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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Decorating with bougainvillea

While everyone else is buying fake christmas trees I have been shopping for bougainvillea.
This it for my dry corner down the back where the chain link fence meets the wooden fence. I found a wonderful white one with a blush or apricot/peach in the flower bracts. I will train it along the fence as a backdrop to jacaranda, manuka and all my other border plants.

I found it at Mitre 10 and got to chatting with a lady who said she looked after 400 roses at the Parnell Rose Gardens. We agreed that Auckland is too humid for roses and they all unfortunately succumb to black spot. She did give me tips on where to find rugosa roses, which are very hardy and not prone to black spot, but you need to order them from the South Island. The only time I have done mail order plants is for a few ferns and Kings Seeds, and they were all a bit hit and miss. If you are buying plants I would recommend your local garden centre first, so you can assess them right there and then, and they would, the majority of them, be fresh and acclimatised to the local conditions.

There were many bougainvilleas on offer, some very vigorous, some variegated, and a few dwarf ones. I am not so sure about dwarf varieties, of course, for an easy care plant perhaps its good in some situations but then I thought bougainvilleas would just not be the climbing plant they are meant to be if they are dwarfed. It would be like having a dwarf sunflower, might as well grow daisies instead.

(Sorry dwarfs, maybe I'm just not a compassionate Snow White type). Anyway I was quite pleased with my purchase and planted straight away, and then hooray it rained last night and this morning so the plant will settle in nicely. I am risking the wrath of mum because a) bougainvillea is NOT a tree b) it can be trained easily c) if I didn't plant anything there the ivy and sundry weeds would take over.

And how can she ignore the gorgeous display it's already putting on? Better than a tacky ol' christmas tree any day. Besides, pohutakawas are flowering now, they are early, but they are putting on quite a show. 'Tis the season!