I first saw Tropic World when I visited Jim Clark many years ago. I had phoned Jim and made arrangements to visit him at his 7 acre plumeria farm in Fallbrook California. I had taken Interstate 15 to Fallbrook and turned onto a narrow two lane poorly maintained blacktop road into the mountains toward Jim’s place. Well the road was two lanes in some places. Jim had given his address as 1330 and I was checking the numbers on the mail boxes along the road. I see a wooden post driven into the ground with a black plastic 5 gallon plant pot nailed to it, as a mailbox, with 1330 in big white letters. I turn on to a narrow dirt road that leads to Jim’s house. As I pull up to the south side of Jim’s house I see a large plumeria tree covered with white blossoms as large as my hand. They were a beautiful creamy white with a yellow throat and pink edgings. The blossoms are the size of Daisy Wilcox but the petals stand more erect, are a thicker texture and not “flop eared” like a Daisy Wilcox. I was so excited seeing that large beautiful plumeria I almost ran over one of Jim’s big friendly watch dogs.
Jim Clark tells me this story of Tropic World: There is a Tropic World nursery up on Interstate 15 that was owned and managed by Paul Hutchinson. Paul had retired as the Professor of Horticulture at Berkley. Paul purchased a flat of plumeria seedlings to sell at his nursery. As people purchased the plumeria seedlings they would always pick and choose the largest and strongest. After a while all the plumeria seedlings were sold except one scrawny little seedling. The tray had been neglected. The owner came by and picked up the tray to throw that decrepit little plant in the trash. As he was walking toward the trash container he passed by a plant container that had planting soil in it. He stops and scoops a hand full of planter mix out of the pot and plants the little plumeria seedling in it, with the comment I will give you one last chance. The little plant thrived and grew in to a large beautiful specimen. For several years Jim kept trying to get the Tropic World nursery owner to sell him a cutting but the owner would not sell him a cutting. One day the nursery owner phoned Jim and asked do you still want that big white plumeria plant. Jim says.” are you finally going to sell me a cutting of that plant? The owner says. ” No —– I am going to give you the tree —so –Bring your truck” The nursery owner died a few months later, he must have known he didn’t have much time left and wanted to find a good home for that special plant. Jim named that plant Tropic World. That is the plumeria I saw growing on the south side of Jim’s house. When I went home that day I had made a plumeria friend and I had a nice multi tip cutting of Tropic World, from the parent tree. About 6 or 7 years ago there was an unusual cold spell in Fallbrook and it killed the parent tree to its root tips. I took a large multi cutting from my Tropic World and sent it to Jim to replace the one he lost. Twila was going to visit Jim and she delivered it to Jim. In 2005 we had a cold spell and the chill killed my Tropic World down to its root tips. Twila tells me that she had cuttings of Tropic World that I had given her and she could replace the one I lost. She brought me a nice multi tip rooted plant with two inflorescences which now are blooming in my yard.
The Tropic World nursery is still in business under different management. You may remember a couple of years ago Emerson and Nancy were traveling on Interstate 15, saw Tropic World nursery, stopped, took pictures and posted them.