Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Random yard pics: Bougainvillae

I was with my mother the day she bought this plant. We had gone to Central Trinidad to look for bargains - or rather, she had. I was just along for the ride, providing her with company and a sense of security as she doesn't like to drive far from her familiar haunts alone. The plant was little more than a twig in a pot, but it was covered with masses of the most beautiful bougainvillea flowers I'd ever seen. (To be botanically correct: the tiny white splotch in the middle of each bloom is the real flower, and the colourful parts surrounding it are actually bracts or modified leaves.)

"Should I buy it?" she asked, indecisive as usual, eying the exorbitant price tag.

"You'd better," I responded.

That was at least two years ago. It's still in a small pot, but the twig is somewhat larger now. Several times a year, particularly during drier spells, the flowers emerge, and they're a sight to behold. When they fall they continue to enchant, looking like the most delicately hued rose petals scattered in the grass. That was money well spent.

The small white flowers in the background are periwinkles, or 'Old Maid' as they're known here. Our common varieties of periwinkle are so hardy they flourish in cracks in concrete. We tried planting an entire border of the more exotic, hybrid varieties and they all died out in a few months. That was not money well spent.

12 comments:

Chennette said...

Love the delicate pink.

JJ Beattie said...

Beautiful. And that leafy thing - the modified leaves - are the same as poinsettias, aren't they? I've discovered they're grown in this neck of the woods: no wonder they're so expensive in the UK!

Debs said...

Lovely photos. I love bougainvillea. It was whilst sitting under a palm tree with bougainvillea growing up it's trunk that I was inspired to start writing my first novel.

Flowerpot said...

I love bougainvillea too - and periwinkles - they grow very well here!

Liane Spicer said...

Chennette, it's a show stopper!

JJ, yup, same as the poinsettias. The true flowers are barely noticeable.

Debs, that's fantastic! Inspiration indeed!

Flowerpot, periwinkles seem to grow well everywhere with the minimum of care. Not the fancy hybrid ones, though! At least, not in the tropics. Maybe those are annuals and do well up north, but we're used to the perennials that keep spreading and flowering nonstop for years.

Lane said...

That was money well spent.

The bougainvillea is so beautiful. Just the name itself is romantic, conjuring up images of Blanche Dubois. Or do I mean Scarlett O'Hara?

Shauna Roberts said...

That's a lovely color of bougainvillea. So delicate. I didn't know that the flower was just the tiny part in the middle.

We have several bougainvillea. Ours are an intense purplish red, and we planted them on a bare hill so they drape downward and cover it as they grow.

Liane Spicer said...

Shauna, that must look beautiful!

Debi said...

One of my favourites! And more delicate than the more common intense pinky purple.

Liane Spicer said...

Debi, the pinky-purple is probably the commonest variety here, but I'm seeing more and more cultivars with a range of colour - like the one pictured.

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