Bromeliads for novices and Addicts - Dec 2012

Hi all
Just a quick one tonight as I am pretty wrecked after driving for 2 days up and back again. at least in the air conditioned car I didn't feel the heat so much. If anything it was the opposite as Emily asked me to stop at a shop to buy her some socks as her feet were cold. Had to turn the air con down a bit then.

I stopped in at Cooran which was a bit difficult to find as they had opened the new section of highway and the Cooran turnoffs are now on the old highway. So I came down too far and had to go through Pomona and back up to Cooran. Anyway the back of the Honda was full to the roof with blanchetiana pups plus a few tills and guzmanias in exchange for the bag of hangers we got for them last week at Garden City Plastics. I think at even $3 each we certainly got the better end of that deal. However when they come here we give them broms to take back and vise versa. It is nice to swap plants with great friends.

I also love that vrisea yellow on black and would love to swap a pup for something else when it produces all those pups you will need to supply all of us LOL.

Sue love your new gardens. took a while tonight to read all the posts for 3 days. Nev sorry to hear about your accident with the drill. I hate watching Johnny with power tools as he is always doing things like you did. We were putting a new shade structure up down the back before I went away and I was holding pipes against the fence while he drilled and screwed them to the fence. Anyway at one time the drill grabbed on and threw his arm so far around I thought either his wrist or his shoulder had to have been broken. we didn't put the rest of them up after that but when I came home today, you guessed it he's now gone all the way to the back corner and halfway along the back fence. It will be now almost impossible for anyone to jump the fence into our yard as they will have to leap up and over to land a good number of feet into the yard. It will also be nearly impossible for them to find a flat surface to land on with so many broms everywhere below. anyway that will be almost the last of the fairly sunny spots in the yard covered after so many burns on broms these last few weeks. Nev we might have to try your idea of drop down blinds to add a bit more shade and protection.

Sue I also checked our ae red bands after your pic was posted and our pup was smaller than Jen's but still not as red as yours so it will be interesting to see how it develops.
Jen I like the red pups on vr pink sensation. I can't recall that we have that one .... not familiar at all especially with the albo stripe.
I also love n. golden king. the first one I got was not long after my mum died and I saw this neo called kathleen. as that was my mum's name I had to have it and then I bought golden king and side by side they were exactly the same. I now have a collection of special variegated neos that I grow down the side of the house with my billbergias. they don't mix with the others and I am picky who gets them. they include n. piccolo, and a couple of others that I can't think of right now. however by the time my pups of golden king and piccolo get on that shelf unit it is pretty good. (now there I go again thinking too much about where the double letter should be ... the c or the l... I know there is a double) I should just type and not think as I start second guessing myself. I typed it both ways and double c looks more right I think.

Can't keep my eyes open any longer so I'm off to bed. only thing I will ad is we have had no rain here even though we had a lot of noise and light the other night. so yesterday the truck came and filled our tanks once again. that's 3 times this year already. however I'd rather pay the $100 per time than lose a lot of our broms. The seedlings certainly do take a lot of watering to keep them growing well. as soon as you take those lids off the takeaway containers they need daily watering which takes a lot of time. I've discovered that the deep round takeaway containers are no good in this weather. I had lovely crops of billbergias in those to allow them more time to grow taller before they touched the lid and it had to be removed. however with the heat this week I think they just got too hot down inside the little space and curled up. I repotted and thinned them out in deep mix in shallower rectangualr trays but a lot were too far gone and just fell apart when moving them. some I was able to just lift the whole lot out add extra mix underneath and then replace the round clump on top so the green bits were out the top of the dish. hopefully I can save at least some of them. wish I'd repotted weeks ago. ah well another thing to note in the learning journal.

