Thursday 17 January 2013

Window on Madeira

Bougainvillea, the importance of light
Back home, my bougainvillea has dropped most of its leaves and bracts. Described as semi-evergreen, it is virtually deciduous! But all is well, fat buds are swelling and it will soon burst into growth. Without transpiring leaves to dehydrate the compost it has been very important not to water too often - and yet never to let it dry out!

Not so in Madeira. Here the winter light is good and on the coast, just like my conservatory, it never gets frost.In these conditions bougainvilleas retain their leaves and flower all year round. Mike, my botanist friend, tells me that where the soil and and rocks are penetrable, bougainvillea roots will easily go down two meters to find water. Unlike my conservatory in summer, there are no problems with drying out!

Colours of bougainvillea.
Bougainvilleas have enough vigour to cover a cliff

These friendly feral cats love the ground-cover on the cliff

Many woody scandent climbers can also be pruned as a hedge. This variegated variety makes a fine conservatory plant at home.
Those botanically inclined will recognise the small central flowers and the colourful bracts

You might want to check out my recent bougainvillea post.

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