Flowers, for me, are very evocative things. They can take me back to a special place, or a special moment every time I see them again, smell them again. So with Ailsa’s travel theme this week being ‘blossom’, it really got me thinking about past travel adventures, and the flowers that are linked inextricably with them in my mind. My travel tales are growing in number, and I am one of those people who could take photographs of flowers all day. So there were a lot of contenders!!
One of the weirder ones that came to mind is the blossom from the Cannonball tree. I saw it in a park in Singapore, but it wasn’t actually the blossom that first drew my attention. It was the sight of a towering deciduous tree trunk, with huge brown spherical growths on it…yes, the fruit do indeed look like cannonballs! But the flowers themselves were beautiful (and much more interesting to photograph than cannonball shaped fruit!). They are the size of your palm, and smell heavenly. And because the tree puts out these enormous flowers on thin little twig-like branches up and down the length of its otherwise fairly bare trunk, they are also pretty striking. The blossoms are often used by Buddhists and Hindus in offerings. Partly because of their beauty and scent, partly because the tree is considered sacred by both religions. A really interesting travel find and something I look for every time I’m back in Singapore.
Another one with a lot of travel memories attached to it? The beautiful papery blossom bouquets of the bougainvillea. I have seen these on my travels around Greece, France, Egypt, even Cape Verde. In vine, bush or tree form – this is one well-travelled plant! And it is a real beauty. These blossoms come in so many different colours, and their hot vibrancy really does make you feel in full summery holiday mode when you see them.
I’d always thought of these as a holiday flower, but bougainvillea is everywhere here in Brunei. Looking out of my office window right now, I am watching the birds hopping in and out of the tangled stems of one of our own bougainvillea vines. So it is becoming a plant that now brings me happiness at home as well as on my travels. Which is really lovely. A little piece of holiday heaven in my own back garden.