Night all

Shirley you posted while I was typing. I love your little black neo. that is so dark isn't it? wonder what it is. it looks like something I have but can't think of a name. I'll look through pics and see if I can find it. Possibly too black to be little africa. see pic 1 showing plants grown in 3 different locations from left clockwise a lot of sun, high under shadecloth and r is too much shade.
or it could be tar baby which has that deep black glossy leaves but only pic I have is a pup. will find it tomorrow and get updated pic of more mature plants.

night again.

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north coast nsw, Australia

your canefires lovely Jen and so is your Neo marmorata albo.

Coffs Harbour, Australia

Top of the morning to you! Its friday! Yaaaaaay!
got to do house work. Boooooooo! heh heh
its all good.
Jen, I will put your name down for a Billbergia 'Catherine Wilson'. It has a small pup now (mine) but when it gets another it will be yours. I did put a seed pod down, but it looks like only one seed has germinated. I don't like its chances of success!
I have a pup on my Aechmea phanerophlebia too, and its as red as my A. 'Red Bands' but both are so small. I will keep an eye on the latter to see if it retains the red or not.
I love your marmorata variegate too. The purple cane fire really sets it off. And congratulations on your V. 'Pink Sensation' pups, although I cant see the albo stripe Wendy mentioned.
Is the Wittrockia a very large plant? I think I might have seen one at Peters, but can't recall.
Shirley, we have had the heat here too. It makes it very hard to get motivated to go outside, so i have been doing the bulk of my work early in the morning or after 4pm, with a dip in the pool when it all gets too much. I've started cooking on the bbq too, to avoid heating the house any more than it is.
Today has begun quite windy, and overcast. Probably a good day to be inside cleaning. Ugh!
I love your little black brom. Just like Wendy said, it seems familair to me to, and I am leaning toward N. 'Little Black' or 'Tar Baby' I think one has pointed leaf tips and the other, rounded, but Ican't recall which. I just looked on the bromeliad photo index, and it looks as though N. 'Tar Baby' has the pointed leaves. So maybe N. 'Little black'? I also like N. 'Hazel Mac' is this a mini also?
Wendy, thats a long post for a short one! LOL. I'm glad your trip went well and you were able to stock up on some more plants. It sounds like Johnny was very productive while you were gone. Sometimes thats better than having to watch them hurt themselves! I hope you get some rain, when you need it, to fill those tanks. We have been lucky and had our tanks filled overnight a few weeks back, with 110mm of rainfall. We've only had one or two ml in each fall since then, but its keeping the tanks topped up
Anyway, it is getting light outside, so I might take a peep and see if the day lends itself to walking the dogs. Else I'll throw the ball awhile.
Photo one is a Billbergia from Jean, many years ago. I love how big and dark it is! I haven't anything to cross it with, as it needs pollen from a colourful one. I'd like to keep the size, which means it has to be the pod parent. next time a coloured one is blooming, I will freeze some pollen.
Photo two is a new orchid. Its a Miltoniana. I bought it for a friend for Xmas. $20 at big W
Photo three is Oncidium 'Sharry baby' a sweet smelling orchid.

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Merino, Australia

Hello everyone. I am always here reading but had to pop in and say how big that brom has grown Sue.
I have so many of them around here now as they pup like mad. The original ones from the epi collection are still sitting way out among the weeds around the tree stumps where I dumped them back in 2006. They still pup and flower whatever the weather. Got to be the most hardy brom I have seen down here.
I have some in the open shadehouse where they happily sit in the ground . They pup and flower every year.
For those looking at Sues, mine are not quite as dark but I notice the ones in the shadehouse are darker than those outside.
Its bil. Gerda, for anyone wanting to know.

Sue your garden is magic. As are all the other gardens I see on here.
A far cry from my dry jungle at the moment.

My broms are all happy in their greenhouse and I must take pups from some that have grown large.
I notice one is pushing poor Mum out of the pot..

