The entrance to our condominium complex is shaped by an archway of frangipani trees which are thick and lush and provide shade and cooling from the Thailand heat. Each time I arrive at the entrance I feel the frangipani trees are welcoming me – this is where I live, this is now my home.
Around the grounds of the complex there are about 40 or more beautiful, well established frangipani trees. They line the pathways near the pool, standing together side by side to add beauty to the magnificent gardens. From the large windows in the gym I am able to watch staff arrive for work and residents exercising in the grounds or families just walking together in the early morning fresh air. The Frangipani trees are a constant source of pleasure to everyone. Staff lovingly stop and pick up the fallen flowers and I watch as they gather them in bunches to place in the office, or on the tables where lunch is eaten or at their place of worship, respectfully positioned in a quiet corner of the garden. The grounds staff are so careful and gentle when they collect the dropped flowers and the little children persist until they are able to pick them up and hand them to their parents.
All but one of the trees bear white flowers. The tree in the pool garden bears the deepest of pink flowers, almost a dark crimson colour and I wonder if the water and chemicals in the pool have an effect on the colour of the flowers. When swimming or just lolling in the pool, I like to be near the frangipani tree and take delight in gently scooping the beautiful flowers out of the water and placing them on the side of the pool. Later I collect the flowers and scatter them around my home so I can continue to enjoy their sheer beauty and sweet scent.
My mother chose frangipani flowers for her bridal bouquet and her wedding cake was decorated with fresh frangipani flowers. My aunt Mavis made the bouquet and decorated the cake. Mum had chosen a morning wedding and Aunt Mavis selected the freshest of the flowers from trees that were growing in her own garden just an hour or so before the wedding. She was truly gifted and talented and craft was her passion throughout her life. I was a teenager when I first met my aunt Mavis and I would love to visit with her on Sunday afternoons so I could sit in her kitchen and listen to stories of my family while she was busy preparing a huge roast dinner in her tiny stove. From a distance, looking through her kitchen window, it seemed as though there was one frangipani tree producing two different colored flowers, white and pink, but closer inspection revealed that there were two trees growing side by side, almost touching each other.
Frangipani Trees – they are beautiful to look at; they make me feel like I am in a tropical paradise; they smell sweet; they remind me of my mother and my dear aunt; they symbolise love.