One of my favorite curses in my yard is six bougainvillea plants near the back fence. I say curse, because those things are spiny as hell, and never fail to leave me looking like I got into a literal cat fight. With a cat. Or seven. I say favorite because when they bloom, they look beautiful. And I don't have to do anything for that to happen. They just grow. But therein lies the problem. They sit in the back of the yard, growing quietly while I tend to squash and tomatoes and pomegranates and other things that need attention. But today, I decided the bougainvillea needed some attention too.
When I first moved into this house, these vines were so huge and overgrown that they had grown all over the back side of the fence into the alley. When I walked through the alley one day, it was like a huge wall of bright pink (or fuchsia?) flowers, and it was really breathtaking. But then the neighbor yelled at me for letting it grow out of control, so I promised to cut it back. And I did. To nubs. Seriously, just stumps growing out of the dirt. But like any good weed, they grew back. This time, I was somewhat prepared, and promised myself to train them and keep them pretty and most of all in my yard. It was the least I could do, right?
So today, I spent two hours on these bushes. Two. Hours. In the heat. Sweating like a…well, sweating a lot. And I only got halfway through. But that was enough. I snipped and cut, slashed and pulled, with spiny thorns poking out everywhere. Those bushes really keep you on your toes. When I'm cutting them, I can't help but imagine that these were the vines that surrounded Sleeping Beauty's castle while she slept for 100 years. I could see how bougainvillea would literally grow around everything in its path, and keep any attempted suitors away. I'm amazed more parents don't use it for their teenage daughters. It's definitely a deterrent. Anyway, I made progress. With scratches on my ankles elbows and shoulders, I was saved by a friend who wanted to hang out at the local art fair. So half of these plants are tamed, half are not. The difference is somewhat shocking. So is the amount I cut off. One of these days, I'll be a bougainvillea expert. But for now, I just shoot for not hurting myself. So in that way, today was mostly a success. And the other half is due to be cut next week. We will do battle once again, bougainvillea.