I seem to have acquired a few more broms over the last few weeks. I must stop as there is no more room in the greenhouse.
I will move all the old mums to the back shadehouse soon. The pups will then have their own space to grow .
I usually sell them at the trash & treasure twice a year to get pocket money to buy my potting mix etc.
Lucky I dont live up near any of you as I would be wanting to buy all I see.
I had better stick with the irises, epis and brugs .

I wish you all a very happy time over Christmas and the New Year.


shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone – Wow! Only four more sleeps till Christmas, hasn't it come around fast this year?

Greetings to all those who are just watching in but not posting, but most of all, to our good friends who were regular posters but haven't posted for a while due to health problems. I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and a bountiful new year and may your brom's give birth to multiple pups.

It's 4.00am here and I can't sleep as this bloody thumb keeps throbbing so I though I'd just do a bit of “brom talking” to kill a bit of time, so please excuse me if this post isn't as long as it usually is.

Trish – The plant of Jen's that you like is Neo. 'Blast' and not 'Blast Off', it is like a lot of variegated plants which because they are often a little unstable, occasionally produces a wonderful surprise such as this; a beautiful plant but very often just a “once off” before it reverts back to where it was before. However we always keep our fingers crossed that it will produce more of the same and become a stabilised cultivar of Neo 'Blast' which can then be registered and named.

Sorry, but I can't help you with the Neo 'Reverence'; in fact I think you would have a better chance of getting it up there than I would down here as it's a Grace Goode hybrid registered in 2001 and comes from Neo. 'Tangerine' x 'One and Only' and there should be a bit of it around up in your area.

Yes Trish Brassia Verrucosa is one of my favourite orchid species which flowers reliably every year at Christmas time without fail. It has 23 spikes on it this year, not quite as good as last year (25) so maybe it's time I re-potted it and gave it a bit of food and moire space to grow. It seems to like growing in that shallow terracotta saucer but the trouble is that the one it's in now seems to be as big as they get so I may have to break it into two plants something I really don't want to do but something I probably need to do whether I like it or not.

As for your little seedlings with the bit of Algae starting to grow on them, I have often removed the lid on my seedlings suffering the same fate without any problem. Just make sure they are not in strong light and put it back on again at night. I am however in a different climate to you so I can't guarantee it will work the same way for you, so I would suggest you just try it for a couple of hours each day and gradually increase the time the lid is off making sure that they don't dry out.

Shirley – As far as postage costs go, I was told by the nice young lass in our Post Office that it doesn't matter what size the box is, if you can keep the weight below 500gm you can send it anywhere in Australia for $6.60 and this is something I've done many times as I send plants to S.A., Vic and Qld. This seems to be a standard rate and it's when it's
over this weight that they start to measure the box as well. I have found that poly-styrene boxes are the best as they are strong and “light as a feather” and can be used over and over. I use broccoli boxes for large lots of plants and a smaller size box which grapes come in for the smaller plants. Down here, the small ones are available at most fruit shops free of charge but the broccoli boxes in some shops cost $1 as they have to pay a deposit on each box.

As far as 'Cane Fire' goes, it is albo-marginated just like Neo 'Predator' but like Predator, I don't see why it can't sometimes revert and lose the light coloured leaf margins. It's a Shane Zaghini hybrid from a cross of Neo. (Carolinae x Concentrica) x Barbarian. I know that when variegated plants lose their variegation and produce “plain coloured pups” they should have have the word “NOVAR” (NO VARiegation) written after the name so as not to deceive the person buying the plant into thinking the variegations will come eventually. In the case of a plant like yours which has lost the "albo" leaf margins, I don't know what that's supposed to be called as it's not a true 'Cane Fire', nor is it a NOVAR either. Does anyone else have anything to add to this? To see the picture of the “real deal” go to:

Sue – Sorry to hear you're copping it so hot up there. I guess we should be thankful for our afternoon “Nor'easters” which blow a cooling breeze off the sea almost every afternoon and are a great relief on hot days, but then on other days they can be quite strong and uncomfortable so I guess there's just no pleasing us. One thing for sure is that we can't change “Mother Nature” so best try and work with her, that's why I made the shutters to break the force of the strong south winds.

