We have many birds that visit our backyard, but my favorite birds are these Desert Bird of Paradise, caesalpinia gilliesii.
There was one outside my bedroom when I was growing up in South Texas. Several years ago nostalgia set in as I began searching for a plant but could not find one anywhere. Finally, I ordered seeds from Trade Winds Fruit in Windsor, California.
Today I have five Birds in the ground, two in pots and plenty of seeds. I harvest the seeds, in a pod rather like a snow pea, when they are dry and rattle slightly. The first year I brought the pods in the house and put them in a bowl in the dining room. The pods would dry out more and pop open as seeds and pods flew into the air.
They lose most of their leaves in the winter and come back in the spring and bloom through the spring and summer and sometimes into fall.
PHOTOS BY HUSBAND