Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Colours of Cuba

I had the very good fortune of enjoying a sunny visit to Cuba over the holiday season. The trip came just in time to save me from my annual, start of winter funk. Sunshine and shorts are a great way to start the new year! There was so much to see, including the above scene in Old Havana: La Bodeguita Del Medio, a bar famous for once being Ernest Hemingway's favourite watering hole among other things. I had to see it when I realized this particular street scape is somewhat iconic in Cuba. Paintings and photographs of the scene are everywhere, available in every style imaginable. The only thing missing in my photo is a classic car parked right out front.

So what happens when a garden blogger travels? Along with hundreds of pictures of historic buildings and monuments, you get hundreds of pictures of plants. These palms created a lush, green oasis at the Capitol Building in Havana.

The Royal Palm is Cuba's National Tree.

This Agave was obviously happy with its sunny location, reaching gigantic status.

This flowering climber in Old Havana is what I always envisioned for my home. However, I doubt it would appreciate that well-known Canadian endurance test we call February.

Many of Cuba's plants remain a mystery to me but I'm pretty sure this is bougainvillea.

It grows everywhere, often appearing as a wild, crazy overgrown shrub dripping with blooms.

Around the resorts of Varadero, bougainvillea is clipped into neat hedges.

The Crown of Thorns plant was also a popular hedging plant. Let's just say I took a little extra care when passing close by. They are in street planters everywhere.

The weather during my stay wasn't exactly red-hot, but these blooms were.

I love the way the sunlight hit these blooms. Somewhere, a hummingbird must be very happy.

These blooms appeared on a tree with leathery foliage very much like a maybe it is a magnolia.

And what tropical location would be complete without hibiscus.

Unlike the hibiscus I've seen here in Canada, including two growing in my backyard, the stamens are far more prominent and seem wildly intricate.

Cuba provided a much needed jolt of sunshine and warmth. And because one can't live on the joys of flora alone here's a shot of a glorious sunset to keep you warm during the cold months ahead.