Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Get thee behind me, prejudice

I was not a mandevilla person. But kyk hoe lyk ek nou, as they say in South Africa. Look at me, now.

My feelings for (against) mandevilla were associated with an aversion for pink flamingoes (the un-ironic, garden kind), fishing gnomes, shiny, chromed garden railings, red begonias growing with gritted teeth in full sun, and perhaps even with Miracle Gro. Not my thing.

Then came the leafhoppers.

These tiny green sucking insects ruined the scarlet runner beans I had planted to grow on our terrace railings. They hoover the chlorophyll from leaves, which turn dry and burned-looking. I had intended the beans as a lightly leafy privacy screen along the terrace edges, and hoped the bright flowers might also feed passing hummingbirds (as they did in Harlem and at 1st Place). There is no effective treatment for leaf hoppers that is not systemic. But I garden organically, and so I pulled the beans out.

Already halfway through the growing season I needed something fast-growing. Enter the mandevilla, grown as an annual climber in this climate. And I chose white. The more common pink was a step too far.

Six weeks later it has sent out long  tendrils, and every evening I weave them into strategic gaps.

I'm almost ready for the pink flamingoes.



  1. I try not to say the word "Mandavilla" around here, because Mitchell loves the RED ones and they are so much worse than the flamingos! But your white one is lovely. The other problem here is that most of what i find are diplademia and do not vine well. It's a real pain to finally find one that you think you can stand to look at for four months, only to realize after two that it's never going to climb your trellis! May look for white next year and put the tuteur back to work!

    1. I actually bought a dipledenia first, by accident! So I have that, too. It is vining pretty well, but not as aggressively.

  2. I succumbed to a pale yellow one this year and it is very very pretty. It's twined along our deck railing and is nicely offset with the deep purple hyacinth bean growing on the corner of the house.

  3. Every year in late spring, my folks would head to the local nursery to get a pink mandevilla to wind around the walkway railing, and two pink hibiscus for the planters. My Dad always asked for a "malaguena" and a couple of "biscuits." The nurseryman always knew just what my Dad wanted . . . Dad passed away last summer. He'd be 90 this week.

  4. It's an awful pink -blended salmon and rose colors. White works.


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