One of the most popular flowering shrubs seen in home gardens and parks is the Mussaenda/Mussaenda erythophylla. The usual colours seen here, are this peachy pink that I have (Dona Luz), white (Dona Aurora), a lighter shade of pink (Queen Sirikit), and red (Dona Evangelina). It's a shrub that can grow to over 10 feet in height and blooms throughout summer. It is for this intense colour that this ornamental shrub has a focal place in most gardens.
Mine is growing in a large er..plastic bucket. Earlier ones planted on the ground could not bear the brunt of excess water during the rains. I learnt the hard and rather expensive way that it loves a well-drained soil and in my garden, that's easiest to come by...in a container!! But now it seems happy and has already given me several months of peachy colour. It's just that I had included it for a GBBD post, and I didn't want to post the same again so soon.
A native of Asia (some websites mention Africa), the Mussaenda belongs to the coffee family, Rubiaceae. Out of the cultivars I'd mentioned earlier, 'Queen Sirikit' is the only one named after the Thai queen. The other cultivars are named after the First Ladies of the Philippines.
This shrub does well in high humidity and hot weather conditions. Propaga- tion is by cutting or air layering. It does not require much feeding. Watering should be moderate but the soil should remain moist. The shrub can be pruned during winter when there's hardly any colour left on it.
The tiny blooms surrounded by colourful sepals remind me of....
...the blooms of the Bougainvillea.
See how pale some of the sepals are now. Gradually, all that bright peach will turn pale and fall off.
Not satisfied with just the photos of my potted plant, I head off to the gardens of Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra, a cultural centre housing museums, an amphitheatre, a children's park and much more. But I simply scouted around for Mussaenda!!! And these are what I saw!
Bamboo support is used for these tall shrubs. All those blooms must be so heavy that they need to be propped up like that!
And on a roundabout closer home, the white variety grows next to dark pink Pentas. I thought the pink and white combination looked pretty. What do you think?
Glory be to God for dappled things- For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow; For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim; Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings; Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough; And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange; Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim; He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise him. Gerard Manley Hopkins
The first flowering shrub I planted on our land
Every flower is a soul blooming in Nature.-Gerard De Nerval
Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself? -Henry David Thoreau