Bromeliads for Novices and Addicts February 2012

shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone,

Well I’m slowly but surely getting through the re-potting of my Billbergias, however there’s still quite a few to go before I can then start re-potting my Nidulariums which, like the Billbergias are well overdue for some attention also.

Karen - What sort of birds do you have? I had aviary birds once but about twenty five years ago when working shiftwork, found it less complicated to just feed a few native birds such as Rainbow Lorikeets, Crested Pigeons, Magpies, Satin Bower Birds and miscellaneous other types. This has now escalated to the stage where we are feeding them twice daily and they don’t just come in pairs any more, but by the dozen or in the case of the lorikeets, small flocks.

Some people argue that we shouldn’t feed native birds in our gardens as they become reliant on free handouts and lose their ability to forage for themselves. I disagree as I think that more and more native birds are coming into domestic gardens now because their natural habitat is being destroyed by developers in their quest for the mighty dollar and we have an obligation to assist these native birds by supplementing their feeding as it is our fellow humans who have decimated so many of their own habitats where they previously fed.

Tash – There have been so many ideas put forward to help you try and iron out your cultural problems that I think this is where the real benefit of forums really comes to the fore. I know how frustrating it must be when you have a cultural problem which you don’t seem to be able to solve, but be assured, you aren’t the only one who has these problems.

Every one of us has some sort of problem to try and overcome, be it in the tropics or in the colder Southern states. Just imagine how boring it would be if we all had a perfect climate and growing conditions, there would be no challenge in growing these plants which would no longer make them an interesting hobby. There are just so many different types of brom’s all with slightly differing cultural requirements that it’s impossible to have the perfect climate to suit everything, it just isn’t possible. That’s why some states can grow certain genera to perfection where other states have no success with the same genera whatsoever. It’s just a matter of adapting our conditions to the required environment the best way that we can as well as learning from the experiences of fellow local growers. I don’t think it matters where you live, you’re always going to get the occasional plant damage and sometimes loss whether it’s from excessive heat or damage from the winter cold. When we consider that some of the growers in parts of America and some European countries have to take their plants inside the home for half of the year, our problems pale by comparison..

Since reading your information about the cost of the variegated Neo. Marmorata, my desire to own one has suddenly taken a “nose dive” as it’s just too far out of my budget restraints. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to open the link you posted and I was looking forward to seeing the history of how it was developed by Chester as he has done so many wonderful things with various bromeliad genera. So it looks like it’s up to you Tash and Jason to now grow it to perfection and keep us up to date with lots of pic’s..... so the pressure’s now on!

By the way, has anyone read Chester’s book called “Searching for Miss Fortuna” it is a paper-back fictitious account based loosely around some of his forays into the brom jungles hunting for plants and one special Guzmania in particular. It’s really worth reading and certainly good for a laugh.

Time again for a few more pic’s from New Zealand staring with 1. Neo. Pink Champagne x Amazing Grace, 2. Neo. Cheers, 3. Neo. Ampullacea x Wee Willy, 4. Vriesea Splendens or Splendens hybrid and 5. Vriesea Sunset.

All the best, Nev.

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barmera, Australia

Good morning everyone. Well we had some rain and it has cooled down somewhat now. After the rain yesterday I thought that Barmera had turned into a sauna room. Oh, Wendy, such a worry about little Emily. All you can do is keep an eye on her and hope that she'll be okay once the moving thing is over. What about the other little one? Isn't your son bothered by his wife's actions? Good to here that you're getting your broms sorted Nev. I will get you to send some bird nests and tree ferns over if you can for me to try. That will be great thanks. The desert rose seeds arrived and are now planted. We'll see how they go here. If we had more of yesterday's weather they would be right at home. lol. Must go and get the boys ready. Colleen

Brisbane, Australia

Good morning everyone. Nice pics from NZ again Nev. I agree about the destruction of native habitat and the need to help the flora and fauna support life in our gardens. Planting native shrubs for the birds in your area is a great way to go, and water, water, water. Fresh sparkling water.

The 2 birds I have here are rescue rainbow lorikeets. The female has been with me for 9 years after being dragged out of her nest in the wild by crows, falling 50 feet to the ground, and being badly pecked. She was just a fledgling. Her feet were badly broken and her head was pecked, but she was such a little fighter, I had to give her a chance. She came good but it took a year before her feet healed properly. The vets gave her no chance, but they didn't see her will to live.

The other bird, Toby, came in with concussion just last year. He is perfectly fine now, but though I let him out to be with the wild birds, he won't go. Sometimes he might disappear for a couple of days, or overnight, but usually he lasts about half a day then wants back in his cage. They are both very loving little birds to me, but they don't really like each other.

Here is a pic of the little female when she first came to me. She had to be hand fed every couple of hours, but she accepted the situation right from the start and loved to snuggle up to me to sleep. Messy eater though. And years later. Playful and beautiful.

Karen

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hi all. just popped in to say goodnight. I have both little munchkins here tonight. as Rylee is asleep in the office I am trying to be very quiet so as not to disturb her. I know she will be up early in the morning so I must get some beauty sleep now.

Thanks for all the words of comfort. I was so upset last night about the happenings I just had to get them out. Mum was much more loving today when I went to pick up Rylee so she must have thought about what happenned. Anyway Rylee is stirring so I must get out of here befoe she gets up completely.

Night
Wendy

shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone,

Well, it looks like the rain's returned, rained all night and still raining as I write this; the forecast is for continuing “heavy” rain for the rest of the week, so it looks like more time in the garage re-potting Bill’s.

Colleen – See, I said I’d send you down some rain, and you don’t even say thanks; some mate you turned out to be!

I’ll see what I can do about the Tree Fern and Birds Nest ferns, Jean is at the top of the order list and you’re next after her, but first I have to ask the rain to stop so I can go looking for some.

I do have a Bird’s Nest Fern here you’re welcome to if you pay the freight, but I’m afraid it’s about six feet across and I’d have trouble finding a box to fit it in; so it looks like that one will become a feature in our brom garden over at the museum where the girls did a make-over during our last Bromeliad Society Workshop.