I really like the little yellowish coloured miniatures in your garden bed in your pic.2 and when you have a spare pup or two I would be glad to swap for something I have that you would like.

What you say about the lady at the markets selling brom's identified from a similar pic in a book reminds me of what happened to me a couple of years back. There was a lady at Kiama Markets who sold brom's and did a similar thing, but on one particular day she had a heap of Vr Ospinae plants (about half grown) which she said she didn't have a name but thought they might be a “new sort of brom” but wasn't sure, hence the price ($1 each). Naturally I bought the lot, but then feeling a bit guilty, I went back later and bought a couple of her other plants at the right price.

Jen - It's interesting you mention Neo 'Moby Dick', the day after Ian suggested my unnamed plant could be Moby Dick I was poking around the plants and saw a similar plant which had grown much larger than I had remembered it. When I looked at the label it was Neo. 'Moby Dick' and written on the back of the label was all the usual details I write followed by “Jen” so I knew where it came from. You see my memory isn't as good as yours, that's why I write these things down on the name tag. All I need to do now is somehow transfer all of this information onto a computer file and I'll have it at my finger tips. Many times I have made a start but have got side tracked and never finished it, so maybe it might have to be a New Years Resolution.

I like your Neo Marmorata albo-marginata, I haven't seen that one before and it certainly makes a nice “centre piece” among all of your other variegated plants.

Shirley – It never ceases to amaze me of the quality of the NOIDS you seem to be able to “dig up” from different places; you have posted some beautiful NOIDS during this last year and to top it off your Pic.2 today is yet another NOID and probably the darkest colour I have ever seen with a nice shape as well. Please put me down for a pup when ever you get a spare.

The pups you sent arrived in great condition yesterday so an “early Christmas present for Nev”. I'll wait until after the Christmas mail rush before I send your plants back.

Wendy – Regarding your seedling containers requiring a lot of watering once the lids are off, what I do is this: When I remove the lids I also use an angle grinder to cut drainage holes in the bottom of the containers and sit them all in a cut down broccoli box (six to a box) into which I've put a bed of 25mm of Coco Peat on the bottom. I first give this Coco Peat a good soaking and as the broccoli box has no holes in the bottom every time you water, the excess runs through the container and into the Coco Peat in the bottom of the box. This maintains a continually moist bed of Coco Peat which creates humidity and also is a reserve from which the plants can draw water. Being continually damp it also seems to encourage quicker root growth on the plantlets in the containers. By using this method I only need to water them once a week in hot weather and once every three weeks during the cooler months. (Your climate will dictate how often you need to water).

Sue – I like you little Miltonia. Did you know there are two different types, the type you have and another much hardier type more closely aligned to Oncidiums. This second type has similar cultural requirements to Oncidiums and the Brassia genera.

Today I'll finish with a few more pic's, Pic.1 is for Wendy and is of my cut down broccoli boxes with the seedling containers in them on a bed of Coco Peat; Pic's 2 and 3 show the shutters in the open position from a couple of different angles. There's still a bit of painting to be done but you'll get the idea. I racked my brain for a suitable way to hold them open but finally decided on the KISS system and just made simple props out of the same size timber that the shutters were made from. This was just 10cm (second hand) treated pine decking ripped down the centre to give me 5cm wide strips. I got this from our rail museum as people often deliver old paling fences for us to burn in the boilers and occasionally they will also drop of a bit of “treated stuff' as well. As we can't burn this because of the toxic fumes it gives off, we either have to pay to dump it at the tip or give it away. Being a scrounger and a re-cycling addict from way back I'm happy to take it off their hands in most cases. , Pic's 4 and 5 show the little metal cleats which I screwed to each side of the props at the top to prevent them slipping off the shutters. (these were what I was drilling when I drilled my thumb).

All the best, Nev.

