Flower has its devoted bird watchers
Re “A Glorious Flock” [March 24]: Your article on the bird of paradise credited my Uncle Manfred (Manfred Meyberg) with getting it named the city flower of Los Angeles, but in truth it was my Aunt Elza, his wife, who did the legwork. She had 5,000 tulips in their front yard on Copa de Oro Road in Bel-Air, and when they bloomed each spring they were a tourist attraction.
I often marveled at her perspicacity in choosing the bird of paradise. It is so well suited to our city (of which I am a fourth-generation native -- my great-grandparents arrived in 1853).
The bird of paradise is, like most L.A. inhabitants, exotic and not native.
David H. Stern
Excellent article on Strelitzia. If you live where I do, you’d never see a Strelitzia, but birds of paradise are all over. They are the entirely different plant Caesalpinia.
It’s too cold here for Strelitzia, but the Mexican and yellow birds of paradise grow well, almost too well in the case of the yellow form. And where the winters are a little warmer the red bird of paradise (Poinciana pulcherrima) from Barbados also does well. Strelitzia and Poinciana can grow side by side in the Coachella Valley.
When we lived in Agoura Hills, we had a tough time growing birds of paradise, even with daily water. They rarely flowered and looked raggedy, even after 10 years. I think it was just too hot and dry. In Santa Monica, they bloom without much attention like another South African native -- gazania.
Jon E. Currie