Friday, September 26, 2008


The first time I saw a Plumbago flower was at the nursery when I was stocking up on plants after moving to Mumbai. It was love at first sight, and within a week of getting the plants home, a generous splash of violet added a much needed colour accent to my window-sill.

Strangely, after bringing the plant home, I started spotting it everywhere – outside a swanky showroom near Andheri market, on the window sill of a house I passed everytime I went to the market, outside the photo studio. How the plant had managed to disguise itself so thoroughly till I came under its spell is one of those mysteries unlikely ever to be solved.

Finding out what the plant was called took some doing – I had to look through dozens of thumbnails of blue/ violet coloured flowerers before locating this one – but once I had the name, there was a mine of information to be found.

Did you know that Cape Leadworth, as it is commonly known, was introduced to the capital city of Greece as a part of the beautification plan of the city prior to the Olympic Games, and that the flowers and the city are now almost synonymous with each other? I did not know that either, and finding that out did elevate the status of blue jasmine from that of a prolific bloomer to that of a semi-exotic import.

My Plumbago plants flowered faithfully all year round – I would go for weeks without any other flower, but blue jasmine I never had to do without.

Then, in March, almost without warning, the plants both dried up – the leaves turned a brittle brown and the shoots became little more than just twigs. I kept trimming off the dead branches, but even though I knew the plants had no life left in them, I could not bring myself to pull them out and re-use the pot for something else.

Two weeks later, while plucking off the dead leaves, I sighted a speck of green. I tried not to get too excited about it, but couldn’t help myself. Barely a couple of weeks later, the resurrected plant gave me its first flower.

One plant has passed on, but the other one has filled up the entire pot, and my window sill is once again alive to the dash of colour.

1 comment:

Joy said...

I too have a soft spot for Plumbago. I have a bed of it outside my front door. The white one are nice, but I much prefer the pale blue and lavender (if that's what colour it is)


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