Mexican life

Bougainvillea butcher

THE CURSE of my gardening existence, as has often been noted here, is this bougainvillea that I planted when it was in a pot, and then I turned my back on it, so to speak.

When it spotted me otherwise engaged, it exploded — spikes, shedding flowers and all — to its current beastly status, virtually out of control, taunting me daily.

But I am battling back. At least, Abel the Deadpan Gardener is fighting back on my behalf. That’s him Tuesday morning giving the plant some much-deserved discipline.

For contrast, see the photo below that my child bride shot about a month ago as I posed for perspective’s sake.

That’s one big mother. That plant, that is.

But Abel’s labor did not stop there. One of the four ivy plants creeping along the Alamo Wall decided recently to take a dive, in a manner of speaking. It died, and I don’t know why.

It was firmly connected to the rock wall, and difficult to pull off even in its dead state, but Abel did a great job.

With the trimming done, he chopped everything and hauled it away in a wheelbarrow to somewhere out back, down a ravine where it will decompose as Mama Nature intended.

Abel went home with 500 pesos.

Not bad for three hours of work in the sunshine.

15 thoughts on “Bougainvillea butcher

    1. Hi, Super: You and my wife are of one mind and for the same reason, which is that neither of you have to actually deal with this thing. It is beautiful. I will give you that.

      My bougainvillea is of moderate size for my area of Middle Mexico. There are others around town that dwarf it. The thing is that bougainvilleas never stop growing. Never. If they have something to crawl up, preferably a nearby tree or even a building will do, they reach spectacular heights. Alas, they have killer spikes, and they shed dead flowers like nobody’s business. Bougainvillea, in an area friendly to it, is a mixed blessing.

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    1. Mike: I actually overpaid him. He was only here a bit over two hours. I paid more for the plant spikes and bright sun than anything. We have a niece who works as a receptionist at Megacable, and she makes 500 pesos a week. A week! She also earns some commission for the new customers she signs up, but I don’t think that amounts to all that much.

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  1. I had my own Battle of Bougainvillea in Florida before I moved to Mexico. I learned my lesson and would never plant another one again.

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    1. Andrés: Well, I sure won’t plant another one. I have three more in my yard, but I subdue them fanatically. This big one grew out of control before I truly knew their character. Mistake on my part.

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  2. More hardscaping in our front and back. Almost have the lawn green space beat back. A master stonemason at age 62 working by himself hacking depressions into the hard clay soil to lay stones in a path pattern, then mortar. I ached for him but he came at 8AM and left at noon, an adequate day’s work for him. He will be back each day of this week and will finish by Friday. Luckily it’s heavily cloudy but also heavily humid with not a whisper of wind. Go Spurs.

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    1. Carole: When we built the Alamo Wall out in our yard, something we had done about a year after moving in, we hired the same honcho who built the house. He excelled at stonework. We assumed he’d do what he did with the house construction, which was to bring helpers. He was 70 years old. Danged if he didn’t come by himself and start digging the trench for the wall one warm day. We got in the car and started driving around the neighborhood to find him a helper, which we did. At that point, he spent the rest of the project sitting on the ground chipping big rocks into something usable. I don’t know why he came alone.

      He died about five or so years ago.

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      1. I really love the bougainvillea. But, glad I’m not your gardener. We are in Merida now. Our casita has one small macetero on the back patio. I’ve never actually planted anything in it but it has all kinds of plants growing in it. It has an abundance of what I call penis trees. Trees that sprout elongated seed pods that burst open and millions of seeds float through the air, take root, and make more penis trees. I love being here this time of the year where the heat is welcomed. Evidently I was an iguana in a previous life.
        Your photography evokes emotion on a regular basis. It’s awesome.

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        1. Bev: Penis trees! Lordy, lordy. God knows what the actual name is. Maybe yours will catch on.

          As for Mérida, too warm for me. Just about anything lower than the 7,200 feet above sea level where I live is too warm for me these days.

          Thanks for the nice words on the photos.

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  3. If you want something really invasive, particularly in Michoacan’s wetter climate, try Virginia Creeper. That sucker will cover your house in no time at all. Star Jasmine is another rapid grower, but with beautiful flowers and aroma you can smell from six feet away.

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    1. Señor Lanier: My philosophy these days regarding yard plantings is that I plant nothing more complicated than petunias. Pansies are okay too. Nothing that grows larger than my foot.

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