Pink bougainvilleas

Bougainvilleas. Why would anyone not love them! They bloom throughout the year. They look gorgeous. They come in different colours. And so it was really not a surprise that we planted bougainvilleas all over our farm. Some white, some pink, some peach. They flourished, and how! It was and still is a pleasure to see them in bloom, over two decades later. Except for one little difference.

They are all pink now.

The bees visit your white flowers and offer them gifts of pink pollen. Soon, a few pink flowers appear on the white bougainvilleas. I have not seen a single white one appear on a pink bougainvillea.The unsuspecting whites slowly start turning pink. The benefits are obvious: the pinks are more efficient, stronger, much more capable and powerful. And maybe even better looking.

You can’t fight against genetic superiority. You can only submit to it. And it all happens so naturally that you forget that the lovely pinks are scoring a brutal victory over other beautiful colours that are struggling to survive. An occasional white may withstand this onslaught due to more favourable surroundings where the pinks aren’t present. But once they are around you, you don’t stand a chance. Plant one nearby and in a few years, all the other colours of bougainvillea will turn pink and no trace will remain of the whites or peaches.

Fourteen years of hard work went into growing our bougainvillea, which we lovingly called Niramaya. Its white flowers struggled to keep their identity as the bees kept turning each one of their neighbours pink. In the battle against strong forces of nature, the gardener can appreciate the tree’s efforts but knows it can’t win. And so, the time has finally come to give in to the pinks.

Maybe, some day, the white gene will decide to transform itself and end the hegemony of the pinks. The wheel of time will wipe each one out and replace it with something else that is more efficient and powerful. That is nature’s rule.

With this solace, we move on. Happy that our beautiful tree will still be alive and blooming bright pink. A bit sad that its flowers are no longer white.

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