Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Abies balsamea 'Nana'

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bromeliad addiction

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.


14 comments:

  1. Can totally understand why people get hooked into bromeliads, it's a beautiful group of plants! And it seems there are some exciting times ahead for you there with all the work going on :)

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    1. So much excitement I was too tired to even look at my comments or read other blogs for the last couple days.

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  2. Bromeliads are a joy. Mine summer outside in heat and humidity and winter under 'glass' which they don't seem to mind. I have a vriesea that was in bloom when I got it. It put on little pups and instead of the old plant dying as expected, the pups died still attached and the mother plant is now several years old, still living.

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    1. I put a few of my bromeliads outside for the summer, but these two would need a shady spot that I don't have. Or rather, the shady spot I do have for things like that is already full.

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  3. Bromeliads are, indeed, gorgeous and easy to get hooked on. I have several that were supposed to end up in the greenhouse but they stay in the house so that I can enjoy them more frequently. Sounds like you're making good progress on several projects!

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    1. I'm already starting to imagine myself taking things to the greenhouse for the winter, only to turn around and take it back to the house because I want to keep looking at it.

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  4. Busy, busy...surprised you can still make room for house plants. Those are well worth the effort.

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    1. I can still see through the windows. There's space for more plants. :)

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  5. Love your new acquisitions! I seem to be in a pattern of bringing home Bromeliads from my annual visits to Rare Plant Research, I wonder what this year holds?

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    1. Bromeliads are going to be some of my most likely acquisitions at RPR, too.

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  6. I hear you about the rain, or lack thereof. I've already got my sprinklers on a timer, with a rain delay button . I planted and transplanted so many things already this spring, I really don't want to lose them. Love your new Bromeliads! Were they mail order? Where from?

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    1. The rain this week has been a nice change of pace. I haven't had to worry about watering. These two broms came from The Nature Collection: http://www.thenaturecollection.com/

      She has great prices given the size of the plants she ships, and they're always in great shape. Good prices, but still not cheap.

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  7. I love Bromeliad foliage. I've got some growing as houseplants and 2 others in pots outdoors. I'm tempted to try planting some in the ground but given their usually exorbitant prices, I'm afraid that could be a costly mistake.

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    1. I'm surprised you can't find at least some bromeliads for relatively low prices. I guess you aren't in the bromeliad zone of California. Or maybe those California gardens I've seen stuffed with bromeliads are owned by rich folk who can afford them.

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