|El Yunque rain forest in Puerto Rico|
My mother never went home to Puerto Rico after I was born. Instead, she fulfilled her primal urge for the land of her birth by raising a jungle in the center of what was in the 1960's and '70's white middle class suburban Whittier.
In high school, I didn't need to give an address to find my home. "The jungle on Cornishcrest" was all any stranger needed.
To an adolescent wanting desperately to fit in, it was disconcerting. Embarrassing.
When the dashing Gerry put a ring on my finger, he was proud to have rescued me from the jungle. Not long after, he presented me with space to garden, to develop my signature style.
|Hardware, paint and geraniums enliven an old mailbox|
As my mother had her vision of paradise, I have mine. This is not my mother's garden. I have no qualms about whacking off branches and I don't let philodendron reach inside the house from windows left open. However, I have come to understand my mother's quest in her garden and the lesson left me.
|The 'Graham Thomas' Rose is tall as a small tree|
|Roses, tomatoes and herbs in pots discourage hungry rabbit- raids|
The first bloom welcomes visitor's at the curb. My garden is filled with roses. Birds and bunnies help themselves to food and water. Our forever-puppies give chase. And now that the ostrich egg-sized blooms of Matalija Poppy have flowed past the boundaries of civic planners, I am happy.
|Look closely. A bunny has discovered it can limbo in and out under the gate|
I have no expectations for future generations will know my name. But in every future May, the beautiful "fried egg" appearing blossoms will put a smile on future residents' faces as the California native weaves its way through our canyon.
|'Reno' waiting for the bunny to come back. Matalija poppy forms a backdrop|
Puerto Rican Rain Forest Imgae by Rainforest Inn