Bye Bye Bougie

Piece of Eden

The neighbor's enormous Bougainvillea began to come out yesterday.  It grew rampantly for nearly a decade after we removed all the Eucalypts on our property, which finally allowed it to get the sunlight it craved.  Creating a waterfall of magenta, it was a glory.  During our heavy December rains, it began to collapse, bringing down the telephone wire for the neighbors and the uphill house as well.  Thus it was doomed.  It had mostly collapsed over on our side of the fence, but the telephone company said it had to be removed, and so it was.

It was enveloping a tragic "Y" shaped Jacaranda tree which is growing at a 45 degree angle.  The workers had to hack it out of that, unfortunately--also removing the Jacaranda would have been appropriate.  A Jacaranda tree can be a beautiful noble thing properly shaped and cared for.  Grown at a 45 degree angle and left full of dead branches, it ain't quite so lovely. 

Piece of Eden

Bougie whacking continued.  Five men hauled at a rope trying to pull a big section of it up towards the chipper truck.  Rats were scurrying out of the Bougie as it sagged downwards.  Helpfully, they all appeared to head to the neighbor's property. 
Piece of Eden

The workers got about a quarter of the beastie into the chipper before quitting as darkness fell.
Piece of Eden

They are supposed to finish today, hopefully before it rains.  Several of my favorite roses are engulfed and I could not get to my compost piles without getting engulfed myself.  I played the whiner and complained about the fallen litter filling the drainage culvert--not good when rain is expected.  The tree guys cleaned it up a bit.  I hope they finish before it rains.

I will miss the blaze of magenta, but not the rat nests.  Bye Bye Bougie!

Maintenance to me is the most important part of gardening.  A beautiful design is nothing if some plants are left to die, others to become overgrown or engulfed by weeds.  An unmaintained garden is like an uneducated child--sure, the kid is alive, but doomed never to reach her highest potential.  Zen gardens--with their raked gravel patterns ringing boulders and a tree or two--Zen gardens are all about the maintenance--that gravel raking is a way to meditate.  Meditate upon the growth and destruction of things, about daily routine, about repeating actions working towards perfection, about doing something one way and then another, doing with anger, with joy, with boredom.  Maintenance reveals. 

I have many photos of the Bougie in full glory, and will remember it fondly but without regret--it was engulfing some of my roses and shading them out.  Now I have a lovely new view of the neighbor's air conditioner and a clear sight of their collapsing wall made of rotting railroad ties.  But that creates opportunity--shall I plant a small tree to screen out their garage?  Add a panel of wrought iron and grow a vine or rose upon it, to see something other than that collapsing wall?  Loss has created planting opportunities!  Yee Haw! 

Bye Bye Bougie.  I will remember you.  All the magenta red glory faced my way--all the neighbors ever saw was the bare leafless north side.  I will miss, but not regret.  Gardens change.  I meditate on that, daily.

The Neighbor's Bougainvillea


  1. Great post, Hoov. What an enormous job. I'm always tempted to plant one of these iconic SoCal vines, but there'd be no room for anything else.

  2. That is a beautiful vine, to often taken for granted in So. Cal. I'm afraid. But you are right, gardens do change and it is a lesson that every gardener learns sooner or later!

  3. So pretty it was. I have always wanted one, but they're not cold hardy enough for here. You're right, though, you might as well enjoy the change.

  4. I will miss your photos of it. It was a most glorious bougie.


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