Weekly photo challenge: Foreign (4) – bougainvillea

By: roughseasinthemed

Nov 02 2012

Tags: ,

Category: Flowers, Gardens, Gibraltar, India, Lanzarote, Photography, Spain, UK


Focal Length:5.8mm
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Rampant bougainvillea has always taken my fancy as an exotic sub-tropical plant. Foreign in every sense of the word. Even the name sounds so exciting.

I’m sure I saw it in India, but my senses were so stunned by everything there that I have no memory of it. Pink flowers don’t really compete with snake charmers on the street, or huge cockroaches in the restaurant watching you eat from their vantage point on the wall above you. Or parades involving elephants and camels. Or getting the sleeper train with an armed guard bearing a huge rifle at the end of every corridor.

So my first memory of bougainvillea really dates back to Lanzarote where we stayed in an aparthotel at Matagorda, midway between the airport and Puerto del Carmen.

We had sea views, a balcony, a reasonable kitchen area, a somewhat dark bedroom, and a well-appointed sitting room. Not that it made much difference as we were normally out for the early bus (bus stop conveniently located just outside the hotel) to arrive in Arrecife for 8am and go off exploring elsewhere on the island.

But on the rare occasion we were in the apartment, I was captivated by the glorious bougainvillea, which covered the walls near the balcony. Stunning pink against brilliantly white walls in the sub-tropical autumn sunshine screamed ‘Foreign! Exotic!’ to me.

And have done ever since.

I wrote in a comment on my earlier bougainvillea post that I failed to grow it in the UK, despite it being cosseted indoors, and I have managed to kill two plants in Spain. How I managed that I will never know.

Here in Gib it flourishes in the botanical gardens, in private gardens, and on the street. This one is taken at the promenade by Jumpers Bastion.

It looks as though it is almost sun-bleached, but I think it is a just a paler pink that the previous shot. It comes in other colours too, reds, yellows, oranges, but for me it needs to be pink. I’m not a pink person as a rule, but, pink is perfect for bougainvillea.

Perhaps I should buy another plant and try again.


7 comments on “Weekly photo challenge: Foreign (4) – bougainvillea”

  1. I’m quite intrigued by DT’s choice of background here as it usually picks something similar to the main colour……..at least you can guarantee no mustard though πŸ˜‰
    Can you take a cutting from the one in the photo, at least that way you know it is happy in Gib πŸ™‚


    • I reckon DT picked up the sunlight on the central bracts (the pink bits are bracts, the actual flower is the tiny white bit in the middle) * spouts horticultural knowledge * and maybe the saturation of the surrounding ones, which led to this strange mix of pink and grey.

      I didn’t bother trying to manipulate this one, in fact I took the photo and drafted the post a while ago but never got round to using it. It fitted the theme though with its abundance of flowers as that was the effect I wanted to achieve, so here it is.

      I don’t know how it is propagated, better look it up I guess. My dad used to steal geranium cuttings 😦


  2. I think bougainvillea thrive on neglect… certainly you see huge bougainvillea here in pots that would seem ordinarily too small. I’m renowned for cosseting plants & killing them thus. I agree, bougainvillea is foreign. As a country kid, I’d never seen or heard of it, maybe it’s more coastal or now more popular but I love it, and practially applied it makes a great security hedge, fence or wall plant, as well as being festively coloured.


    • Perhaps it does thrive on neglect. Vicky sent me a great link about propagating from cuttings so I may yet have another go. I find hard wood cuttings difficult to grow though 😦

      A security hedge is a great idea, I’d not thought of that but those spikes are lethal, as I discovered when I was gardening for some one and had to cut back some enormous plants. They were like triffids.


  3. Oh yes they grow here, in abundance. But i can imagine how they must have paled in comparision to all those exotic things you list πŸ˜€


    • I couldn’t imagine they weren’t in India! Maybe I have a subconscious memory of them and that’s why I’ve always considered them exotic.

      Odd the things you do remember from travels. Especially so long ago.


  4. […] Weekly photo challenge: Foreign (4) – bougainvillea (everypicturetellsone.wordpress.com) […]


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