Friday, October 23, 2009

Bloody Bougainvillea

Have you ever found a plant that you just love but still ya hate ‘em. Well, Bougainvillea is just that sort of plant for me. I absolutely love to gaze upon the incredibly intense colors of the blooms and I truly hate pruning them.

This comes after a couple of decades working with these guys in the landscape industry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stabbed by thorns, raked by thorns, stepped on thorns or fixed flat wheel barrow tires from thorns. As far as I’m concerned the only good Boug is one that is in someone else’s landscape.

That said there is one exception and that is the Dwarf Boug. That cultivar is one that just may find its way into my gardens. Dwarfs are a very low maintenance plant that requires almost no pruning if properly sited.

Yet for all the brutal issues I have with Bougs there is nothing more spectacular than this plant in full flower or should I say “full bract” for the flowers of Bougs are an insignificant white little guy and the modified leaves are the showy heart stoppers we all love.

Bougs can grow to 30’ with support which means most are improperly located in home landscapes. From a pruning perspective this can be a nightmare if the plant is near a walkway. One way to deal with the sprawling growth habit is to allow the plant to climb a tree particularly if the flowers of the tree are insignificant.

Bougainvillea bloom best during the dry season(fall and winter here) and an established plant needs little fertilization. There are an abundant number of hybrids, colors, and variegations but they tend to lose their horticultural identities down here and are commonly referred to by color.

The plant is easily propagated by cuttings and I have seen 4” thick by 4’ long branches rooted making for an instant standard container plant.

Bougainvilleas are native to South America and are named for Louis Antoine de Bougainville, a French explorer who sailed around the world in 1767. B. spectibilis and B.glabra are the species most frequently found.

So to all those gardeners out there who grow this plant I say THANK YOU and I shall be more than happy to gaze upon your boug with awe, heap horticultural praise upon you, listen with sympathetic ear, and pass you a Band-aid.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blossom freed from...

Lantana camara-Gold

“Hey man…hang on a second and let me get a picture of that”

Plumbago auriculata

The grimy yard guy with the elcheapo knock off Felco clippers looked at me and with all the intelligence he could muster said, “Huh?”

Dracena reflexa- Song of India

He was just reaching down to clip a Gold Lantana bloom that had strayed through the white picket fence. I didn’t waste any time answering and quickly clicked the shutter. As I wandered away down Caroline St. in Key West the yard ape uttered the ultimate epithet to a local such as myself…”Tourist!”

Ixora hybrid-Nora Grant

See what inglorious indignities I suffer for you folks.

Bougainvilla spectabilis

It was in my mind to write some cute post about plants that creep through the garden fence to share their beauty with, “We, the Outsiders whom are not privy to the Inner Garden”. The only thing is I don’t do cute to well.

Philodenron hybrid 'Burle Marx'

Let’s try this tactic… “Plants that know no bounds, the Untamed”. Hmmm…nah, sounds like something from the Discovery channel.

Mandavilla splendens

Ok, maybe “Blossom freed from Bondage”…errr, nope, too much like some smarmy adult DVD.

Codiaeum spp

Aw heck, “Flowers through the Fence”, yeah, that’ll work…not to creative but, whatever.

Pentas lanceolata

Key West must have more white picket fences per capita than any other town I know and plants doing their thing tend to grow though them and I always looking for something to feed the voracious appetite of the blogosphere decided to do a photo series. So here ya go …but I still kinda like the ring of “Blossom freed from Bondage”, smarmy or not.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Misc. Monday(Blog Stuff)

Hong Kong Orchid tree
Bauhinia blakeana
Ok, so no more whining from me about the heat for a while. The long anticipated cold front blew into the islands Saturday night, bringing the temps down to a frigid 65 degrees. How sweet it was and thus you haven’t seen my smiling face writing any blog posts, oh no, this old boy was out in the gardens, diggin’ and plantin’ an prunin’…wearing blue jeans and jean jacket no less. Sweet!!

Dioon edule female cone
In the evening I was foolin’ around with my pix trying to make some sort of order out of them. All of you blog photographers out there know my pain. Of course I haven’t been smart enough to mark any images I’ve already posted…sigh, that alone could take hours to catch up on.

Baby Hawaiian Wood Rose
Argyreia nervosa
I’ve noticed that in the comment section of Liz and the Prof. you fine gardening folks ask me to identify various plants that I have posted images of, I will try to rectify that oversight in the future by captioning each pic (or at least most of ‘em).

forground Song of India-Dracena reflexa
background Lady palm-Raphis excelsa
Let me take a second here to thank everyone who takes the time to pick a post, fave my blog, become a follower or leave a comment. That few moments of time it takes to provide some feedback is what makes this blogging stuff worth the effort and I will try to comment on others blogs more often.

Nerium oleander-double pink
So after a weekend of heavy duty gardening, evidenced by a sore back and a bunch of new fire ant bites let me get to the posting of some images.