generous spirit.


Do you have associations with certain plants? Do certain flowers remind you of particular people, for example?

Whose generosity has surprised you in an unexpected place?

7 thoughts on “Reminders of Generosity

  1. Love the flower photos and your thoughts on generosity. Years ago at the Ingram Dam Cafe, I stopped to tell a young woman how beautiful her bright red shirt with the huge black Chinese dragon design was to me. She immediately started taking it off to give to me. (she did have a tank top on underneath!) When I said I couldn’t possibly accept the shirt from her, she asked me with eyes that looked straight into my soul…”Would you deny a gift from me?”

    I was speechless for a moment, then accepted her shirt as a gift and invited her and her friend back to my house for coffee. It was an amazing exchange that I still cherish – how a “stranger” taught me to receive with grace!

    • What a lovely story! I’ve been sitting here trying to think of an adequately eloquent reply, but I give up. I’ll just be content to enjoy and ponder what you’ve said and consider what gifts I deny every day. I have some serious learning to do! Thank you, Anne. 🙂

  2. Chris, Your gifts as a writer and a person shine especially brightly in this post. (The photos are lovely too!) Thank you for brightening my day–I could hear your voice as I read, which was a special treat. Hugs to you and Ron there in the Baja sun….

  3. Chris ~ Please help me get on your blog. I have tried several times but somehow it’s just not working. Dear Linda forwards them to me. I want to be one of your groupies!
    Big hug ~ MB

    • Hi, Mary Beth!

      Thank you for such a compliment–I am so glad you’re enjoying the blog.

      I just put your e-mail address in–have you received a confirmation e-mail? If you don’t receive one soon, please let me know and I’ll try to figure it out. My guess is that your computer has some settings which are blocking your attempts at signing up.

      Hugs to you, Chris

      • I’m in! An official member of the Chris Bradley and her marvelous writing club! Thanks so much.
        xoxo MB

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