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:
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. (http://www.penick.net/digging/?p=9908)
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.
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?