In 1954 when I went to Camp Pendleton in Southern California I saw Birds of Paradise growing wild and fell in love with them. Though it didn't have an aroma it was a spectacular looking flower with vivid colors of orange and purple. It wasn't until I moved into Gateway in 1999 that I first discovered there was a white Bird of Paradise. Behind building C there was a 3 story high Bird of Paradise full of blooms and it continuously bloomed all year round. It was cut back a bit 2 years ago and did even better. Very few people knew about it.

The other day when I came home, going to the elevator, I saw Estaban, one of the maintenance men, doing what I thought was a trimming of the tree. The next day, aghast, I saw it had been completely hacked to the ground and then followed a 'pass the buck' routine. I asked Estaban why he did that and he said to go ask Suzanne, the administrator, and she told me that she didn't know what I was talking about and would have to see it. She has been here 3 years and didn't know about that tree?!?!?

Aside from being a magnificent tree it was the only white Bird of Paradise in Gateway and the whole Victoria Park area! I went to the head of maintenance, Luis, and he said he got orders from Orlando people when they were down here. I had been upset when, supposedly, accidentally they pulled up the avocado tree I was growing from a seed that had reached 6 feet but this was outrageous. I know it was too late to do anything about it but I certainly let my displeasure be known.

Now I pass by every day hoping to see a little green shoot coming out of the stub of the tree--there is hope as long as they don't pull out the remainder!