Tag Archives: bougainvillea

50 Shades of Pink!

Pink Bougainvillea 1

Haiku 121

Shades of neon pink

Delicate and paper-thin

Brighten up my day


Pink Bougainvillea 2

It is lovely to see this splash of bright pink every time I go into the front garden. I planted this bougainvillea many years ago and it has grown into a massive tree. Blooming happily away now in the Cape winter, it really does brighten up my day.


Marvellous Mousebird

White-backed Mousebird 1

I was waiting in my front garden for my friend to pick me up last week, as we were going out for lunch.

I looked up and saw a bird sitting in the bougainvillea. He was a little hard to see at first, but then I noticed his long tail. Hooray, it was a Mousebird; more precisely, a White-backed Mousebird, (colius colius.)  His white back is only visible in flight.

White-backed Mousebird 2

As I had my camera with me I managed to take a few shots. He sat there quite happily, staring down at me, till some rowdy Hadedas flew by, squawking loudly and scaring him away.

You can see the serious thorns on the bougainvillea, particularly in the first photo. Those thorns tear me to shreds whenever I attempt to prune this massive ‘tree’! I’m surprised any birds want to sit here, but, apart from this lone Mousebird, Cape Bulbuls frequently do so.

White-backed Mousebird 3

I only see these birds rarely in my garden. Sometimes one would sit in the apple tree. However, they perch so vertically that they blend in with the branches and are hard to spot.

I tried to get a good shot of this little guy, but it was difficult as I was taking pictures from underneath him with the bright sky as a background. The shadows of the bougainvillea made him all stripey!

White-backed Mousebird 4

Still, it’s always nice to see him in my garden.


Red Boogie

Bougainvillea 1

Bougainvillea 1

The Debut of Miss B. Villea

For years she waited in the wings

Till finally one day she sings!

“We all had wondered where you were?”

Her radiant cousin asked of her.

“Eugenia overshadowed me,”

She said, “As you can plainly see.

My journey only first begun

The moment I could reach the sun!”



Bougainvillea 2

Bougainvillea 2

Many years ago I bought two bougainvillea bushes. The larger, more expensive one, was pink; the smaller, cheaper one, was red.

This is the red one; though, disappointingly, it often looks quite pink, especially as the petals age.

The pink bush started producing flowers almost immediately. However, the red one did not show any colour, year after year; till a few years ago, when, if I was very lucky, I might see one or two red petals.

Bougainvillea 3

Bougainvillea 3

This year, however, the bush has put out many red petals.

I guess heavily pruning all my trees last winter, allowing  more sunlight to filter through, and the plant growing large enough, finally made all the difference.

Still, the red bougainvillea cannot hold a candle to the pink bush, which grows so vigorously I have been hacking it back by the metre.


post script: Yes, yes; for the purists out there, I do know that the petals of the bougainvillea are actually bracts, and the flowers are the tiny white things in the centre, (not seen here). But to be honest, I am never going to talk about my bougainvillea, and oh look at the pretty, coloured bracts!

post post script: My poem is from November 2014, when the red bush first displayed a few blooms.


The Bougainvillea Strikes Back

Escape 1

Escape 1

The weather finally turned and I could attempt to trim some of the escaping bougainvillea without risking vaporisation from extreme sun exposure.

I was doing pretty well, teetering atop the step ladder with my long-handled secateurs, managing to avoid most of the vicious two inch thorns.

Eventually, the bougainvillea had had enough of my meddling and struck back: impaling me on both hands, parts of my clothing and my face!

I extricated myself – c a r e f u l l y – mopped up the blood and thought nothing more of it.

Till the other day, when I noticed that my jaw was a little sore. I scratched the nick and dug out the tip of a thorn that was still wedged in there. Ouch!

Madam Bougainvillea has the last laugh!



Escape 1

Escape 1

I don’t always look up, especially as it is very sunny and I don’t like blinding myself.

However, I happened to glance over the grape vines the other day and was startled to see my bougainvillea reaching for the stars.

Escape 2

Escape 2

Swaying slightly in the hint of a breeze, these spindly branches stretched longingly heavenwards.

Escape 3

Escape 3

And yes, the sky really is that deep a blue.

Escape 4

Escape 4

Now how am I going to trim that?


Bougainvillea 1



Scifi 0

While it is nowhere near real winter yet, the temperatures have been dropping significantly at night, and it is time to begin reclaiming some of the garden. The two months or so of actual winter are not nearly long enough to hack back the jungle.

One drawback of a sunny climate is that everything grows; the unwanted along with the wanted. This morning I decided to tackle some of the neighbour’s vines on my side of the fence and behind my bougainvillea.

Even with very thick gloves on, the bougainvillea still got me good!



The first cut I didn’t even know about.

Ouch 2

Ouch 2

However, as the long poisonous thorn ripped through my palm, this second gash had me yelling out, “Fiddlesticks!”


Summer in a Cape Winter. Part Three

Pretty Flower

African Daisy

Growing up in England, it never ceases to amaze me how mild a Cape Winter is. Yes I know, we have had storms and gales, but through it all, even when it has hailed, the temperatures have not dropped below freezing; or even approached it.

There is always something bright and cheery blooming away in the middle of winter; such as the poinsettia:-



the camellia:-



And not forgetting the little plant that could, then would, and still is! The debut of the azalea:-



These blooms lead right into true Spring. Today, September 1st, is actually the first day of Spring here in the Cape; and with the temperature at 28C, it looks like Summer is on the way. Already there are buds on the oak and apple trees, and the hydrangea. The hibiscus and camellia are still in flower, the frangipani has new shoots, and the bougainvillea is about to burst forth.

Pretty soon, the loquat tree will be covered in ripe fruit; the squirrels’ favourite. This makes for exciting times for my dogs; as, early in the mornings, little grey squirrels run along the top of the wall, jumping in and out of the trees, and finally make it to the loquat tree for their breakfast. They then traverse the same route back, with a loquat in their mouth. All the while, my dogs are hoping a squirrel will come their way; but the little wild things are far too clever.