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Rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies © Robert Sommers 2017

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sapphire Tower

Ron and Lena showed me a beautiful succulent flower recently growing near their home in Cardiff, bright blue. It may be on a very aberrant or eccentric bloom cycle (e.g. every ten years) not sure.

I have spent a little bit of time trying to figure out its name.

I once saw a flower at the Hortus Botanical Gardens in Holland that bloomed every twenty years, first one color in the morning and a completely different color in the afternoon. Then it went back to its deep sleep.

Tried to mail a pic to Doug, but his email firewall is blocking pictures.

Anyway this flower gets prettier and prettier and the color more intense over time.

Ron and Lena are so sweet, they went out and bought me one of these magnificent plants as a memory to my late father. It turns out that the plant is named Puya Alpestris, also known as the sapphire tower. I will have to verify its bloom schedule. The puya is native to the Chilean Andes. I have just read that it can be quite vicious with its sharp teeth and care should be taken in regards to its ultimate location in your garden.

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The plant is neat in a different way, besides its inherent beauty. My father's mother's last name was Shkarlat, which means sapphire in Polish. The Shkarlat family was wiped out in the holocaust and I do not believe that the name is still extant.

My grandmother lived in the town of Wyszkow, northeast of Warsaw on the Vistula River. The family owned a lumbermill. I believe that a great, great uncle was a noted silversmith, Shmuel Shkarlat. I have a pair of his shabbos candlesticks as does my friend Garry Cohen. I will think of my father and his mother when I look at my sapphire tower!


Thank you, friends!

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