Sunday, June 7, 2009

Struck by Lightning!

Pin It My favorite bougainvillea topiary died last night, struck by a severe lightning storm that hit Miami in the overnight hours of 6/6/09. It was the pride and joy of the neighborhood and my assistant chef Lucy's favorite place to relieve herself. Our neighborhood will never be the same.

Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina. Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus. The plant was discovered in Brazil in 1768, by Philibert Commerçon, French Botanist accompanying French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his his voyage of circumnavigation. They grow in warm climates, particularly Mexico, Florida, the Keys, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, South America, the Mediterranean countries, Southern California, South Carolina and Texas. I am sure I am missing a country or two, so if you reside in one of them I'm sure I will be hearing from you.

This is the second bougainvillea casualty in less than two months, the other being ours which is sick from something that has eaten all the leaves. I have been treating it with Bayers Advanced Insect Control for flowering trees and bushes and spraying it with a copper solution and praying that it comes back. The prognosis does not look good, particularly with all the rain we have been getting which bougainvilleas hate.

I am very sorry to see that the topiary will not be replaced. In its stead, there are a couple of pretty bushes by the side of the driveway waiting to be planted. The other show stopper in the neighborhood, my mother's bougainvillea, is a bigger problem because it shades and provides a hanging place for all the beautiful orchids she grows. We will be devastated if it doesn't make it. Ay vey, sometimes we don't realize the value of our plants until they get sick or die.

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