January showers bring all kinds of fragrant Jakarta flowers

OK, year on year, today — 19 January — is possibly Jakarta’s nicest in terms of weather. Temperature right now (somewhere in Jakarta ) is 28 C / 82 F degrees.  But here at the Sharehouse it seems a bit cooler. Clear skies. Fullish moon. You can see buildings clear on the other side of town (if you’re up high enough or else peering down an old  Dutch canal).  You can even see stars, for that matter.

Sept 2010

It rains at night often fairly enough it seems. Then, with the sky tears all cleared up, the days are sunny and cool. It’s also apparently flower season. The bougainvillea is popping out everywhere. Always going at it and doing its thing is the indefatigable, totally over-the-top tropis-n-eksotis Cambodia trees (Plumeria). That’s what they’re called here. Don’t know in Cambodia. Otherwise they’re known as  frangipani. Every you’ll find a carpet (a rug anyway ; ) of fresh exquisite flowers under your tree. It’s somewhat seasonal but I notice varieties — like the yellow one across the street — which are almost always producing. There are several colors to chose from.

Cool URL for the photo I snagged from Google: http://www.howtogrowplumeriafrangipani.com. It’s true that you can hardly kill Plumeria and in Bali they use it for living fences. But results do vary and they are subject to disease as well as simply growing but not flowering. The fearsome violent neighbors — also expats — from a large unnamed South Asian country near India whacked off all the branches they could reach of our backyard Cambodia tree  (itself an off-whack from a tree growing for some 20 years near Taman Suropati). So now we have over a half dozen trees in the front and back yards. (If you’re interested in the frangipani essential oil, please let us  know how much and we’ll see what we can do. )

Of course there’s no explaining why the neighbors did that; but it’s true jaded Indonesians have been know to refer to truly beautiful flowers as “trash” because of the way some species do tend to “litter” the ground. The Balinese and their deities, as you know, like those little Plumeria flowers.

In the front yard and up and down the streets of Menteng, at night, you can smell melati (Jasminum), an Indonesian national symbol. It rhymes with naughty but it’s sure nice. There’s another extremely fragrant bunga (flower) out there, but I’m not sure if it’s also jasmine or something else. Perhaps honeysuckle (Lonicera), which in Indonesian would be ranggis.

I’ll bring a a sample home and consult the one-eyed all-knowing Google Monster.

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