I’ll be interested to hear how you go with the Desert Rose seeds, and from what I read about them, once they are established they like it pretty warm and to be kept a bit on the dry side and treated more like succulents. I have a couple of plants Tash sent me and I’ve only just moved them under cover as I didn’t want them getting water-logged with all the rain we’ve been having.

Karen – I love the story about your two little Rainbows; of course they’re not going to fly off with the wild birds, they know when they’re on a good thing, food and water each day and a safe place away from predators, they’d be silly to even think about leaving.

I remember the first time I ever saw Lorikeets was at Currumbin Sanctuary which we visited on our Honey Moon way back in 1963. I can still remember saying to my wife how good it would be if we could feed them in our own back yard as we had never seen them in the local area before. The main parrots we saw in those days were Eastern Rosellas and Crimson Rosellas, and it wasn’t until about ten or so years later that a single pair flew into the yard one afternoon at feeding time, I think they’re beautiful birds and they now make up the majority of the parrots that come in daily for feeding in my yard and sometimes we get up to a hundred or more twice each day.

Wendy – The other day you mentioned you had a Billbergia you had called “Fruit Salad”, remember that’s the one you sent me a pup of quite while ago and if you remember, I lost it to cold damage during the very cold winter we had that year. You also sent me another which I’m pleased to report is now going well and has since pupped.

Three days ago when I was looking in the “Retirement Home”, this is an area where I put all the old mothers and the odd plant that has rotted (in the hope of getting pups from them); there with the morning sun shining on it was the “stump” of the original Bill. Fruit Salad that had rotted from the cold damage, and out of the stump was a nice healthy looking pup emerging.

This just goes to show how resilient bromeliads really are, and I’d say to you all, if you ever lose a plant to rot or any other cause, don’t be too hasty and throw it in the bin as they can quite often surprise you by bouncing back and producing a pup.

That’s it for another morning and a few more pic’s from our friends in NZ 1. Tillandsia Caerulea, 2. Tillandsia Streptophylla, 3. Tillandsia 'Mr. Toot', 4. Vriesea 'Snow White' and 5. One of the Lorikeet feeding tables in our back yard.

All the best, Nev.

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Queensland, Australia

morning everyone.... it's the 29th....leap year! So enjoy that one extra day this month/year, ha ha.

Well we are getting overnight storms here but the days are pretty humid and blah! I am happy to report that I can start to see Summer being left behind us up here, yipeeeeeeeee. Sunrise is later, days not quite as hot and the UV rating is dropping, can't wait to get another Summer behind us. Bring back the best time of year in the north.

We got some bark yesterday to finish a garden we have over hauled, the one where the tern fern has gone into, I hope it survives. The garden looks much better now and once the shade cloth comes down I'll be able to get a pic to show you, as right now you wouldn't be able to work out what's what with cloth covering it all.

Well I will keep it short this morning,
Tash

Brisbane, Australia

Good morning all. Just a quick visit this morning.

Wendy, maybe the childrens' mother is just very stressed out from the move? No excuse to take it out on the kids though. Hope it all works out, and soon. The little ones are under stress too, that's what adults tend to forget. Hope Johnny is back to feeling great again too.

Nev, I wouldn't have thought that broms would do well in NZ, but they do breed some real beauties there, don't they. Love that little Snow White. And the lorries are gorgeous. I used to have a flock of around 200 here, but with the destruction of the trees, and people not having gardens in this area, its just a small flock of a few dozen now. I have my own little flock of 6 that come right in on my verandah daily for treats and to socialise with my two. I am lucky to have a pair that breed in a gum tree in the back yard. Don't get to see much as they are up too high, but as soon as they babes are old enough they parents bring them in for an introduction, before taking them off further afield.

Slowly getting things started here. Cash shortages are the biggest problem and I can only get small quantities of anything at a time. At the moment its pavers I'm slowly putting together. I need another 16 to finish the job, but it will have to span over a couple more pensions. Then I'll start getting pebbles. That should nearly finish one little job and I'll get some pics.

Karen

Brisbane, Australia

Hi all, another summer almost over but it’s still very hot and muggy here.

Still not much progress to report on the shadehouse, though we have had a couple of trees removed that had grown very large and were throwing too much shade. I will add some photos … before and after … (more like before and before that).

The structure was built to hide the cruddy looking concrete bore tank in the back yard and does the job very well. I used to grow lots of ferns and cordylines and lots of hanging baskets (but never broms) but then the drought hit. The bore ran dry after a couple of years and we were buying water for the next couple of years to keep the gardens alive, thinking it must rain soon. But it went on too long and got too expensive and things started dying and it all got too hard.

The weeds took over and the whiteants destroyed the hardwood timber sleepers around the gardens. The surrounding trees grew too big and too shady and the lichens grew on the shadecloth.

Moving forward to this year and twelve months or more of good rainfall ...

Some of the trees have now been removed and the old sleepers have been pulled out. Most of the shadecloth has been removed. It cleaned up well with a gurney and maybe we can use it elsewhere down the track a bit. We have new treated pine sleepers for the garden edges and I will keep the broms well away from this. We have new shadecloth but need to fix up some rust in the steel frame before fitting it.

Then it's new shelving and weedmat and lots and lots more broms !!!

The photos …

The first one is before the drought and before the whiteants moved in. Not a very good picture, obviously a cloudy day.

The second one is the lovely cardinal creeper growing on the sides. It gets rather thick in the summer but loses most of its’ leaves in the winter and allows more sunlight inside. I usually give it a bit of a prune as well while it’s dormant.

The third one is without shadecloth and sleepers but still some grass and weeds to remove.

The fourth taken from a different angle without the weeds.

The fifth photo was taken from the inside … lovely feature, the tank (overflowing these days and with a few leaks too).

These photos give a bit of an insight to the project at hand. I fear it could be a bit of a wait for photos showing any noticeable progress. Anyway, today is shopping day and it’s time to make a move.

Bye for now, Shirley

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Queensland, Australia

Ha two in one day from me.... lol.

Wow Shirley.... that is amazing!!!! It is going to look awesome, lucky you!! so much hanging space, what a great area. It use to look amazing and it soon will again, your broms will love it. I wish we could have something like that here, I can just imagine the things you can do with it, can't wait to see the progress photos as you get through it.

