How often my breath is taken away by the tiniest, sweetest discoveries. Not long ago, I was wandering along the lanes in Yangon, and I stopped to pause at one of those intriguing closed gates with overgrown grounds and greenery clinging around the railings. This is one of my favourite such gates, with its mysterious secret garden.
Recently, though, the greenery was stripped back and slowly a few more shoots and flowers have started to peep through the railings. Exposed and alone, I spotted a flower I did not recognise at all. It was a climbing plant, entwined around the railings, but had a flower which when closed, was reminiscent of a lotus. I took some photographs and showed these to some colleagues. No one knew what this unusual plant was.Most noted its similarity to the lotus but this was not a flower anywhere near water, nor behaving like a lotus.
As the days, passed and on closer inspection, I saw the flowers open to reveal little pearl like casings inside with a dark seed visible through the transparent cover. More photos. I then posted my puzzle online to see if anyone could tell me what this strange little flower was.
And the answer came.
It’s a Wood Rose. These unusual little flowers also grow in southern India, and when they open the petals dry into fragile little wood sharing petals. People love them because they do not die, they are like little eternal flowers.
The gate has again been stripped of its greenery as the vegetation inside the secret garden is also cleared to reveal a mango tree and other hidden surprises. But gone are also the little Wood Roses. I have a couple of them at home, reminding me that they do exist even though their presence was so fleeting in the lane.
I love these discoveries. I could not have imagine that the Wood Rose existed. I love seeing new tropical blooms and the lush vegetation which grows so rapidly here and learning about them.
But the little Wood Rose is an unusual and unexpected gift with which I have become acquainted after almost seven years in Yangon. And I have no idea how long it was, under my nose, waiting to be discovered.