ONCE UPON a time, there was a cute little bougainvillea in a small, plastic pot. An idiot planted it into the ground.
That idiot was me.
Round about that same time, a nincompoop planted a nopal leaf — they’re called paddles — into the ground nearby.
The idiot and the nincompoop were one and the same, me. Flash forward about a decade.
The top photo shows the bougainvillea drooping over the wall toward the sex motel. This is good because it provides a grip on the wall. The only other thing supporting the bougainvillea are two, now invisible, steel chains I installed years ago.
My concern is the plant will collapse. I’ve seen it happen elsewhere. Then it must be removed, spines and all.
I bought that expandable ladder you see on the right, below, a few days ago. I’ll hire Abel the Deadpan Gardener to do some serious hacking. The wall is about 13 feet high.
The maguey centered in the foreground of the bottom photo presents an obstacle for the positioning of the ladder, so I’ll have it removed too, including the stone circle at its base.
The nopal tree will be left in peace. I cautiously remove lots of paddles each year, those that insist on growing horizontally instead of vertically. In time, I imagine, it will simply collapse from its own weight. The “wood” is quite soft.
Moral: Do your homework before you plant, especially if you’re planting something with vicious spines and spikes.
This is doubly true if you reside in Mexico.
Triply true if you’re a nincompoop.