Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fall Colors: Not what you think

This morning I was reading a family member's blog in which she published a photo showing the snowline edging down the mountain, the cold mist and weak sunlight yesterday in my hometown of Juneau, Alaska. After signing off I walked out of my house, into the cool but comfortable morning, and was immediately reminded why I like living
where I do this time of year. When my friends and relatives up north are wearing sweaters and parkas and already exercising their snow shovels, in Yucatàn I am still enjoying fall colors.

NOT the "fall colors" they might expect. As I went out, I immediately noticed the first purple blossom of the
thumbergia that grows up one wall of the house. Buds are forming all over this huge plant, whose climbing branches can reach 45 feet/ 14 meters in length, and soon it will be full of cascades of hanging flowers. Seeing it, I went back inside and grabbed my camera. This is what I saw around the back patio this morning.

Way out back I saw that there are still some flowers on the neighbor's white plumeria, here known as Flor de Mayo, which hangs over my garden. True to its name, this tree usually begins flowering during the month of May. This one just keeps on going, although by this time of year the blooms are getting scarce. Near it, the sensuous flaming-orange blossom of the granada, or pomegranate, above, is the first one this year that has not shriveled and fallen off before reaching maturity.

Bougainvillea, bugambilia in Spanish, blooms just about all year round. The peach variety, above, is in a small planter and has never grown much. The hot pink plant was just a little stick when I put it in about a year and a half ago. Now it measures over 12 feet/4 meters high, and is growing like crazy. It is hard to prune due to its sharp thorns.

Yellow irises continue to produce fresh blooms for months. The one seen here unfolded shortly after I took this image. Pink and yellow mandevilla, below, will grow together but are quite different. The pink is extremely delicate; the yellow very hardy and grows at a dramatic rate.

I thought astromelia was a smaller bush. This one has grown to be way above my head.

I do not know what this wildflower is. I suppose the seed was dropped by a bird. Several have sprouted in the garden. One reached more than 3 feet/1 meter across and had hundreds of blossoms.

Two fruit-producing plants: creamy white papaya flowers with yellow centers; strong pink nopal cactus flowers perched atop their tunas, or fruits, which make good eating when mature if you are very careful about their needle-fine spines. Hummingbirds love the nopal flowers.

This is known locally as Copa de oro. This plant reproduced like crazy. I started with a couple tiny pieces of root, and now have dozens of them. Hummingbirds visit these, too. They actually perch on the flower and come to rest while feeding.
Does anyone know what this is? A friend gave me some seeds months ago, and it has produced hundreds of flowers. The blooms last one day, and usually drop off by evening. The good thing is, there are always more.

I only know about these plants what friends and neighbors tell me. If anyone reading this has more information or better names, please leave a comment or email.


  1. wow - beautiful flowers and plants!

  2. Heidi, they're for you. It was your picture of Mt. Roberts that gave me the idea for the post.

  3. The red flower 8th from the top looks like an oleander


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