Autumn in the Rosehaven Cottage gardens: Canna lilies and bougainvillea blooming

November canna lilies

This morning I woke up from a dream that I was in my beloved Hawai'i. It was probably the morning sun shining through the window onto me as I slept ensconced by sun-loving cats. I found it unusual though. I usually don't yearn to escape to a tropical paradise until some time after Christmas and before Valentine's Day--in other words that cold month known as January. Since spending that entire month lounging in a chaise on the shores of Turtle Bay is completely unfeasible financially and logistically, a few years ago I set a goal to grow sub-tropical plants and shrubs in my own garden to create the feeling of being there.

Autumn canna lily

After hunting around, I found quite a few sub-tropicals that can stand winter temperatures down to 20F (-7C) which is usually the coldest it gets here in winter. I've got some sub-tropicals that prefer to remain a few degrees above freezing like a tender hibiscus and a plumeria, so I put those in pots where I can pamper them through frosty nights. The bougainvillea doesn't like frost either, but it has to tough it out in the ground (sometimes I wonder if it will come back in the spring). The rest of my homage to Hawai'i (birds of paradise, canna lilies, palms, New Zealand flax and Japanese water iris) tough it out quite well in various spots throughout the garden when our overnight temps dip down into the frosty range.

Overnight frost is still a few weeks away in our micro-climate, so even though it's November I'm enjoying the beauty of gorgeous tropical looking canna lilies in my back garden. I put in quite a few new varieties last spring so the colors are all new to me. I'm really enjoying the pretty sherbet-toned surprises.

November bougainvillea

Despite hints and scowls from Hubby, I haven't had the heart to cut back the long invasion thorny tendrils of bougainvillea that creep toward the cars parked in the driveway. Our coolish summer got it off to a late start, and I want to savor their pink and orange tissue paper blooms before they're zapped by Jack Frost's breath in a few weeks.

Soon the leaves of the canna will succumb to the colder nights too. But I know that their hardy rhizomes are underground waiting for February and March to come so they can send up shoots again and dazzle me with their glory for the next 9 months. If they can tough out January, then I can too.

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  1. I can grow the cannas but not the bougainvillea... I love bougainvillea so much. They used to grow thick and tall *down-below*. My dream is to live in a climate that would be hospitable to bougainvillea, citrus and avocados.

    Hey, I can dream.
    Love you,

  2. Nice! It does look like you have a little piece of Hawaiian paradise blooming in your backyard. Lovely way to adapt.


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