Jim Little doesn’t like attention. He hides out on his farm in Haleiwa (I won’t tell you where it is, but the picture above is the view from the farm). Gorgeous, isn’t it?
He doesn’t have a website. His email is broken. But serious plumeria lovers know who he is. He has fans all over the world.
He wrote this book, you see, and it’s like a plumeria lover’s bible. Here it is. I bought it on Amazon.com.
He doesn’t like being found.
I had to mine the Internet for a way to contact him. And even then, I didn’t reach him. But I got someone better. I got Doric, his wife.
I say better, because Doric and I kinda, sorta know each other from various fundraisers we’ve both attended (and I’ve MC’d) over the years. And she put in a good word to Jim, and he let me come visit. If Doric hadn’t vouched for me, he would have politely, and firmly, declined my request.
Whew! Thank you, Doric!
She’s a cool lady. In fact, here’s a flower Jim developed and named for his wife. It’s a rare shade of orange, assertive and unique. Just like Doric. Except she’s not orange.
I got up very early to make the long drive to Haleiwa. (Those of you who’ve been bugging me to join them for a sunrise shoot, the answer’s still no!) I found the secret road and drove until I reached the locked gate. Five minutes after I called him, Jim came riding down on his ATV to let me in.
I followed him to his “office,” basically a couple of once-white plastic chairs facing each other under a shade tree. He swept dirt and flowers off the chairs– who says chivalry is dead?– and invited me to sit.
We talked story for a bit. I promised I would only photograph flowers if he gave me permission– important to him because he’s always working on new hybrids.
He’s an adorable man. He liked me, too, apparently, because then he offered to show me around. Yay! But he wouldn’t let me take his picture. Boo.
Um– two things I can cross off my bucket list (If I had a bucket list)– perching on an ATV for a terrifying ride…. and bumping along in the back of a pickup truck.
Here’s proof that I was in that pickup. My feet were hanging over the edge. It’s out of focus. I told you, it was bumpy.
I had limited time, so only managed to get in a few shots.
But guess what? As I was leaving, he said, “Call me any time. And come visit again!”