New Leaves

There's so much about our backyard that I can't wait to change. One thing that I'd like to keep, though, is the pink Mussaenda that stands just off the steps to our back porch. When we purchased our house a little over a year ago, the tree was full and bushy and covered in fluffy pink flowers. I'd only seen one other like it before, planted on campus, though not nearly as hearty.

This photo was taken in late October 2010. So beautiful! Well, just a couple of weeks before Christmas, Miami experienced some pretty frigid weather for this neck of the woods... a couple of nights it got down to 32-degrees! Brrr! (That's downright COLD in South Florida!)

Our lovely tree must have agreed, because just a few days later it dropped every. single. leaf. Gasp! If I didn't know better, I'd have thought it died. The only reason I know better is that the very same thing happened to it the winter before. The only difference was that last time it took months before any signs of life returned to its bare stick branches. We actually considered cutting it down at one point.

Thank goodness we didn't! By the summertime, the tree was healthy looking again and covered with fuzzy green leaves. Not long after that, flowers started to appear. Like Bougainvillea, the flowers on Mussaenda are much smaller than meets the eye. The colorful pink "petals" are actually bracts, or specialized leaves. The flower is really just the tiny star-shaped yellow center. Pretty tricky!

Our poor tree has a way to go in the leaf-growing department, but at least it's gotten started. I'm hopeful that in a few months' time it'll be looking normal again.

Did you "lose" any plants to wicked winter weather this year? Is there any hope for a full recovery?



  1. What a pretty tree! I don't have any plants to lose, being in NYC :)

  2. What a gorgeous tree! When we get a house, I am planting one of those! I love the pink fluffiness!

  3. Oh, that tree is beautiful! Love it!
    And your blog looks great!
    Hugs xxx

  4. That tree is gorgeous!!! I bet you are excited to watch it "Spring" back to life! :D

    I have 2 apple trees that I planted right after we got our house a little over a year ago. I forgot to cover them through a freeze last week...well, I actually didn't know there was a freeze until the next, I have my fingers crossed that I didn't lose them.

  5. Oh my gosh, what a gorgeous tree! Nothing makes me happier than seeing the first blooms of the year.....makes me so excited for summer!


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