Flamboyant

Flamboyant flower

BY KIMBERLY MAYER

 

I make too much of houses, I know that. I always have. So on a recent visit to the Virgin Islands to try to locate four homes I had lived in nearly forty years ago, I ran into a wall. Four walls, to be precise.

We hired a driver for a couple hours to help scout out the homes. But what I remembered were the names of the bays, not the roads. The views, not the directions. Mostly what I remembered was every little detail about the homes.

Well none of them were there, or none of them could be found. Hurricanes, developers, or my faulty memory had conspired to remove them all. We were free to pursue other interests. Such as the flora.

And for the first time—mind you, I had lived there for two full years—I took note of the tropical plants and trees. I can say that while I had always appreciated the natural beauty around me, I’d never studied the vegetation or learned many names. And as every gardener knows, knowledge of plants only increases one’s pleasure in the garden.

Years later in moving east to Philadelphia from California, I brought with me a comprehensive knowledge of Mediterranean plants. I could walk through the conservatories at Longwood Gardens identifying, and feeling at home with, my Mediterranean friends. I carried nothing like this back with me from The Virgin Islands.

The fact is, I hadn’t started gardening yet. I was in my twenties in St. Thomas, starting a shop, running a shop, and had nothing in common with Tilly-hatted, kahki-clad women kneeling on kneepads with tool bags by their side. In my free time I was literally and figuratively at the beach.

Interest in gardening is an age thing perhaps. I took it up when I had children so they might inherit it, and I took it up with fever. Later still, I wrote a manuscript around it. A couple weeks ago in Boston I found a literary agent for that gardening memoir at GrubStreet’s The Muse and the Marketplace writer’s conference. From Boston I flew directly to the Caribbean. I thought a fresh take on the houses would refreshen my book, but it’s the flora and foliage that did it.

Nature is what survives somehow, I should have known that. Nature is all that matters.

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments

Filed under gardening, tropical plants and trees

6 responses to “Flamboyant

  1. Often we forget about the beauty surrounding us on this island, maybe because we are to used to it and busy with our lives. Every so often something reminds us to stop and smell the flora… like this post did. I’ll look at my island a little differently. Looking forward to reading your book after I pick it up at Griffin Bay. I think I know a guy who might be able to get me the author’s autograph.

  2. Honestly, Kim. Nature Is all that matters. Well that and my friend Kim has an agent. I am thrilled for you. You have a beautiful book and now it gets to be seen and read by others. I hope you can feel me with an ear to ear and deep into my belly smile. Much love and congratulations.

  3. Alice B. Acheson

    So? Who is your agent? What’s the title of your memoir? How’s a publicist to spread the word without that info?

    BRAVA! Alice

    ========== Alice B. Acheson, Book Marketing/Publicity Specialist P. O. Box 735 Friday Harbor, WA 98250 360/378-2815 http://sites.google.com/site/alicebacheson a little elbow room wrote on 5/18/2016 1:49 PM: > WordPress.com > a little elbow room posted: ” BY KIMBERLY MAYER I make too much of > houses, I know that. I always have. So on a recent visit to the Virgin > Islands to try to locate four homes I had lived in nearly forty years > ago, I ran into a wall. Four walls, to be precise. We hir” >

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