Karen I hear you on the dribs and drabs thing, we are not on a pension, but we too have to do bits and pieces as the funds allow it, there is always other things that require money first... mainly the kids and just the cost of living.

We remade a front garden and it sat with just weed mat and pot in it for ages, finally afforded 2 bags of bark to finish yesterday, couldn't really afford it but wanted it done. there is another garden sitting half done too, but it can wait. Everytime we think we are getting a wee bit ahead, ie another bill finally paid off.... something happens.... hubby's work dies off, or a big unxpected expense comes up. Such is life I guess... it sure doesn't sound like it gets easier ;)

Ok better go again, just thought I'd drop past again while the little guy is punching out zzz's, lol.

here is a photo of our little Neo Pink Tiger pups. Will be nice to see them grow up :)

Tash

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Brisbane, Australia

Shirley, great shadehouse there. Could do with that in my backyard. I do love the Cardinal creeper. Had one once but the bulldozer took it out when they did the fencing. Didn't even leave the roots behind. So sad.

Tash, I do love to see the babies. I am starting to get a pup on a couple of my plants now. Rather excited.

I got an amazing package from Neville today. I had ordered the bill. Muriel Waterman and Nev sent a lovely pup, and a heap of surprises I didn't expect as well. Some outstanding ones are Vr. Evita, Bromelia Pinguin, some others along with tillandsias and usenoides, and a deuterocohnia brevifolia. I've seen the latter growing but only rarely. A most amazing plant when it clumps up, clumps some more, and keeps on clumping until it is quite big, just a mass of tiny, tiny little plants all clumped up. Nev, would love to see a pic of yours sometime. Many thanks for all of them. Doing the happy dance here. I am giving them a good water soak now, but will photograph them when they are all potted up and looking happy.

Karen


This message was edited Feb 28, 2012 9:16 PM

shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone,

Well, it rained all day yesterday and last night and is still raining this morning. They have forecast it for another week and the long range weather man last night was a “barrel of laughs” as he said that in our area it will rain every day in March, so that’s something to really look forward to. I’ve been fortunate to date with no rot problems, but if this keeps up I have a bad feeling things will change.

The first half of the Billbergias are now re-potted which just leaves the smaller plants to do, and although there are probably still about sixty of them, they won’t be so much of a challenge as the ones I have just done as a lot of them will get away with just a “clean-up” and “top-up”.

Tash – Good to see the weather is improving for you and the brom’s up there in North Queensland’s tropical paradise and I can’t wait to see the pic’s of your finished garden. My garden make-over is still held up as I have to remove a quite large Bird’s Nest Fern and a Tree Fern but I’m waiting to find someone who can lift them out for me. I’m able to dig around them and loosen them up OK, but I’m very limited in what I’m allowed to lift, so at this stage it’s on hold, although all the rain we’ve had will certainly have softened up the soil and make things a bit easier.

Tash, can you create a new thread for March please as I think we need to do it and I don’t know how to go about it.

Karen – I ititially thought the same as you about brom’s in N.Z. but I’ve seen numerous pic’s of some beautiful collections and brom gardens on different international forums during the past few years. A lot of the plants they grow are right out in the open without any protection from the sun whatsoever, and apparently although the light is very bright and perfect for brom’s, the sun doesn’t have the damaging heat in it like it does here.

I can relate to what you say about "cash shortages"; last month we had to get four new tyres for the car, green slip for the ute, insurance for the house and on top of that a bloody great power bill, so it looks like “baked beans” for a bit longer yet, or maybe I’ll open a tin of “Pal” for some variety.

With the pouring rain yesterday all the lorikeets came onto the back deck beneath the Polycarbonate Roof. They were all wringing wet and my wife took pity on them and threw a piece of broken up grain bread on the small table and you should have heard the racket they kicked up all chattering and squawking at once.

Shirley – Wow! You have a great structure there from which you’ll be able to produce a fantastic shade house. I’m just looking at all the roof beams and imagining all of the brom’s you can hang from them, and as for the concrete tank, I’m sure you’ll be able to make good use of that surface as well. I’m sure that if your light levels are too low, you could paint the wall of the tank in a light, reflective colour, or on the other hand, if it’s too bright, you could pain it a dull olive green colour to lessen the brightness; either way there’s lots of possibilities and I look forward to seeing the progress pictures

I’ll finish off now with a mixed lot of pic's. Karen asked to see a pic of my deuterocohnia brevifolia; I only have a small plant but thought you may like to see the original plant that mine came from. It's nice large specimen growing in a container with a diameter of about two feet. It is owned and grown by Ross Little of Pine Grove Bromeliad Nursery in Wardell N.S.W. Pic. 2. is what happened when my wife threw a bit of grain bread on the table of our back deck yesterday. The next three pic's are the last of the N.Z. ones and No. 3. is a nice plant of Ques. Tim Plowman 4. Tillandsia 'White Star' and 5 . is Til. Latifolia 'Enano' Red Form.

In conclusion I'd like to remind you to drop in and have a look at the New Zealand Bromeliad Society's web site at http://www.bsnz.org

All the best, Nev.

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Brisbane, Australia

Nev, thankyou for putting up the pic of bromelia deuterocohnia brevifolia. I had seen it at a Brisbane tillandsia grower's place and was impressed but never thought to see if he'd spare a piece. Apparently it is a slow grower, so a pot that size must be worth a fortune!

Love the lories. I had to reduce the amount of food I put out as those birds make such a dreadful mess when they come in. I feed a local group of 6 now. Enough for me. Q.Tim Plowman is a lovely plant. One leaf on mine has turned yellow. I hope it will be OK. I only have a very small area where conditions are right, and need to make room for TP there. It means something else has to go. Decisions, decisions. And of course, tills are my passion. I love the wood that the T. White Star (with a yellow flower?) is on.

Off to Logan Hyperdome today, so better get moving. Have a great day, everyone.
Karen

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I love the lorakeet photos and the compassion you have all shown for these beautiful birds. Thanks for sharing the photos of them.

I have a small Deuterochonia and am delighted to see it can become a massive and gorgeous plant. Can you tell me how large that one is?

Shirley ~ your shadehouse has good bones. Now that is the type of shadehouse I would love. I look forward to watching your efforts. Please continue to post photos as you work on it.

