When I was pregnant with Erin in July of 1988 (she was born on September 13, 1988) Tim and I went to a convention in Hawaii. I wanted to bring back something lasting as a souvenir so I chose a small pre-packaged flower bulb of a Bird of Paradise to plant when I got home. Erin was born 2 months later and over time I began to refer to the plant as Erin’s plant. Megan and Kevin also had their own different plants given on or around the years they were born. Their plants eventually died after many years. But Erin’s Bird of Paradise thrived. The only problem is that it NEVER bloomed despite the fact that it grew larger each year.
But on September 16, 2009, three days after what would have been Erin’s 21st birthday and after 21 years of dormancy, it bloomed for the first time! There were four beautiful orange flowers. Of course we feel Erin’s (and God’s) hand in this. What a gift we were given. The blooms lasted well into the winter until the first freeze.
Thinking this may have been only a once in a lifetime occurrence, I didn’t hold out much hope of another fall blooming. But Erin had other plans. In September of 2010, a year later, it bloomed again and this time added an additionally bloom – five this time! We enjoyed them so much and took so many pictures. We have posted some of the photos at this site.
Who would have imagined the significance of returning from Hawaii 21 years ago with a Bird of Paradise and what that would come to mean to our family today! We truly do have a Bird of Paradise in Erin!
The winter of 2010-2011 was harsher than usual with many freezing nights. We covered and uncovered the flower many nights but it sustained considerable damage from the cold. This spring I split the plant and repotted it. We don’t know what will happen this fall, but we hope and pray that this special outward sign of our sweet Bird in Paradise, Erin, will bloom again one day!