Saturday, October 14, 2006

Gratuitous Foliage

Detecting Fall in Hawaii can not be done by looking at the foliage of plants for a clue unless you have the eye of a botanist. This Croton is in its full fall glory year round.

Late September and October can be some of the hottest, muggiest and most miserable weather of the year. This past two weeks has been just that. The trade winds stop and a slow humid southeasterly flow, I don't think it really qualifies as a wind settles in.

This air brings with it Vog, a thick hazy natural pollution created on the island of Hawaii by a volcano that spews out in the metric of tons volcanic gasses on a daily basis. In a Kona Wind this Vog which normally blows away from us is carried up and over the island chain. Our usual clear blue skies start looking like the thick dirty air in parts of the mainland.

The pink blush of the bromeliads is a function of the quality of sunlight they receive from direct to filtered. There could perhaps be a subtle change in their color as the shadows lengthen from the shifting orbit of the sun, but location is more important than the time of the year.

The wretched Bougainvillea does seem to favor the cooler seasons to bloom and this one is currently putting on an early show.

A persistently green Ponytail Palm, Beaucarnea recurvata adds a starting point of comparison to this year round riot of color.

Yesterday the Vog seemed to lift though it was still distinctly visible in the southwestern sky as a thick grey band. The sky and the air were changing and this meant something was up. It seems there is a possible Storm a Comin. We may be in for some real rain. Our first low pressure front of the winter season may soon bring a cleansing bath to the dust encrusted landscape.

There will be plenty of clean foliage for Halloween and Thanksgiving decor.


christin m p in massachusetts said...

I know what you mean now about these couple of weeks being your muggiest ones there. I've been checking your Maui weather link almost every day, and the lowest I've seen the dew point go for months now is 66 degrees, and then it turned a very humid 70 degrees yesterday.

We've had the opposite extrene going on here. For the past couple of mornings, we've had frost warnings -- it's gotten down to the low 30's. At least it's supposed to go back up to normal soon -- they're saying that our morning low temperatures won't go below the 40's for at least the rest of this week.

Our foliage is nearing peak here. I should probably take some pictures of it no later than next weekend. I also would like to get some pictures of the elaborate Halloween displays people set up in their yards and on their houses.

You called the Bougainvillea "wretched" -- is it because it's a pain in the neck to maintain? I'm thinking it can't have to do with how it looks, because it looks really pretty to me. Isn't it the one with the deep pink flowers? A flower is one of the few things (besides lipstick) that I think looks really good in the color pink -- especially a rich, deep shade like that.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

Bougainvillea is covered with sharp hard thorns that tear the flesh. It grows incredibly fast and wants to be a very large shrub. Everyone has got to have it because they think it is so beautiful when it blooms. I suppose it is beautiful if you like garish neon colors and painted Greek/Roman statues. Then they need to keep it confined to the small space it is given along the walkway, drive or deck which means it needs to be trimmed every two weeks. You end up with a thorny box of sticks that rarely blooms.

The best place for Bougainvillea is in the neighbor's yard.

chuck b. said...

People plant bougainvillea thinking it's going to climb, but it needs help to climb and people don't get that.

I have Beaucarnia recurvata too. Mine is much smaller. That was a real impusle buy for me. I didn't have anywhere to plant it, so it's in a hanging basket. It can't stay there tho'.

Annie in Austin said...

The wretched pink Bougainvillea can hang with my wretched hot pink Crepe myrtles. They're everywhere in Austin and very boring. My neighbor's pink crepe myrtle has some value as a privacy screen for us, I guess.