This is the story of Cynthia and how she grew. You will recall that Cynthia left Portland (where the climate is tempered by the Japanese Currents) on an airplane, and arrived the same day in Little Rock, Arkansas, where summers are plagued by drought and as much as a month at a time with temperatures over 100 and usually three months when the temperatures are in the 90's. Winters are just as erratic...sometimes having warm spells in December, forcing iris to bloom, only to have below zero weather in February and March. A difficult climate, for the hardiest of plants.
But Cynthia was loved and was coddled and was given the best of treatment to help her adjust to her new home. You had sent me explicit instructions on the mixture of soil and the best possible place for the plant. It was planted on the east side of the garage, directly under a large oak tree, getting the morning sun only -the noonday sun being filtered by the branches of the big oak tree.
The first year was plagued, as you know, by the fact that the plant grew, then split in two. However, in the fourth year it bloomed, about two blossoms, I recall. Then the succeeding years I was blessed for my efforts and rewarded with increasing blossoms. This year, I had eighteen.
Each year, after blooming, we put azalea-camellia food around the base of the plant and keep it mulched in three inches of pine needles. It is a show stopper and I feel sure has caused a lot of sales in nurseries. I have written you before that we live on a busy street and are below street level and the cars that ride by can look over our fenced back yard and see the bush. Traffic slows down and if any of us are in the yard they lean out of their cars and inquire what it is. I just cannot tell you how much pleasure we have gotten out of it. I am sure if you were here you could have pruned it to overcome the split trunk business, but I am just happy to have it as it is.
The above are excerpts from a letter recently received by A. Freeman Sersanous who sent the plant to a relative a few years ago. - Ed.