Every morning when I walk with the dogs, I count the veranera in bloom. Latest count is 31 out of 36--but peak blooming season is past. The heavy rains are beating the flowers off the plants, and I don't expect that a good third of the plants, relatively young ones, will keep their blooms much longer. Now comes the struggle to nurse the three that I've recently planted through the rainy season. They were big strong plants with good root systems, and I have high hopes.
One really pleasant surprise this year was the transformation of the bougainvillea in the picture from just your ordinary, everyday, spectacular display to a gorgeous eye-catching bicolor. It was completely red last year, and started out that way in January, but now sports salmon flowers as well. I have no idea why bougainvillea do this. On the porch we have a really beautiful red and white one that is too small this year to risk in the ground. I'd like to see it about twice as big before I plant it.
Last weekend, we fertilized nearly all the plants and trees for which that's appropriate, including the bougainvillea. With this week's rains, the plants have responded enthusiastically, so much so that I pruned this morning, taking some of the cuttings in hopes of rooting new plants. I haven't had much luck in that regard, but I'm pretty sure that's because I'm using cuttings that are too tender. It does seem that it's better to use at least semi-wooded cuttings. However, most of what I did today was snip off new growth, gritting my teeth as I did so because of course that's where the new flowers will come. I console myself with the thought that the season is almost over, and I need to restrain rampant growth. I've been gratified to see that one of my questionable plants from last year has suddenly taken off, sprouting two very sturdy looking stems. But one is still worrisome; it's holding its own but it has to do a lot better than that before the rains come in earnest in July. There's time, but I hover over it like a mother hen with a non-too-sturdy chick.