“Operation Bougainvillea”

Some weeks ago, as a part of the Feng-Shui landscaping of the entrance garden, we realized we needed more “Protection” there (the Mother’s name for bougainvillea). Not a day had passed since we decided to do something about it, that Noel (an American man who works at Matrimandir gardens), sent a note to the on-line Community Bazar offering a big dark-pink bougainvillea that was taking over his house and needed to be transplanted elsewhere. So Manu got in contact with him to let him know that we would be happy to have it.

Leonardo starting to uproot the bougainvillea

Eventually, “Operation Bougainvillea” took place last Saturday. What seemed to be an open and closed case turned out to be a far more arduous task. At 2:30 pm, as scheduled, Leonardo, Mahesh (one of the workers at the International House), the tempo truck and I headed to Noel’s house. And what a surprise we had when we saw the dimensions of the bougainvillea! A huge bougainvillea was waiting for us! And thanks God it was all pruned and there was only a 1-meter high trunk left. Still the roots were very large and profound, so it took a lot of work to have it uprooted. Actually, the roots had to be cut (as far away from the trunk as possible) and we ended up pulling the trunk out with a rope tied to the tempo truck!

Pulling the bougainvillea out with the tempo!

Five men loading the bougainvillea

Safe and sound inside the tempo!

      I must say I didn’t do any of the hard work (I was just passing the tools around when asked to, and taking pictures, of course…), but the three men working (Noel, Mahesh and Leonardo) sweated buckets.

In that tree one could see the power of Nature… A bougainvillea is “just” a creeper… And it had become such a strong, alive and grounded being… Breathtaking…

Noel and Leonardo all muddy but satisfied. First phase of the mission accomplished!


Uprooting it was just the first phase of “Operation Bougainvillea”. For when we got back to the International House we had a second surprise: the pit that had been dug to transplant the bougainvillea was about one tenth the size needed! Oh, my…! And the soil was not soft at all… So after giving it a thought, we decided to water the soil abundantly and let it soak until the following morning, so the pit could be dug more easily.

Leonardo when he saw the tiny pit... Hahahahaha!

Next day, Sunday morning, it took Leonardo and one of the construction workers almost one hour to dig the hole needed to fit our new precious bougainvillea. And once the pit was ready it took five of us to put the tree inside. Next thing, we “blessed” it with ashes and cow dung (perfect compost) and we put all the soil back to cover the roots. We watered it for a good while and, finally, B. mulched it with dried leaves to retain the moisture. Wow, no joke!

The bougainvillea in its new place!

Ashes covering the roots

B. pouring the cow dung

Covering the roots with soil

And last but not least... Irina watering the bougainvillea!

Seeing the hard work involved in such a venture, I couldn’t stop thinking that we were symbolically working for our own “protection”, establishing a new nice strong and wise protection that hopefully will soon sprout and offer new leaves and precious colorful flowers which will both beautify and protect the International House and the lives of all of its inhabitants.



Filed under Carme, Garden project

2 responses to ““Operation Bougainvillea”

  1. Anna Pujol i Valls

    Wow!! that looks like hard work…but very rewarding at the same time! I like the idea of protection very much. Maybe I will get myself a (definitely much smaller) bouganvillea!!

  2. Mike

    It has been almost one year. Would you please tell us how your bougainvillea doing? I am curious how such a large bougainvillea handles transplantation.

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