Thanks to all for the lovely photos... too many that I need to resist but beautiful just the same.

Well I'm back but eyes are stinging looking at the screen. I am so tired after 5 days with the 2 little ones - 4yo & 1yo. (I don't know how I did it with 3 under school age all those years ago.) Anyway I think the floor got swept and mopped at least 6-10 times a day last few days. I thought with all the running, bending, picking up, putting down, cleaning, washing etc etc, I would have lost some more weight but when I hopped on the scales at the chemist this morning it didn't show that (I was busting to go to the loo so I'll blame that) they were all busy so I didn't wait to do an official weigh in. It can wait till next week. I even put them in the pram yesterday and pushed them up the hill to the IGA for bread & milk then let gravity take over on the way back and I just ran downhill behind the pram. Maybe that made some muscle which we all know weighs more right????? LOL
Anyhow the kids were picked up this morning and mum was wearing her engagement ring again so the last couple nights alone must have helped. Yesterday, it was all over for them and she was talking about lawyers before he would see the girls again. She even rang me to say we had until 6pm with the kids then we wouldn't see them again unless Chris got lawyers to thrash out custody issues. Johnny was there helping them during the big slanging match and gave them a big tongue lashing and reminded them there was a childcare and school over the road and the little ones didn't need to hear them swearing at each other. He told them they both sounded like a pair of bad behaved children who both needed a good thrashing and they should grow up. He then came home and washed his hands of them. We enjoyed the rest of the day with the kids thinking it would be the last we saw of them for a while. Anyhow it all worked out and when they popped in last night (after the girls were asleep) they were friends again and mum had the ring on (she threw it at him in front of Johnny before he got involved and gave them the ear full so they must have thought about what he said and sorted themselves out on the way to Toowoomba and back. She takes the girls to Toowoomba this afternoon though so we'll see how the next few weeks go.

Shirley I like the look of your shadehouse. Pic 3 shows great potential and I was already imagining how it could look so I look forward to the pics of makeover.

Karen you lucky thing getting that deuterochonia. I have asked a few people to sell me one of those but haven't quite got there yet. One day. I think Catlans have one so I'll keep trying them. I love the dome shape they grow into eventually.

Nev I am so glad the bill fruit salad grew for you. I broke mine up again the other day. It is still too hard to let any more go though. My excuse is we haven't enough yet to do a big release. When we do you will have as many as we have and can be in on the big release too. I love the colours of the billbergias at the moment. If you end up with too many really nice coloured ones let me know and I will happily buy some pups from you Nev. When all my new release hybrids purchased recently multiply I will send you pups from the nicer ones.
One of my big tillandsias started rotting from being dripped on by the vr fenfez which had grown since they were put side by side. the ends of the leaves were constantly dripping into centre of the till. It was till imperialis x fabulous. It stood at least 18inches tall above the pot and had to be more than 12 inches in diameter. Anyhow when I discovered it I immediately brought it in under the patio and dried it out, supported it with large skewers and only misted the centre while putting just a cup of water weekly on the top of the pot. When I realised it was not going to keep going I screwdrivered the centre hoping for pups,. today the whole thing fell out of the pot leaving just the root ball and stump in the pot. After your story Nev I am going to ignore it in the pot and hope for a shoot. Otherwise I will have to buy another one from Alan Pythian. Fingers crossed for me that it shoots.

I haven't had a chance to do any potting last few days with 2 little ones. Emily and I potted up some bigger alcantareas into tubs earlier in the week. but since then. Today after kids left, we sat on the verandah with our feet on the rail and enjoyed the peace and quiet with a cuppa tea before I hung out the washing while Johnny mopped the floors for me. We then went to the shops for something for tea while they dried. Then Johnny took the dog for a swim. I am just too tired to do anything. I am loooking forward to a nice sleep in on Saturday. can't do it tomorrow as we have early hospital appointment. Johnny is feelng sore and aching after helping with the move, especially his shoulder oh and his ear. He got a reminder the other day for skinscan. When I rang up to make the appointment for him the lady said they had just had a cancellation so if he could be there within 30 minutes he could have that one. Anyhow best thing as he had a spot on one ear that he was worried about. Turned out to be bad and they cut chunk off top of his ear. He said it hurts more than his nose did when they did that. When he goes back next week they will take other side of his nose. He wished he used a big brimmed hat all those years ago so he wouldn't be going through this now. He even has me wearing a big straw hat in the yard now. And we got one for Emily when she is gardening with us too. We had to find something for Rylee to wear yesterday to go to the shop even though she was under the pram lid/cover. Have to teach her to be sun smart.

I'm off now for a quick nananap before tea. can't look at the screen any longer. May pop in again later to see if there is a new thread yet.
Wendy

Brisbane, Australia

Hello all,

thanks everyone for your encouraging comments on the shadehouse. I am sure it will look good again but it may take some time. I will continue to attach photos as work progresses, however slowly!!!

Kristi, great that you keep up with what's happening on the forum from afar. Guess you would be just coming into Spring now. I know it’s my favourite time of the year here.

Tash and Nev, you both mention hanging broms from the roof beams… should these be planted into regular plastic hanging baskets or do they need something special. If anyone has any other suggestions on how the space could be best used, eg shelving, please let me know. I am very new to brom growing and any ideas would be most welcome … please!!!

Karen, sorry to hear you lost your Cardinal creeper. I think it is a lovely plant … clusters of big bright flowers and such a beautiful colour.

Wendy, hope all goes well with your son and his wife, especially for the children. I know how I feel about my grandkids and how worrying it is when things are not as they should be. Emily and Rylee are so young too, lets hope it all works out.

On another subject, Wendy, you mentioned you screwdrivered the centre of a rotting brom … can I ask why? Does this encourage the brom to ‘pup’.

Anyway, I will add a photo of my latest acquisition, an alcantarea imperialis ‘silver plum’. I saw it at our local nursery a couple of weeks ago and was very tempted to buy but resisted. Then I saw it on eBay yesterday with a starting price of $50.00 so, after a little research, went back to the nursery this morning and bought one (for less than half that price) and a nice sized plant too. I was feeling pretty pleased with my purchase but noticed (only after seeing the photos) that some of the leaves seem to have a bit of a ‘curl / wave’ in them, so I am hoping it is going to be OK.

