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Disaster struck (the story of the overgrown Bougainvillea)

We’ve had our fair share of stormy weather, but this was not a weather related incident. This was all about the Bougainvillea deciding it had enough of being trained up a trellis, growing thick and powerful and then planning its escape …

Before … a happy space to while away the day

A happy space

When I bought this house there was  sort of mirror mosaic on the wall which we were not fond of. But I respect the “Feng-shei”-iness I suspect was behind this placement and design so was reluctant to rip it off the wall. A solution was a trellis for the two Bougainvillea to be trained up and over, which not only covered the ‘mirror art’, but the plants would eventually be trained to ‘tumble’ over the garage roof (which is right behind this wall). So that’s what I did and the Bougainvillea grew and grew. And They Grew!

18 Months later …

[one_half]Here’s how we were growing …Here's how we were growing ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]After the collapse …After the collapse ...[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Most of the Bougainvillea removedMost of the Bougainvillea removed[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Look at them thorns!Look at them thorns![/one_half_last]

[one_half]They attacked me as I cut it awayThey attacked me as I cut it away[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Revenge of the Bougainvillea – thornsRevenge of the Bougainvillea - thorns[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sans Bougainvillea …Sans Bougainvillea ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]before: Avec BougainvilleaBefiore: Avec Bougainvillea[/one_half_last]

So there it is. Back to the ugly wall now waiting for a less aggressive creeper to be planted because I don’t want another fight with a Thorny B. And I think as soon as the weather is better, its time to “re-do” this bed. It could use an overhaul. Come on Spring …

Happy gardening … or if you are in South Africa, beware the storms predicted this weekend and stay warm!



30 Day Challenge Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

The 30 Day Challenge – Day 13

Today I am grateful that gardening burns calories! I love that I am burning calories (at the rate of 280 per hour) doing something I really enjoy. My days of jumping around the gym to build up a sweat are long over and as I spend at least 6 to 8 hours a week gardening, I am getting a lot more exercise now than I was a year ago. That I am getting exercise outside in the fresh air and that I no longer need to feel guilty for not going to gym, for that I am grateful!


Photo: Bougainvillea: I love Bougainvillea but as they thrive on neglect, they don’t do particularly well in my garden. They are planted in my “Gardenia bed”, and are scrambling up a wall. Only the very tips are now flowering where they are exposed to lots of sun. I’d love it if they flowered more.

Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina (Chubut Province). Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus.  They are thorny, woody vines growing anywhere from 1-12 meters tall, scrambling over other plants with their spiky thorns. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. They are evergreen where rainfall occurs all year, or deciduous if there is a dry season. The leaves are alternate, simple ovate-acuminate, 4-13 cm long and 2-6 cm broad. The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts with the bright colors associated with the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.

About the 30 Day Challenge

Cat of The Whimsical Gardener, has invited Garden Bloggers the world over to join her in the 30 day challenge of posting a photograph and sentiment that you are thankful for – every day for 30 days. Find something you are thankful for every day, for 30 days, can’t be too difficult, can it? See all Barbie’s and my posts filed under “30 Day Challenge“.

Christine's garden Gardening

Too hot to garden so we photograph

Its just way too hot in Cape Town today to do anything constructive in the garden. It was 38° Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) earlier when I checked although it felt hotter at lunch time, so it could have been closer to 40 earlier on today. I’m waiting for the sun to go down before I do anything. I was forced outside because Dexter spent the afternoon keeping cool in the pool. I need to supervise him or he destroys the creepy crawley (he seems to think its an alien being and it’s an ongoing battle in summer to keep him from destroying it).

I did take a few photos – amazing what you see on photograph that you don’t really notice with the naked eye. The bench in this front area needs to be sanded and varnished … very obvious in the photos, less obvious in reality. So its on the “to do” list along with a thousand other things …

I thought I would show you today how this patch looked before I cared and how it looks now. Its not fantastic – still needs work, but the whole garden is a work in progress so I’m not beating myself up over it.

Here is how it looked just after we planted in October. (The trellis is there to train the bougainvilleas upwards and hopefully eventually they will spill over the garage wall and pergola on the other side – that’s the hope!).

October 2010

This was taken on 6 February – a month ago. Looking a whole lot better already for just four months later.

6 February 2011

And here it is today (the back urn needs something in it – still looking for the right thing. I’m thinking something white).

6 March

It is all very green and none of the plants are flowering at the moment except for the “Mona Lavender” which is on the right (and of course the potted Petunias, but they don’t really count). To the left of the bench there is a lot of colour provided by the Sweet Williams which I’ve previously shown.

There are also a few Gardenias to the left and a Weigelia – both of which under-performed this year. I don’t know why. I gave them so much love and attention. I suspect the Weigela reacted to being re-planted from another position and I didn’t prune it correctly. But the Gardenias … I’m giving them one more year. I suspect it may be too hot for them here. It doesn’t seem that way because there is a big tree there, but its a narrow tree, and doesn’t cast a lot of shade so the gardening people mis-judge how shady the area is.

The Bougainvillea didn’t flower because it gets too much water. But I wanted growth this year. We’ll “neglect” them next year to force them to flower.

That’s all I can manage in this heat …
Happy Gardening (if you can)

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

My Bougainvillea she flowers!

My BougainvilleaTalk about a long wait! I bought two little bougainvillea plants just under a year ago and planted them. One has dark green leaves and the bright pink / crimoson flower bracts, the other has pale green leaves ands white flowers. They were both in flower when I bought them. Iplanted them and they prompty dropped all their flowers and stopped flowering.

Then someone offered to make me a trellis to tie them to so that I could train them upwards against the wall and over our garage roof – which I gratefully accepted. When the trellis was put up against the wall we managed to tie one little branch –  just the tip of it – to the new trellis, and I wondered how long I would have to look at the trellis before my Bougainvilleas covered it from view.

I then dutifully watered my bougainvilleas. Every day. I fertilised them. Often. They grew. And they grew, and they grew. But they never flowered. Not even once, slightly in almost a year. The trellis is almost no longer visible – in under a year they have grown a LOT!

And then I started buying gardening books and read up about bougainvilleas. Aaaah … big rookie mistake – all the watering and patient fertilising resulted in prolific growth and no flowers. According to all my books and internet searches, I’ve discovered that … “These plants flower best under stress. Keep the plant slightly on the dry side. Water thoroughly, then allow to become moderately dry between waterings. They respond extremely well to stress, such as drought and heat, and reward you with excellent bloom”. So I stopped “caring” for them, ignored them completely and my reward?

My Bougainvillea has finally rewarded me with a flower …

I am continuing to”ignore” her … in the hope that she rewards me with more flowers. The branches of the white bougainvillea are mingling with those of the crimson one, so one day … we should have a lovely show of crimson and white bougainvilleas cascading up the wall and over the garage roof, onto the pergola …