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Bauhinia Kockiana

I love the highlands – but I can’t say the same about the arduous drive up and down the hills. Sharp curves and hairpin bends are just not my cup of tea.

But it was on one of those stomach-churning trips that I spotted a blaze in the lush tropical forest. Nausea forgotten, I craned my neck to get a better look. One of the tallest trees was aflame with orange blooms. A bauhinia kockiana had wound its way up more than 100 feet. It was spectacular!

Our own kockiana was no comparison, but we were proud of our modest plant all the same. It (then) draped over the frame of our old swing, creating a semi-angular arch with heavy splashes of orange all year round.

The kockiana gave way to the petrea but its marcotted progeny grew in other parts of the garden. One of them brightens the far corner in the garden now.

Unlike its lofty highland relative, our kockiana leans over the fence at my height. The advantage? I get to see it at close range.

Delicate tendrils belie their strength as they wind round whatever they come into contact with. It’s no wonder then that the kockiana is able to reach tremendous heights despite its weak stems.

Clusters of small green buds blossom into yellow then peach coloured flowers which eventually darken to a flaming orange shade.

Every now and then a seed pod forms producing between one to four seeds. I try to pick the pod just before it explodes in situ since dispersed seeds could land in inhospitable conditions.

The bauhinia kockiana is just the thing for anyone who loves bursts of flaming colours in the garden. What’s more incredible is that this perennial will thrive happily in your garden with minimal care.

Care and Propagation : full sun; not fussy about soil; water moderately; support weak stems; propagate using seeds or by marcotting

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