Gotta go now, if I don't go feed the dog, he's going to chew my leg off.

Bye, Shirley


This message was edited Mar 1, 2012 7:16 PM

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Hi Shirley
I haven't done the screwdriver thing before but apparently if you destroy the growth centre with the screwdriver the plant stresses out and throws pups. Commercial growers apparently do that to quickly build up their stock to release a new plant. I thought I was going to lose the plant anyway so it was worth the risk to see if it would work. I think I may have left it too late though but after Nev's story I am going to wait to see if the stump throws a pup for me.

When talking to our son tonight the family is still with him where he is staying. They still haven't gone to Toowoomba. I think now that the stress of moving and money worries is over they are getting on better and postponing the separation. At least I hope all is well out there. Fingers crossed all goes well for them.

I am off to the shower and an early night with an early appointment tomorrow. Night all
Wendy

Pic is fia vareigata which now has 2 very nice variegated pups. better than my old one with only one non variegated pup.

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barmera, Australia

Hi everyone. We have had about 61cms of rain here. It was lovely soaking rain and my tanks are now half full. Lovely. Not much going on here I've been quite busy with the boys and appointments. They are time wasters aren't they? I don't mean that we shouldn't go just that the people are never running on time. Wendy I hope your son and DIL settle down for the girl's sake. Poor little mites. Have you got your results yet Nev? Hope you don't have any rot from all the rain. I have a little Deuterochnia brevifolia that I got from Sue only a couple of weeks ago. Shirley you have quite a bit of work ahead of you but oh such rewarding work. It will look lovely when you get there, but if it's anything like my SH it's never finished. Always something else to do. Must go the boys are getting up. Colleen

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Brisbane, Australia

Hi everyone. Lovely plants again today. Always happy to see and sigh. And even drool some.

I have to make it quick as I have another hospital appointment this morning. This one generally runs close to appt. time so shouldn't be too bad or long a day.

Karen

shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone,

Great weather down here, still raining and more forecast to come so again, no work in the garden today either...

Karen – I don’t want to appear pedantic, but you mentioned “bromelia deuterocohnia brevifolia”, it’s actually just deuterocohnia brevifolia, “bromelia” is another genus altogether (the other small plant I sent you with the A4 picture). As for the speed of growth on the deuterocohnia brevifolia, I started three years ago with just one little plant like I sent you and now there are eight; so you can count on them doubling each year if conditions are right and when you work it out, it shouldn’t take too long to make up into a reasonable size clump. By the way, Good luck with your appointment today.

I have a question for you, what is Logan Hyperdome? I’ve never heard of that before and this is my chance to learn my one “new thing for the day” which they say we should do to keep the old brain working.

Kristy – The large deuterocohnia brevifolia in the picture is about two feet across which is pretty big. As a little bit of homework, you can work out how long it’s taken to get to that size by counting the total individual plants and by working on the assumption that each plant has doubled in size each year, you should come up with an answer. You will of course have to just estimate how many plants are around the back that you can’t see.

Wendy – Wow you’ve really been busy at the keyboard haven’t you? When I’ve finished re-potting all of the Bill’s I’ll send you (and anyone else that wants one) a list of what I have spare.

As for the deuterocohnia brevifolia, don’t buy one just yet as I might be able to get you one and we’ll swap something for it.

I really like your Ae. Fia variegata. I’ve never seen that one before and on looking it up I find it is a hybrid with Ae Fulgens var. discolour as the seed parent and Ae. Chantinii as the pollen parent. This alone would probably rule it out for me as most plants with Chantinii in the breeding tend to suffer from the cold in our winter months. Have you heard how it tolerates the cold?

Shirley – Regarding hanging brom’s from the beams, they don’t need any special treatment; you can plant them in the normal plastic pots with the same potting mix like I do, or plant them in baskets or have them mounted on bits of wood or cork, it really doesn’t matter. We use a “universal” plastic hanger which suits both pots and baskets and I buy them through our local brom society for .20c each. They can be purchased from a company called Garden City Plastics along with heaps of other accessories, just Google “Garden City Plastics” to find out where they are in your area. You could obviously also buy them from nurseries but they would cost you a lot more I imagine.

The only thing to remember about hanging plants is, because they will get more light, they will colour up better; but they also need to be watched in the very hot weather as they can scorch easier being up higher. Also because they have free air circulating all around them they will also dry out quicker than pots on a lower bench would. Apart for that though, there is the main advantage of creating extra plant accommodation and as I’ve found out, I can accommodate more plants hanging than I can on benches as you can see in the picture I’ve posted. I also like your Alcantarea ‘Silver Plum’, it really is a beautiful plant and I think you got a pretty good buy. It always reminds me of a nice burgundy coloured plant that someone has dusted with “fine silver powder”.

Colleen – Glad to hear you’re getting a bit of rain, we’re getting more than our fair share up here with almost all of the major dams expected to open the flood gates during the next day or so; this hasn’t been done for some years now and they had to test the flood gates on one yesterday to make sure it was still working (which it was).

The test results still aren’t completed, as they stuffed up one of the tests yesterday and I have to go back next Monday to have it repeated, so I’m still playing the “waiting game”.

What’s the name of the plant in your second pic? It seems familiar to me but I can’t get a handle on it. I like what you said to Shirley about your shade house never seeming to be finished, how true those words are; I don’t say that any more, I just refer to it as a “work in process”!

I’ll finish now with a few more pic’s, 1. This is what happened the other day in the rain when my wife took pity on the lorikeets and threw a bit of grain bread on the table on the back porch. 2. Here’s one for Shirley to show how many plants it's possible to hang from one of the roof timbers. 3. A new Billbergia seedling, Bill. Fred Red x Bill. Hallelujah 4. Nidularium Nana, 5. Nidularium Ruby Lee

All the best, Nev.

