fragrant beginnings

Back in 2002, Debby was was going to throw this plumeria tree away because it was dead. But it had merely dropped its leaves for the winter. While our winters in Southern California are considered warm by most people’s standards, for the tropical plumeria, it is not warm enough.

The good news is that the plumeria grows leaves again come sping.

This little tree had last bloomed in 2004. I remember because it was still blooming when I moved from my granddad’s house into this new home, a mile and half from the ocean, 2 miles north of my granddad’s house. It was the year I turned 40. It was the year my granddad died. It was the year when my sister’s cancer was wreaking havoc on her life (and scaring the shit out of me). It was year of many changes.

I found what I was sure was a perfect spot on the patio, south facing for the plumeria to take most advantage of warmth and sun, and those first blooms lasted most of the month of August, my birthday month.

The following years my little plumeria tree would dutifully sprout leaves each spring, but never any flowers. And then, earlier this year I asked the plumeria vendor at the Farmers Market how to get them to bloom. He suggested a re-potting. With fresh soil. The mix for palms and cactus. Who would have thought that cactus would thrive in the same soil as a tropical plumeria… but I digress. The soil is rich but offers good drainage. I bought a new pot. And a large bag of soil.

The results are here in these photos.

plumeria birth

What the photos cannot express is
the dulcet floral scent that wafts in on the ocean breeze in the evening.

The sweet smell that takes me back to Hawaii.

To the feeling of a soft cool lei on my neck.

The feeling of a metaphor for my life that is just out of my reach… a lesson I can almost grasp but not quite.