Action needed to protect wonderful plants
I congratulate Fiona McWhirter for putting together the article on the lack of flowers on our poincianas this summer.
I completely agree with my colleagues who contributed their opinions to the article and would like to add further comments of my own.
As a professional horticulturist, former superintendent of our Botanical Gardens, author of two booklets on Bermuda's roadside flora and a former columnist to The Royal Gazette with Bermuda Gardeners' Diary, I offer the following.
As the longtail is the harbinger of spring in Bermuda, I have always regarded the first blossoms on our poincianas as the harbinger of summer. This year in early July, I observed a small cluster of flowers on a tree near the old Devonshire Post Office, but that was it.
Most of our existing stock of this beautiful tree are very elderly, and have generally lacked good management and nutritional assistance. I think that this is a contributing factor to the loss of flowers.
While I fully support all the efforts to conserve our endemic flora, I would also like to draw attention to other introduced plants that contribute so much to the beauty of our island home.
This, of course, includes the poinciana, but also a number of other plants: the yellow poinciana (Peltophorum), the Cassia (golden and pink shower), jacaranda and magnolia, together with some shrubs and vines and the cousin of our endemic Bermudiana — namely the pink Lapeirousia.
Both of the latter are disappearing fast, falling victim to the roadside use of herbicides to control weed growth.
May I suggest the following ideas to ensure that these wonderful plants do not disappear from our landscape:
1, Our local plant nurseries make a concerted effort to propagate them and make them available for sale to the public
2, Establish collections of them in the Botanical Gardens and Arboretum
3, Encourage property developers to use them in their plans
4, Encourage groups of homeowners to come together and plant them within zones and share equal responsibility for their care
I would like to close with an urgent plea for there to be a concerted effort to rid our Island of the most invasive pepper tree, which threatens to engulf all of our other flora.
THE REVEREND DONALD MOORE