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barmera, Australia

Hi Nev. Save me a pup of any of the Bilbergias please? The plant second in line in my pics above is Neo. "Lime and Lava" I like the Nid. nana. No rain again today but still over cast but not cold. Colleen

Hi. Nev the fia is a bit of a pig of a plant. the white bits tend to mark easily and seem to be covered in spots. The plant with the non variegated pup is a lovely colour but no green at all on it so I'm not sure whether to remove the pup or not. The tips of the lovely pink/purple pup are all brown and ugly like dead bits. It can't be from the cold as it is anything but cold here at the moment. now that summer is over we are getting hotter days than actually summer days were. Perhaps they mark from heat too. Just for your info Nev, our chantinii are growing in direct sun along the front fence facing north. They do fine beside the echidna in front of the carcharadon tiger.

Nev I love your billbergia seedling. If you have a spare of that one I would love one of those. hopefully it will take the full sun and bring out the colours like hallelujah with size of fred red. is that one of your crosses Nev?? I collected a nice tooth pic full of pollen last week from the hallelujahs and went downstairs with it to cross one of the other billbergias. You wouldn't believe it but all others were either too far gone or not ready yet to take the pollen so I just had to cross onto another hallelujah which was ready. Hopefully I will be able to collect the seed. The billbergia seedlings we have growing are going along in leaps and bounds. they grow fast don't they?? I'd love to do some hybrids one day but have to perfect the art of collecting the seeds from that genera. Mini neos are another genera I want to perfect the collecting of seeds as they grow fast too. I'm finding that some neos are so slow to grow while others are much much bigger than some which have been growing so much longer. I'll take some pics soon of some of the seedlings to show the different growing speeds.

Karen I noticed today that there are so many tillandsias coming into flower at the moment. Jen the cape town that I was going to give you has a flower coming on it. It's the only one that is a single plant so you will get a bonus of a flowering plant. others are multiple plants. I'll take pics of the flowering tillandsias for you Karen unless you come by to see them yourself. We thought we would have a sale next weekend so mark your calendar.

Time for bed now I think. still trying to catch up after the hectic week and I am really really looking forward to a sleep in tomorrow although after the early night last night I was ready to get up before the alarm this morning. we were in and out of the hospital by 10am so had all day. We called into the recycleland on the way home and bought over 4,000 8inch pots for $70 so that was a bargain. The ute was completely loaded, tarped and tied for the trip home.

Oh Nev the Logan Hyperdome is a very large shopping centre probably midway between my place and Karen's. We've gone there at times and I used to work near there in 1996 so went there a lot then but it is now much much bigger than in the 90s.

Anyway night all.
Wendy

shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone,

Well it looks like the weather might be on the improve, no rain last night and still not raining this morning so hopefully we might get a bit of sunshine for the two big days today, firstly grandson No.4’s second birthday, and secondly our local Illawarra Bromeliad Society’s 20th birthday. I need to be at both of them so which one do I go to? My grandson’s birthday of course; family must always come first!

Colleen – OK I’ve put you name down for 127 Billbergia pups. I like the Neo “Lime and Lava” is that the only plant you have or do you have a pup you would like to swap?

Wendy – No need to tease me with the ease with which you can grow Ae Chantinii up there, the only plant with Chantinii in its breeding that I did any good with down here was the Echidna, but that was probably a case of the “bullet proof” habit of the Ae. Recurvata used in the breeding shining through.

The Billbergia Fred Red x Hallelujah wasn’t one of my crosses, it was done by Tamera Ison and was one of a group of seedlings I bought from her. I’m pleased to see that now that she and Jack Koning have all the shade houses built on her property, she is going to start hybridizing Bill’s once more and hopefully some champions amongst them.

Wendy, do you know you can keep pollen in the fridge or freezer for use at a later date? Neo pollen from the fridge I have used five weeks after harvesting and in the freezer I have used it after twelve months, so that allows you a pretty fair scope for hybridizing Bill’s that don’t all flower at the same time. For both fridge and freezer storage, I just wrap it in a little bit of Alfoil and put it in an envelope inside a screw top jar. With the frozen pollen though, I have found that once it’s thawed out you need to use it straight away as you can’t re-freeze it or keep it in the fridge for later use.

I haven’t done any Bill hybrids, just planted a bit of Bill. Rosea seed, but they do grow much faster than Neoregelias and they’re also much easier to work with because the plant parts are more accessible. Like you I also found there is a lot of variation in the growing times of the Neo seed and usually the bigger the plant the quicker they seem to grow.

Yes I suspected that the Logan Hyperdome was a shopping centre, but then when Karen sounded so enthusiastic I thought maybe it was a brom nursery. By the way, that was a pretty good buy with the pots at the recyclers. I sometimes pick some up at our local recyclers which are mostly from landscapers who just plant the plants and toss the pots. I once got a stack of fifty six inch pots for fifty cents and I thought one cent per pot was a pretty good buy even if I did have to wash them before use.

That’s about it for another morning, now to find some pic’s to post.

No.1 Bill. Hallelujah on the left and Guz Sanguinea on the right, 2. Bill. De Nada, this is a very interesting plant which responds greatly to varying degrees of light and which I have sometimes seen spotted green through to spotted brownish red to almost white. 3. Bill. Fascinator which is another which responds greatly to diffferent light strengths and which I have also seen almost white and which looks magnificent with its contrasting scarlet flowers, 4. Bill Pink Lady which is only about eight inches high and needs good light to bring out the delicate pale pink colouring and finally 5. Bill. Golden Gem. This isn't a good pic of this plant as it does have a golden cast through it (hence the name) which neither I or my camera can seem to be able to capture.

All the best, Nev.

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north coast nsw, Australia

Is there a march thread yet?

Brisbane, Australia

Grey day here. Good morning all.

Nev, sorry about misnaming things. Just in too much of a hurry and didn't read my own notes properly. Nice bills there. Pink Lady looks interesting. Does she get any spots at all?

Wendy, my tills have gone quite flower wise but are making new plants, so that is good. I noticed one yesterday that I honestly can't tell if its a flower coming or gone. Time will tell. I'd like to get down to see you soon, but I have a vriesea that I want you or John to show me how to take apart. It is one that burned badly, but the pup looks OK, I think. So maybe another day, perhaps? Will phone you nearer the time and see what is suitable for you. Congrats on scoring those pots too.