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Brisbane, Australia

Hi all, we had a few spots of rain this afternoon, I know ‘cos I saw little spots on the concrete ... certainly not enough to do any good.

Wendy, sounds like you had a very rushed trip to Hervey Bay and back. Also sounds like a nice haul of blanchetianas … where on earth are you going to put them all. I have neo Little Africa and it is different to the really black one I posted yesterday.

Sue, I don’t think it’s neo Little Black either but it’s probably the closest I have seen. Neo Hazel Mac is a small grower but not a mini.

Jean, great to see your post.

Nev, that’s a short post? Good to see you are able to type despite your sore thumb and I hope the throbbing lets up soon. Really pleased to hear your new babies arrived safe and unscathed by their travels. I have you down for a pup from the spotty NOID I posted earlier in the week along with Neo Chantilly and also the black neo from last night’s post. I am pretty sure there was another one from a while back but I lost my list when my old computer died. If you remember any others, please remind me.

Hi to Trish, Jen, Bree and Ian

Just 2 pics tonight, neo Jewellery Shop and an Alan Freeman hybrid neo

Bye for now, Shirley

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Coffs Harbour, Australia

Good morning.
We had a bit of overnight rain last night. Too dark to go and see how much is in the guage, but I imagine its around 6-7mm. I watered all the shade houses yesterday afternoon, so everything has had a good soak now!
It got fairly warm yesterday, but we had a lovely breeze arriving in the early afternoon which saw the temperature drop after midday, and it was quite bearable.
Hello Jean. Thanks for the name on that Billbergia. It has been proped up in the middle of the golden cane palms for the last couple of years, as it outgrew its pot. I really should put it in a larger pot, but it seems quite happy there, and flowers seem to appear randomly throughout the year.
Thank you for the compliment on my garden. I take it you are having a dry start to summer? What is your long range forecast? Any plans for Xmas? I love the way you are determined to deny being a brom addict! "I must stop' she says! heh heh
Morning Nev, I hope your thumb has stopped throbbing by now? I get split thumbs in cold weather, from washing pots e.t.c. and they are bad enough. I once put a needle through my finger on an industrial walking foot sewing machine, and although the needle went through, the most painful part of the process was the anaesthetic needle used to give me pain relief, when they removed the bit still in there, and also the bruising caused when the foot of the machine ran over my finger. Yeh, that throbbed and I can totally sympathise with you. Funny story. When that happened, the first thing I did was ring hubby. He said 'what do you want me to do about it?' He was working as an interstate truck driver and was half way accross the nullabor!
The yellow mini Neo.s in that garden are all tiger cub types Nev, with no name tags, but I can getyou one of each if I can tell the difference. Its a good way of growing them as they can spread as much as they like. I have quite alot of N. 'fireball' and am thinking about putting alot in the garden too, as they don't need looking after, once they are in, and it is easy to harvest the pups as needed.
Sounds like you got a good bargain from the lady at Kiama. I have a V. ospinae that is going on for two foot tall and has lots of pups up the entire length of the stem. I haven't decided if I should take some pups off or leave it and see how tall it will get. I might tie it to the old tree trunk its leaning on.
I like your seed raising area. Its so neat, and the containers fit so well in the styrofoam boxes. I am steering away from the cocoa peat, because of the fungus gnats, but I guess the same could be done with a layer of sphagnum? I might dry some out and then see if I can shred it a bit finer.
I suspect it is getting quite hot in my plastic hothouse now, but have the door open and am watering about every three days. I don't have a great deal in there at this time, but it was good for over winter. If I can get my hands on some more styrofoam, I caould set it up neatly like yours. Boxes seem to be as rare as hens teeth here!
Shirley, your N. 'Jewellery Shop' is beautifully grown. I need to try growing one a bit harder I think. I grew one very hard a few years back and had a totally yellow centre with red outer leaves, but it was small. Now i have them almost totally orange all over, with gold streaks, so i have to find a happy medium. Your Alan freeman hybrid looks alot like N. 'Painted lady' is it as red as in the photo?
Hubby has gone on a Xmas fishing trip with his work mates, so I am on my own today with the yard! I hope its cooler today as i can't get motivated to do much outside when its hot. I might just do some potting, although I am short of space for newly potted plants, and need hubby to help with the next shade house. maybe I should brave the crowds and do some shopping instead? Let me see, shopping or potting? yep, potting it is.
It seems I didn't take any new photos yesterday, so i will take a few today while i am in the garden.
Have a good weekend everyone, and I hope you are all set for Xmas.

