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Australian and New Zealand Gardening: Bromeliads for Novices and Addicts February 2012, 1 by splinter1804

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In reply to: Bromeliads for Novices and Addicts February 2012

Forum: Australian and New Zealand Gardening

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Photo of Bromeliads for Novices and Addicts February 2012
splinter1804 wrote:
Good morning everyone,

Well I put in a very boring day yesterday at a committee meeting where we had to review and update our Brom Society constitution and this morning I think I am still suffering from “brain drain”.

Colleen – It seems like everything is starting to fit into place for you and at least you seem to be working to a plan and sticking to it which is more than I can claim to do. I start off with good intentions and see a plant that needs attention and then away I go on yet another side-track. I think you’ll be more than happy with the effect of your mesh wall when it’s finished and I’m sure we’re all looking forward to pic’s of the finished product.

Karen – That’s a nice little lot of mini’s you manage to get onto. They didn’t seem very popular down here for a long time but now everyone’s going mad for them and can’t get enough. Unfortunately there’s never any at our markets and not many growers have any to spare either. There was a nice pot full of a little yellow coloured NOID mini on the sales table last weekend at our meeting for $5 but unfortunately I already had it.

Shirley – I’ve only been collecting for about 12 years now and I do have a “much too large collection” which is due not so much to buying, but mainly by swapping and growing from my own seed. As for the number, I would have to say it’s impossible to count as I have thousands of seedlings from “tiny” right through to flowering size. But to give a ball park figure of adult plants (not counting the seedlings) I would say it would be easily about 500 - 1000.

Don’t feel that joining a brom society is confrontational; people in societies welcome new members and go out of their way to help them with their hobby of collecting brom’s, and the things you learn there are never ending. The most important thing though, is that the info. you get is from people in your own area and growing under similar conditions to you.

As for the lichen on your old shade cloth, you could try a bit of household bleach brushed on and just left in the sun for a day or so and then hosed off. If that doesn’t work it looks like a job for a gurney. I know of a grower on another forum who used a gurney on the same problem while the shade cloth was still on her tunnel house and the results were unbelievable.

As Tash says, we all have NOIDS in our collections, so don’t be worried about putting up pic’s for someone to identify. This happens from buying unnamed plants or losing the labels out of the pots or as in my case, having them stolen by Bower Birds. For some reason our local Bower Birds have taken a liking to plastic name tags as well as my wife’s blue clothes pegs. The result being that I have to make my name tags out of re-cycled aluminium venetian blind slats, that’s the only way I can stop them. Two years ago I repotted all of my orlandianas and I had about ten different varieties; two days later all the name tags were gone, however I did find them in next doors back garden in the Bower Bird’s bower. I’m still trying to get those plants all named again which because of the similarity of colours and the fact that the colours change, is pretty difficult.

Tash – Sorry to hear you fried some of your seedlings; I guess its all part of that big learning curve. We’ve all had our problems with them overheating and being flooded, but eventually you’ll get the right spot and then you’ll have seedling growing out of your ears. I’ll get a bit more seed in the mail to you this week as I wouldn’t like to see you lose interest just because of a little setback like cooking a few. I love your big orange “Blanchie”, I think it’s a “ripper”.

Karen – That’s a very nice Billbergia you’ve managed to get hold of. I like the patterned types as well, as you have the colour all the year around; the flowers are an added bonus. To get the best colour you need to grown them in good light and DON’T feed them with a high nitrogen fertilizer.

Wendy – I have to agree with everything you’ve said, especially your experiences with the treated timber as I had exactly the same thing happen to me as have quite a few in our brom society. Some time back I wrote a short article about it for our Society News Letter to help people from falling in the same trap as I had, and if anyone would like a copy just email me as I’m only too happy to share it around. I don’t think there’s anything more heart breaking to a brom grower than to find a whole row of plants rotted out because of copper residue from treated timber dripping on them.

I’ll certainly be looking forward to the “courier lady” coming this week with your box of “goodies”.

Karen – The Titan Arum is certainly a spectacular plant, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget the stink of the one I saw I Bali. It just seemed to invade my nasal passages for hours after I first smelt it.

Kristi - I control scale with a product called “Clensel”, but I don’t know if it’s available in the US. Another good one which is probably on the lower end of the “dangerous to humans” list is “Confidor” which is a Bayer product marketed by Yates, See below:

Bayer Confidor Insecticide - Ready to use
Controls aphids, mealy bugs, scale, thrips, whitefly and other sucking insects on ornamentals, roses and vegetables. Confidor belongs to a new chemical group, so it is excellent to use in a spray programme with other insecticides, as it controls pests resistant to older formulations.
• Systemic action – absorbed through the foliage and moves throughout the plant to control insect pests – works from the inside out.
• Good for spot treatment of pests.
• Low toxic, water based formulation.
• Easy to use trigger pack – no mixing required, no mess.
How It Works
Systemic insecticide which targets sucking insects.
Active Constituent: 0.125 g/L IMIDACLOPRID

Shirley – I’m almost certain that your plant is a very nicely grown example of Neo concentrica or at the very least a “look-a-like“hybrid from it. Concentrica is a species and has been used successfully many times as an exceptional parent when breeding. It’s certainly one of my all time favourites and one which I think should be in every collection.

As for your rust problem, first treat the rusted areas with a “rust converter” as per instructions. It’s not very expensive and available in most paint shops. Once treated you can then paint it with “Galmet Cold Galvanizing”. If you just Google “Galmet Cold Galvanizing” there is a PDF document that explains all about it. It’s easy to apply and a good reliable product I’ve used many times with good results.

All the best, Nev.

A few shots of the garden after the rain

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