Some pics for today.
First is one I just got from Neville, billbergia Red Raven. Nice looking plant.
Second is a bill. pyramidalis in flower after all the rain. More buds coming too.
Till. Cyanea. I hope I didn't put another one of these up earlier.
Also from Nev, neo. Fireball X Compacta showing the purple colour it is displaying.
And finally a NOID that I got from the markets when it was all green, now showing some splashes of colour.



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barmera, Australia

Afternoon everyone. We've had a few more spots of rain this morning. It's dull and overcast but not cold here. Nev. I have only just got Lime and Lava so no pups as yet but will keep a look out for you. There's one on E-bay at the moment for a starting price of $30 +12.00 p&h. All's looking good here, pups still coming. A new SH is needed. Be back later. I have a visitor. Colleen

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Just dropping in to catch up on the activities here.

Nev, you have taxed my brain on the Deuterocohnia multiplication tables. lol

I have learned to turn my photos (finally) so as not to crick your neck and here is a photo of my little Deuterocohnia. But I'm not sure it is the same. This was marketed as a Deuterochonia lorentziana...

Notice its' peculiar little bloom.

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wow Nev 127 pups for someone. you sure do have a few billbergias don't you? I like those ones you posted pics of especially the pink lady, fascinator and golden gem. I also have de nada and love the patterning it gets. I must take pics of the billbergias I have so I can share with you all.

We worked like crazy this morning cleaning out under one of the benches so we could stack our new pots. When we sorted out all the broken pots we probably had 20-30 of them. By the time I had lugged them all the way to the back fence for Johnny to stack my arms sure knew I had some unused muscles there. We also have a couple of landscapers who drop pots off here by the truckload but the size pots at the dump were the size we use a lot of so we couldn't resist grabbing them. Most of the bigger ones were split though. It looks like they came from a nursery where the bigger tubs were staked into the ground to keep the plant upright. The bottoms were badly split from the stakes. We saved a few but majority were too badly split. Lucky we have others from the landscaper in that size.

This afternoon we had a good working bee with Johnny out the front using the back of the ute to take pups off, write tags and place them in a tray. I was out the back potting. We had some pups which were taken off in January to sell as bare rooted pups and I hadn't got around to potting yet. when I picked them out of the pots sitting in a tiny bit of water they had roots everywhere. Some had even tangled roots around other pups. They didn't mind at all sitting there waiting to be potted. As long as they had that supply of water for the roots to go looking for they were happy. Anyhow we potted quite a few trays of plants and they even got watered by the rain falling while we worked. We took our first pup off neo fairy floss so we were really excited about that, and 2 off gunpowder (see pic). Also 2 more of megan another of our favourites and neo first prize had 5 lovely big pups. It's nice to see some of our nicest broms giving us some pups.

NIght all
Wendy

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shellharbour, Australia

Good morning everyone,

Well I survived my two year old grandson’s birthday yesterday, even after having to eat a bit of "Thomas the Tank Engine" birthday cake! I don’t know whether it’s me or not, but there’s just something about blue icing that doesn’t quite cut it with me. Unfortunately the rain continued to drizzle all day and the jumping castle had to be cancelled, but the kids didn’t seem to mind, they just wrecked the house instead.

The big hit of the party was a little scooter his uncle bought him. Would you believe it played music and blew bubbles out of its bum! Well it was a riot watching a group of two and three years olds trying to catch all these bubbles, chasing them and even all together jumping up and down on them.

Breeindy – No there’s no March thread yet. I got a message on face book from Tash yesterday and I’ll pass it on to you all as this will explain why Tash hasn’t started a new thread:

“hey Nev, just a real quickie, we have no phone line at home, big storms took it out on Wednesday and Telstra are so dam useless they are saying maybe by Monday they might look at it! Not happy, had to buy an internet stick to get bills paid and some centre link stuff done, but it's very tempremental and only allows me on at certain times, bad reception here and I can't seem to get onto Dave's Garden at all. So once I get my normal internet back, I'll get on there and catch up and get a new thread started if no one else has.”

So does anyone here know how to start a new thread for March? What about you Chrissy, I seem to remember you did it a while back, or Sue if she’s still around, although I know she’s going on a long holiday around Australia she may still be looking in. Is anyone interested?

Karen – Some vrieseas can be a bit tricky to divide or to remove pups from and rather than try and explain it here, I think it needs to be demonstrated as well, so you’re wise to take it to Wendy and Johnny as you suggest.

That’s a great overhead shot of Bill Pyramidalis; you’ve really captured all of its beauty in great detail. Taking pic’s of brom’s and capturing the best in them is a special skill, and one which unfortunately I don’t have. I find it’s very difficult to just capture the exact colour of a plant as I see it and although it is similar, it’s never as good as the real thing or the pic's that others take; perhaps I’ll have to get some lessons from you.

Colleen – Thanks for getting back to me about the Neo ‘Lime and Lava’. Does anyone else here have it, or more specifically a pup they want to swap for something?

I hope your visitor brought you a present like my visitor did yesterday. One of my brom growing friends dropped in on his way up from the Far South Coast to our 20th Anniversary Illawarra Bromeliad Society Meeting, and brought me a couple of nice pups of Neo’s I don’t have. That’s what I like about brom people, they like to share things, and it often pays dividends for them as well, because if they lose their plant they know where they can always get a replacement. I guess it called “not putting all of your eggs in one basket” which is also good insurance.

Kristi – I’ve just been looking on the FCBS Photo Index and the pic’s there of Deuterochonia lorentziana looks very much like yours and I think your plant was correctly identified. I also notice yours is growing in a very rough and open mix which is exactly what I was told to grow mine in when I first got it, and even though it proved difficult to get it to sit comfortably in the mix, it quickly put down roots to hold itself firmly.

Wendy – I have quite a lot of Bill pups, unfortunately some of the plants don’t pup as well as others, and Bill. Golden Gem (which is one of my favourites) unfortunately is in this category. I do have spares of Fascinator and Pink Lady though so a swap for them shouldn’t be a problem.

It’s good to see all of your Neo’s pupping well, and it’s especially good to see the favourites and more expensive ones doing the same. Mine are all starting to push up more pups as well, and just when I thought I’d caught up with all the Neo re-potting too.

Alcantareas – Another of my favourite brom’s which are now becoming more popular as more and more varieties become available. Unfortunately I don’t have enough growing area to have more than one or two, but anyone with acreage would be well advised to try a few as although they are very large plants, they are great plants which really make a “statement”.

