Monday, August 27, 2012

oh what a lovely bougainvillea

It was something I wanted to grow, a plant which would cover the wall, give shade, give colour and really stamp the fact we lived abroad.  Bougainvillea.

We have the other Mediterranean type of plants growing; we have olives in abundance, we have the grapes thriving, we have the figs establishing, but alas no bougainvillea.   I looked up how to grow it and it says:  Bougainvillea thrives in full sun.  “At least 5 hours a day of direct sunlight is the minimal light required for good bloom. More hours of direct sun are better. Less than 5 hours and the plant may not bloom very well.” 

5 hours of sun ‘check’, good light ‘check’, south facing ‘check’….but alas the Med we are not!  This little peak of Central Portugal has cold air in winter (snow even), a vigorous breeze at dusk and is prone to a late frost.  Our courtyard is just too exposed to the elements, there is no little ‘nook’ for a bougainvillea, there is no wall for it to climb up.  So, after a courageous start in the greenhouse,  our little bougainvillea is more than dead, it was reduced to sad brittle branches before the dog leaped on it and it collapsed.   

Alas, alas….so as a result I am reduced to uttering that phrase ‘oh what a lovely bougainvillea’ whenever we are out and about and taking bitter jealous photos of some of the thriving bougainvillea just a couple of villages away…