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Just because it's big doesn't mean it's better

Abbie turned vibro-dog and I knew the cause but could do nothing about it. We were moving our large tropical plants around the sunroom, into the sitting room and down the hall into one of the spare bedrooms. Our little Cairn terrier wasn’t keen on big things moving around the house that, in her simple doggie brain, belonged outside. First, she disappeared outside and into her “foxhole,” a wide but shallow retreat she’d dug near the dryer vent in the yard.

Just when she thought it was save to come back inside, I lopped the upper branches off of an old, 6+ foot-tall bougainvillea standard that hadn’t bloomed in six years. I knew my husband Dave wouldn’t like it. Which is why I did it when he was in the garage. He entered the house just as the thick, thorny branches fell. He didn’t take it well. There were raised voices and more than a little anguish in his voice.
“Why did you do it,” he wailed. “It took me years to get it going as a standard!”
“Yeah, but has it ever bloomed,” I asked in a calm voice as I carefully gathered the branches.
We have two bougainvillea standards, neither of which have sprouted more than one or two blossoms. Ever. I’ve tried feeding them and not feeding them. I’ve tried moving them to different locations in the garden and repotting them. My conclusion is that these are both varieties developed for in-ground use.
After seeing blooming specimens in hanging baskets at Ted’s Greenhouse, I hoped to discard the two thorny trees and, next spring, get varieties that would actually bloom in our lifetime. Oh well.
Meanwhile, back at Ted's (Remember I'd visited them a week ago to bring home an Echeveria?) I filmed him as he spoke about a fig he'd purchased and propagated, and later on a ponytail palm that seems to be one of a kind--variegated with not just a couple of stripes, but several on each leaf. At the end of the video are the bougainvilleas in hanging pots in one of Ted's greenhouses.

Dave saw these hanging pots, too. I hope he'll appreciate a blooming bougainvillea next spring. That is, unless he'd prefer to grow a thorn tree...