Yesterday while looking at some old forum threads I came across the following address in the “original” Garden Forums (bromeliad section) and it’s certainly worth a look as there are lots of different Alcantareas that aren’t commonly available yet:

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/bromeliad/msg0907541722202.html?22

That’s about it for another day and I’ll finish with a few pic’s once again. 1. is Tillandsia Flabellata, 2. Neo. Roy's Rogue, 3. Neo. Rose Marie (mini), 4. Neo. Meyendorfii variegata II, and 5. Neo. Ice White River

All the best, Nev.


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Hi all
Nev so glad you enjoyed the birthday party. Little ones bring so much joy don't they? My little ones are now up in Toowoomba but they had 2 or 3 days as a happy family before leaving yesterday. Wonder when I'll see them again. It's their dad's birthday on Wednesday so I wonder if we'll see them that day. Chris spent the last 2 days dead leafing my brothers broms for him so he won't have to work so hard when he gets home.

We've had a clean up and depupping session last couple days. this morning we dead leafed and I like to pull the spend flower centre out of the neos to make them last longer. I pulled the centre out of a mini neo blushing tiger and before dropping it in the bucket noticed that bulging seed pods still there. I squeezed one and discovered seed so I squeezed all the pods, then washed and dried the seed. I sowed a tray and placed rest in an envelope in the fridge for later. That was easy so I will be trying it with all the mini neos now. I'm told they grow to maturity quickly compared to other genera so I look forward to some nice seedlings soon.

Nev if there is anything in our collection you want let me know asap so I can give it to Jen to take down to you. I would love to swap for some of those billbergias. If you have any other stunners that I would just have to have especially ones that love the pure sunlight like hallelujah does I would love to swap you for some of those too.,

I posted 3 pics earlier and lost the post so this time I will stick to just one. It will be a mini neo shamrock which is one of my favourites.

Night
Wendy

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I have started a new thread for March. It is at http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1245043/

Wendy

shellharbour, Australia

Good morning everyone,

When I saw the sun shining yesterday morning and felt a slight North Easterly breeze blowing, I decided to try and cut the back grass. My wife had done a load of washing earlier and hung it on the line hoping for a fine day, but I had to wait until the grass had dried out a bit. About mid morning the clouds were coming over again and I decided to cut the grass there and then. I’d just got everything ready when the young bloke who used to cut our grass dropped in just in time to save my old back by offering to cut the grass for us. No sooner had he started and fine rain started to fall. Fortunately this was short lived and as well as cutting the back grass, he did the front also and now everything’s starting to look reasonably tidy again. He had just put the mower away and down came the rain again and it’s been raining all night, but again not raining this morning.

Wendy – Dead leafing seems a never ending job with brom’s but it’s sure a good way to get to know your plants better and often pick up little problems before they become major issues. I’ve recently finished doing all the Neo’s and now the Vrieseas need to be done, at least they are smooth leaved and don’t start my arms bleeding like I've been attacked by some vicious animal.

Neo Blushing Tiger is a well known “selfer” and I think everyone who has it has at some time tried a bit of seed, and however even though some of the offspring are sometimes barred, I haven’t seen anything as good as the parent show up locally yet, but then you’ll never, never, know if you don’t give it a go!

I have a little Neo ampullacea ‘Black Beauty’ which “selfs” regularly also, and as you say they are very quick to germinate and I’ve found them to grow much quicker than the standard Neo’s also.

No doubt there are dozens of plants in your collection that I would like but unfortunately I always try and commit the names to memory and don’t go to write them down until I’ve forgotten and it’s too late. I’ll send you a wish list of plants I’m chasing as I just usually stick them all on a “wish list” meaning to write the name of the owner beside them but never seem to get around to doing it, and there may be some on the list that you have to swap.

I really do like your little mini Neo ‘Shamrock’ you’ve posted this morning, so when you get a spare pup put my name on it please. The other recent “want” that springs to mind, is Neo ‘Lime and Lava’ that Colleen posted a pic of a few days back.

As for the Bill’s, I haven’t gone through them all yet to sort out what’s available to swap and sell and what I want to keep, but one that does spring to mind is one of the older ones called Billbergia ‘Kip’, it is a plant that really makes a “statement” in the garden; and I’ve seen it grow to almost a metre tall. It’s a light brown colour with spotting and when given good light, it seems to get a beautiful pink cast through it. Grown in the shade it’s a most uninteresting dull green. I’ll see if I can find a pic and email it to you.

I also know I have spares of two beautiful rather large growing species; Bill. macrocalyx and Bill. rosea (see the FCBS Photo Index for a good selection of pic’s) These are what is commonly referred to as the “watch spring” types because of their tightly curled petals.

Thanks for starting the new thread and I’ll post this here in answer to your questions and I’ll also put it on the new thread as well if no one has posted anything there yet.

Now to finish with a few pic’s of my Neoregelias.

No.1. Neo. ‘Blast’, No. 2. Neo. Concentrica x (Charm x Cracker Jack) seedling, No. 3. Neo. ‘Heck’, No. 4. Neo. ‘Marble Snow’, No. 5. Neo. Marmorata (hybrid)

All the best, Nev.

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Melbourne, Australia

Hi,
I have 1 Bromeliad. last night I woke up to a lot of noise outside and when I went outside something had pulled it out of the pot roots and all. We have a lot of possums, so I assume it was one of them. I was wondering why a possum (or an other animal?) would do this? and how to stop it happening again?
I have searched this forum and some others and I am finding mixed things - that possums do like to eat them and that they don't. The plant wasn't eaten, it was just out of the pot.
I have had it a couple of months, and the possums haven't seemed interested in it until last night.
I thought that maybe, since it has been so hot, they were trying to get at the water in the funnel part?
Thanks,
Loren

north coast nsw, Australia

Do you get bandicoots down there?

Melbourne, Australia

I'm not sure about Bandicoots. I'm in hawthorn, 6 km from Melbourne CBD, so I'm guessing not...

north coast nsw, Australia

I know they dig up plants here without really harming the plant, there trying to find grubs and bugs in the soil/under the ground.

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