Many may not know that the floral emblem of my home town is the allamanda.
Well, it was. The mania for native plants probably means that it has been replaced by a rhizome that occurs only in the Herbert River Valley and flowers once a decade.
Still, the allamanda holds a very precious place in my heart, and being a tropical flower one sees it in Vietnam everywhere.
The alleyway behind my house is filled with big, rich-people's houses and companies, and the front of most of them are idiosyncratic gardens filled with all kinds of unlikely flowers and bushes. Just the other day the front of one house was entirely covered in allamandas, so I stopped and took these pictures. The next day I walked past and the city electricity men were there cutting it all away - the plant had grown up over the power lines.
I remember once staying at a Khmer village in Tra Vinh province years ago, and feeling very homesick. I was taken to visit a farmer, and out in front of his little wooden hut was a profusion of allamanda flowers, and I felt like crying.
Thang and i once bought an allamanda plant at the plant stand in Cabramatta, but it died within days of getting it home. It just can't grow in Sydney.