Another bromeliad post. This time I have some new additions to show off. These two came from Florida, where they have the best selection because they can grow bromeliads as landscape plants! I have to remind myself whenever I'm looking at landscapes from Florida or Hawaii that I don't like heat and humidity. I can grow so many plants in the Northwest that I shouldn't be jealous of them for growing orchids and bromeliads outside year-round, on trees and in the ground.
They were a bit of a splurge, but I couldn't say no. I had to replace my Guzmania musaica, which really did not like Wisconsin (it made its displeasure known by dying). The replacement is quite a bit smaller than my old one, which is actually perfectly fine. My first one was huge! The new one has a bloom stalk coming up. It's yellow, unlike most of the pictures I've seen which are orange, but it's also young. Maybe they age to orange? We'll find out. And there are two pups starting, too. So happy to have this brom back in my collection. It's been a favorite since childhood when I would look through my dad's old houseplant books.
The second bromeliad, Vriesea ospinae-gruberi, I fell in love with at Longwood Gardens. At one end of the conservatory is a room called the Cascade Garden. It's filled with basalt (or fake basalt, at least) waterfalls, and bromeliads everywhere. One of those bromeliads is a huge mass of Vriesea ospinae-gruberi. I was astonished when I opened the box and hauled this giant bromeliad out. The ones at Longwood seemed much more compact. This one is at least two feet tall and two and a half feet wide. It's enormous. Why do these bromeliads keep showing up larger than I think they are?
Oh well, it's a big, lush plant and I've been wanting a few of those. You can't just have little treasures. The pattern on the leaves of Vriesea ospinae-gruberi is, in my opinion, among the most amazing in the genus, maybe even in the whole bromeliad family. Dark green streaks and blotches create a complex network across the bright green background.
On the back of the leaves, the dark green is replaced by purple, making an even more striking contrast.
So now I have two more plants to ogle every chance I get. There wasn't a whole lot of that going on this weekend, though. I moved around a dozen heaths and heathers from the driveway island, ranging in size from one to about four feet across (I had to ask my dad to help lift the 4-footer out of its hole). There was the usual weeding, a bit more watering than typical for this time of year, and various other little projects. I do worry about summer with spring being so warm and dry already (even though it's supposed to rain this week). My brother came over on Sunday to till the vegetable garden and help with the next phase of the greenhouse. I finished digging the trench for power and water on Thursday, and my dad took care of installing those on Saturday. Yesterday, we leveled the wood foundation and screwed it together. We laid down a vapor barrier and filled in with about two yards of crushed rock. Next weekend we should start actually putting up the greenhouse! The contractors are also supposed to be starting work on the fence this week. I certainly hope they get it done before it gets too hot to plant. I don't want ugly beds full of holes all summer, and fall planting doesn't always work well for some plants.