Our problem child has blossomed into a talented teenager this year. Though it has been a part of our garden for several years now, our frangipani tree has never been entirely happy here. But this year everything has changed. It has grown like mad, it's still covered in leaves and those wonderfully fragrant, pretty yellow and white tropical blooms. And most importantly from my gardener's point of view, it's very healthy.
I guess you could say it has been a good year for frangipanis. But these plants love Sydney, and Sydney loves them. They're in gardens everywhere, and the secret to growing them is benign neglect (plus sunshine). Just let them get on with it and they'll be fine, the experts told me. All that advice did was give me gardener's guilt, because mine wasn't healthy and happy. How could I be doing something wrong when I wasn't doing anything?
|Still covered in foliage and new flowers still coming on,|
it was a fragrant delight to take a few photos of it this morning.
|We've grown it from a cutting taken from a workmate, Krissy's,|
Sydney garden, in 2007. Krissy's renovations to her house
meant their old frangipani tree had to go. Lots of people
received cuttings, so that one tree is now the parent of many.
|This is how it looked when we planted it|
out as a big cutting in September 2008.
It had been in our hands for about a year
by this stage, and had grown well.
|No-one's complaining, of course. The tree is happy and so are|
we. We're halfway through autumn and this deciduous tree is
not going to let go of its leaves any time soon.
I have stuck to the policy of no extra food or water, but when you see a plant suffering with fungal diseases, its foliage covered in the tiny pustules of rust, it's hard to practise benign neglect. That's the thing we so many gardeners like me. We're busy-bodies. We like interfering. We can't help ourselves. And it's all the more chronic when you just love a plant so much, and frangipani is definitely one of the garden plants Pammy and I love the most. So it's very pleasing to see a whole season of continued neglect paying off at last!