FLOWERS IN LAOS

Vientiane, 12 February 2013

If there is one thing that my wife and I really regretted leaving in Vienna, that was our little garden. With our last apartment we had been really lucky in getting a small roof garden. We loved that garden. My wife tended it with tender care and the summer evenings spent enveloped in flowers were magical. Of course, winters were dreary but there was always the next summer to look forward to with its new crop of flowers.

When we moved to Beijing, we guessed we would never find an apartment with even a small balcony on which to put some flower pots, at least not at prices we could afford. And so it was. We couldn’t be completely plantless so my wife bought some house plants. They give a tinge of green to the apartment, but they are meagre consolation for our roof garden in Vienna.

Imagine, then, our delight when after a seven-hour journey from cold and snowy Beijing we opened the window of our hotel in Vientiane, Laos, and we found this before us.

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It was a flowering vine, thrown carelessly, or so it seemed, over the mango tree at our window. Five steps down, peering down from our common balcony we saw this, the flower of a banana tree.

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I have to say that this burst of botanical colour made me feel rather light-headed, and I started rushing about the hotel’s garden snapping pictures with my phone. I show you here just a few of the photos I took:

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I’ve always been fond of the colour of light through banana tree leaves …

The loveliness didn’t stop at the gates of the hotel. Walking through the streets of Vientiane was like walking though a garden, as flowering plants and trees popped up everywhere.

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Even the non-flowering trees were magnificent, especially along the road skirting the Mekong River where there were huge banyan and eucalyptus trees. But the tree that took my heart is a tree called the Deer’s Ear (wonderful name …), whose leaves are going red and shedding at this time of year.

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This tree is all over town, and each one has reached a different level of redness, so you go from bright green all the way to a deep vermilion. It’s rather like being in Vermont in the Fall.

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As I recall, many learned men in the Middle Ages spent much time trying to pinpoint where exactly the Garden of Eden had been. For me, it’s obvious; it must have been somewhere in a tropical or subtropical country like Laos.

I suppose the damned mosquitoes were added by God afterwards as part of Adam and Eve’s punishment …

Published by

Abellio

I like writing, but I’ve spent most of my life writing about things that don’t particularly interest me. Finally, as I neared the age of 60, I decided to change that. I wanted to write about things that interested me. What really interests me is beauty. So I’ve focused this blog on beautiful things. I could be writing about a formally beautiful object in a museum. But it could also be something sitting quietly on a shelf. Or it could be just a fleeting view that's caught my eye, or a momentary splash of colour-on-colour at the turn of the road. Or it could be a piece of music I've just heard. Or a piece of poetry. Or food. And I’m sure I’ve missed things. But I’ll also write about interesting things that I hear or read about. Isn't there a beauty about things pleasing to the mind? I started just writing, but my wife quickly persuaded me to include photos. I tried it and I liked it. So my posts are now a mix of words and pictures, most of which I find on the internet. What else about me? When I first started this blog, my wife and I lived in Beijing where I was head of the regional office of the UN Agency I worked for. So at the beginning I wrote a lot about things Chinese. Then we moved to Bangkok, where again I headed up my Agency's regional office. So for a period I wrote about Thailand and South-East Asia more generally. But we had lived in Austria for many years before moving to China, and anyway we both come from Europe my wife is Italian while I'm half English, half French - so I often write about things European. Now I'm retired and we've moved back to Europe, so I suppose I will be writing a lot more about the Old Continent, interspersed with posts we have gone to visit. What else? We have two grown children, who had already left the nest when we moved to China, but they still figure from time to time in my posts. I’ll let my readers figure out more about me from reading what I've written. As these readers will discover, I really like trees. So I chose a tree - an apple tree, painted by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt - as my gravatar. And I chose Abellio as my name because he is the Celtic God of the apple tree. I hope you enjoy my posts. http://ipaintingsforsale.com/UploadPic/Gustav Klimt/big/Apple Tree I.jpg

7 thoughts on “FLOWERS IN LAOS”

  1. Hi I was wondering if you knew what this was called? I believe my mom has this and we’re not sure which kind of tree/bush this is.
    Thanks!

    Like

    1. Hi Sabrina, another reader has just told me that the plant is called Euphorbia milii – the Crown of Thorns plant in English, or Christ Plant, or Christ thorn. Hope this is still useful to you!

      Like

      1. Thank you! It is still useful. It withered a bit over the winter, but we are sure that we can revive it. I was just curious because my mom told me that it’s considered a lucky plant in Laos but didn’t know the name of it.

        Like

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