Friday, October 07, 2011

True Colours


If you ask many people to name a plant you see in Spain they will almost certainly say Bougainvillea, its brilliant magenta blooms are seen in town and country alike. We tried for years, without much success, to grow them on our Formentera terrace. The only one we had a little success with was a hybrid gold one but we longed to have the "true" original one.
When we bought our house here there was already an established one out back. We immediate set to to bring it back to life., it had been neglected for quiet a few years whilst the house stood empty and uncared for. So it was a case of cut back, prune and prune again. All the work has paid off in triplicate, for summer and now autumn. We have a truly beautiful plant that is starting ramble over the gazebo that shelters our newly tiled terrace (thanks Joaquin, nice job done).

Better give a few facts about bougainvillea before any expert gardener readers puts us right here!
To begin with its not a native European plant it originated in South America.It was brought to this continent by French botanist Philibert Commer├žon who was travelling with Louis Antoine de Bougainville a French explorer in the 18th century. No guesses on how they named the plant.

Bougainvillea are evergreen if they have significant water and are in fact a vine. And here the interesting fact, the coloured "petals" we love to see are in fact bracts* not true flowers. The flowers are the tiny white part in the centre. You learn something everyday, if your not careful!

*A bract is a modified or specialized leaf, especially one associated with a reproductive structure such as a flower. Bracts are often (but not always) different from foliage leaves, for example being smaller, larger, or of a different colour or texture.

I took the above picture yesterday, stunning colours I'm sure you'll agree.

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Travel said...
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