In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Bougainvillea That Ate My Lamp Post...

Many years ago we slipped a bottomless pot over our front yard lamp post and planted a baby bougainvillea in the pot. It thrived and grew... and grew... and grew. We cut it back several times each year but could barely keep up with it. And due to the treacherous thorns, we were always left a bloody mess. But oh what a gorgeous sight whenever it burst into bloom. 

Bougainvilleas bloom on new growth, and often the new growth would completely hide the light. It was always a dilemma whether to let the new growth bloom or cut it back so the light could be seen.   

As we struggled to keep its growth in check, unknown to us the roots were growing underground as vigorously as the foliage above the ground. The pot and plant sat on a round concrete block that fit around the base of the light pole. The roots found a crack in the concrete allowing them to escape the pot and burrow below. In time the roots heaved one side of the concrete circle out of the ground and caused the light pole to tilt to the left. My baby boughie had become monster threatening to devour everything in its way. 

Last month Real Old Man assessed the damage she was doing and sentenced her to death. I couldn't bear to witness her execution so ROM got up early one morning while I was still in bed and did the dirty deed. Armed with his electric tree trimmer saw thingie he dismembered her. Then with a shovel, he dug out her life giving roots depriving her of any chance of resurrection. With the cement ring back in place, he was able to straighten the light pole. And now we're left with this dusty barren sight... 

I've been brainstorming for several weeks trying to come up with a way to add some color and life. The last few years have taken a toll on me and I'm no longer able to carry buckets of water or lug a hose around. So anything we put out there has to have low water needs and easily maintained. Container gardening and bromeliads to the rescue!

First, we'll put down weed barrier cloth over the entire circle and then cover with ornamental rock. And put some kind of edging around the entire circle. 

One of my red pineapple plants has a new pineapple forming which will produce an abundance of pups. I'll plant pups in half a dozen huge clay pots to set in the circle.

(This is the plant producing the new pineapple)

(Close up of new pineapple)

My other bromeliads are also putting out new pups which I will pot and place in the circle among the red pineapples plants. Sorry, but I can't remember the name of any of them but here are photos of the mamas...

It might take us a month to get the circle prepared and all the new pups repotted. I'll take photos as we go along and post them. 

Now that it's March, are you planning your spring gardening? Won't be long now. When we lived in Illinois, by March I was so sick of winter and longing to garden that I'd have flats of seedlings under grow lights in the house, dreaming of the day I could plant them outside.