About a month ago I lost my Easter lily vine — the one that was looking so good. I had bought a new pot for the solandra, and the chaps who sell the pots persuaded me to buy a new one for the Easter lily as well, citing its slightly chartreuse leaves as a sign that it was overheating in its plastic pot. I doubted that it was overheating, as I had (and have) loads of other plants that are just fine and dandy in plastic. But the flowerpot men had a lovely big ceramic pot, and given how big the vine can grow, and the fact that it had reached a height where I was going to start twining it around the fence, making any future repotting a difficult prospect, I decided to go for the pot swap.
The chaps did the repotting themselves, in their singularly brisk idiom. I was slightly concerned, but the perfume flower tree which they had also repotted for me had survived without missing a beat, so I thought I ought not to worry so much. However, within a day of repotting — indeed within 12 hours, if I recall correctly — the vine’s leaves drooped, and it never recovered. I thought it was perhaps planted too deep, so a few days into its decline I raised it, and noted that it had grown very little in the way of roots, despite having shot up tall above ground. This rescue attempt having made no difference (except perhaps to hasten its demise?) when I at last removed its sad dead stem a few days later and took a good look at it, there really seemed to be only one main root and a few much smaller ones, and the main root was damaged near its join with the stem. I fear the wound may have been made by the trowel I had given the men to help release the plant from its old pot.
I felt awful — very guilty and sorry for the plant, and mad at myself for having lost it. I went to Chatuchak to buy another, but nobody had one for sale, since they aren’t currently in flower — and won’t be until December. I can still go to the Or Tor Kor market, where the shops are permanent, and see if somebody has one lurking around. In the meantime, however, I’ve bought a Giant Pinwheel Tree (as in, its flowers are giant pinwheels; the tree isn’t a giant — it came home with me in a taxi, roots in front and branches in back). Stu and I very carefully installed it in the pot I bought for the late Easter lily, and it seems to be fine. Its flowers have a beautiful, unusual spicy scent, just like Peru balsam.
I also bought two crimson crape myrtles that are now in front of the porch flanking the doorway, and a mauve hibiscus that I’m pretty sure is an Australian native (technically not a hibiscus but an alyogyne, but close enough). I put it next to a vivid yellow hibiscus, and the colour combo looks great. I also bought a morning glory and hung a trellis on the fence for it to grow up.
I think the daturas have done their dash. I had hoped that in this climate they’d be perennials, but I guess they really are annuals after all.
I was going to buy caladiums, but for some reason they’re more expensive than many other plants here. As a cheap alternative — and a very cheerful one, I think — I went for some coleus, four different ones, and put them all in a pot together. I did splurge, however, on a hydrangea, and also picked up a smaller and cheaper one. Nothing says home, and grandmothers, and all the rest of all that I miss, like hydrangeas. These aren’t the blue globes of my jardins du temps perdu (so underappreciated by me at the time, so cherished now that temps are perdu), but smaller and paler, almost moonstone-coloured — and, the vendors told me, heat-tolerant and unaffected by soil pH.
The rose is growing well, though hasn’t flowered in the last three months or so, and the maple-leaf hibiscus is entirely recovered from its aphid episode. It is growing tall, and I do hope it flowers again.
Last but not least, I bought a young green jade vine, which when it gets going looks like wisteria from the planet of the space dragons. I tried making a wire trellis for it to grow across the porch, a job which I thought would be fairly easy, but which turned out to be a right mongrel, with the wire getting all tangled and whipping around, assaulting other plants and generally not being at all tractable. In the end I just made a ladder for it up one porch post, which I’m now not happy with. I think I either want to wind the vine around the post or just get another trellis and hang it from the porch frame.