The first time I ever came across a bougainvillea was during my freshman year at college on a trip with friends to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. After sticking my nose into every planter and over every balcony, I was surprised to learn that none of them had a scent! I guess I was spoiled having grown up in Washington and Oregon, surrounded by an abundance of fragrant flowers. The next year, I was reunited with bougainvillea once more on a family trip to Kauai, Hawaii. Again I marveled at their beauty, but this time, I did not stop to smell the flowers. That was the last time I saw bougainvillea until I moved to Florida.
I find myself smelling bougainvillea again, but this time enjoying a scent similar to honeysuckles. I got my wish after all! Unbeknownst to many, Bougainvillea ‘Arborea’ is the only known variety that is fragrant. I think it’s a wonderful variety for its lack of thorns, bushy habit, mass flowering, and the best part – fragrant blooms! Bracts are small – each one about the size of a penny and the color is a pinkish-lavender very similar to the color of Silhouette. Look for it in BGI’s production lineup for 2010!