Under the Pink

Some places always remain exotic, even when never visited, or perhaps specially because of this. Colonia del Sacramento, in Uruguay, with its walls of tumbling bougainvillea will always remain so.

The image of pink bougainvillea tumbling over a white wall, throwing patterned shadows too, is dabbed in my memory. And it has a suitably naughty history.

Native to South America, the first European to describe these plants was Philibert Commerçon, a botanist accompanying French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his voyage around the world. The first European to observe these plants was Jeanne Baré, Commerçon’s lover and assistant who was an expert in botany; because she was not allowed on ship as a woman, she disguised herself as a man in order to make the journey, and thus became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe.

It took another woman, a certain Ms Butt, to discover a new crimson strain of bougainvillea, and to add to its exotic appeal. There are now countless mixes and colours of this wonderful, incomparable plant.

bougainvillea
blushing in sensual colour
a shelter for my dreams