An Island Moment


Adenium obesum, Bermuda

Dear viewer,

Whenever I post something without much text (as opposed to posting something having long, characteristically brilliant swatches of text ), I get comparatively more views–a message not altogether lost on me; consequently, you will not be hearing about how or why this beautiful flower, of Saudi Arabian origin, is overtaking the island and making it unbearably wondrous.

With tingling sincerity,








In the Miltonian darkness of November

Bermuda islands




Cinnamon seed

How to grow a cinnamon tree.

Do you love cinnamon? Now you can grow your own tree in the privacy of your own home.

3 easy steps

1) Befriend someone living in Sri Lanka. You can probably do this using Social Media, as I am given to understand that anything worthwhile can nowadays be achieved this way (as an aside I was always under the cloudy impression that only birds, and here I’m recollecting from the insuperable annals of my childhood the spectacle of little budgies enlivening a pea-green cage, tweeted). Just don’t blame me if your Sri Lankan friend actually turns out to be some plumber holed up in Baltimore, having delusions of grandeur about owning a farm on some balmy island.

2) Convince the Sri Lankan to locate a cinnamon tree. Make sure he doesn’t mistake it for some other kind of laurel or a licentious weed with aromatic leaves—so easy to do. If your cohort is married, ask him to have his wife confirm the find, as wives are generally speaking better at practical botanical matters than humble workaholic plumber husbands.

3) Once the tree has been identified your contact should set up a makeshift tent near the site and wait patiently till the specimen blooms (this may take several months, and if your botanist is in fact in Baltimore, it may take considerably longer—still, hope springs eternal).

4) I realize this is more than three steps, but I find more and more that one has the tendency to underestimate the complexity of life. Some years elapse (nothing we can do about this) and the tree blooms fortuitously, setting seed. In the interim, quite regrettably, our Sri Lankan dies of some rare blood disorder. His wife, bless her heart, thankfully consents to send the fresh seed using Sri Lanka Express Post-what other choice does she have? All other methods of shipping, carrier pigeon and most couriers, involve interminable delays.

5) Once you receive the seeds, add water to the plastic sleeve (see accompanying photo) and wait.

6) In a few days a miracle occurs. Unfortunately you were occupied elsewhere and missed it. Still, there are more seeds awaiting divine inspiration and you should lickety-split be on your way to starting your own plantation.

Cinnamonum verum seedling

Cinnamonum verum seedling


Adenium flower

The staff, a ragtag bunch of closet fascists, at the Alliance of the Blessed Flower (a sanatorium) took us out for a field trip, and whereas most people, institutionalized or not, would have contemplatively admired the méli-mélo of ankle-high flowers at the arboretum, we crushed them mercilessly with our mud splattered boots. The Spaniards in charge of the flower squelchers were armed to the teeth–half of them expecting the blue-eyed among us to make a break for it and the other half just wanting to dress in the finery of the Guardia Real. Naturally when a doddering fool chained himself to a fire hydrant, there was consternation. But some of the inmates were acting strangely too.

Night-blooming Cereus

If only these bad boys of the plant world would read the botanical literature, they would know that they are supposed to bloom at night, hence the colloquial name Night Blooming Cereus. I took this photograph in the morning and later had a little epiphany–my gosh, there seems to be little excuse for this sort of ignorance. Today, all a self-respecting epiphytic cactus has to do is search the internet for protocols regarding flowering habits. Gone are the days of having to find mobile libraries and having to deal with books that are out of date, and, even more worryingly, having to endure the unwholesome glow of haughty librarians. And even though I am not prone to vaticinate, I reckon that cactus of the future will rely heavily on information gleaned from search engines. Can running for political office or spearheading a death cult be far behind? The inglorious future is full of uncertainties; however, I am confident that educated plant life is the key to our success, because there seems to be little hope of educated man ever getting his sorry act together.