shellharbour, Australia

I was going to say “Hi All”, but surprisingly there's you and I Shirley - P.S. (Oh! I should have known, Sue's just popped in as I was about to post this and beat me at the post once again). I suppose everyone else is rushing around doing all the last minute Christmas things before Santa comes. I guess having limited mobility does have some benefits, as I don't have to do any of this frenzied Christmas shopping and can just look after my brom's here in my own yard instead.

Jean – I missed you yesterday as we both must have posted together, either that or D.G.'s playing tricks on me again. Anyway it's nice to see you dropping in as it's been a long time since we previously heard from you .

Shirley – The reason for the long post yesterday was that I had a lot of catching to do, and I think my thumb is on the improve as it isn't throbbing as much as it was the day before, that is until I bumped it last night, but it soon settled down again, and as you've probably guessed by now, I'll talk about brom's all day, given half a chance.

Seems you are in the same boat as me as I lost a list I had of swaps I was to do with other brom mates. I will find the plants eventually as I always write the name of the people wanting pups on the back of the name tag so come re-potting time, all will be revealed.

I think there was another one of yours I was after as well so I'll look back through the posts and see if I can find it. Of the ones you sent on the list, I have 'Prince of Darkness', 'Amazing Grace', 'Orange Glow' (I think) and 'Golden King', so I'll get them to you after the Christmas rush and if there's any others you think of in the mean time, please let me know.

You've posted two nice pic's again, 'Jewellery Shop' is always a very popular plant and although I don't know the second one, there's very few of the hybrids released by Alan Freeman that weren't worth growing as he made some beautiful plants.

Sue - We haven't had any rain for a week or two now although they keep fore-casting it, but it seems like a nice coolish day today so I'll water everything to be on the safe side. That Bill sure has nice dark colour and the good thing is that I'm sure Jean sent me a bit a while back also, all I have to do is try and find it today in my jungle.

I understand what you say about your finger you tried to sew, I found it wasn't the wound that was causing the pain, but the swelling and bruising on the side opposite the actual wound.

You say you have a lot of Neo. 'Fireballs', why don't you mix them up with the yellow ones as I'm sure they'd look great as red and yellow seem to compliment each other beautifully.

I found that Vr. Ospinae was one of the plants that responded well to the extra fertilising plus extra prill in the lower leaf axils. I tried it on one of the ones I got from this lady and at last count I had taken 13 pups from it and it's not finished yet as there are still some grass like pups appearing all around the bare stem - a really interesting plant.

I'm fortunate with the Coco Peat as I don't seem to be troubled with these "gnats" you speak of, maybe because our climate is a tad cooler than yours, who knows? Anyway I don't see why finely chopped sphagnum wouldn't work as well as it will hold water also and I expect you will get the same result as I do.

My son-in-law went "outside" fishing on a charter boat with some of his work mates yesterday and the westerly wind came up and bugged up the fishing and as they were coming back a "southerly buster"came up and all he got was a good dose of sea sickness.....bugger.

I'll finish now with just a few random pic's from around the back yard taken yesterday. This is an area which I'm re-arranging and some of the plants are in temporary positions as you will see by the pot hangers still attached.

As well as hanging pots with these hangers, I also use them as handles to facilitate easy handling and save me bending down to pick up plants. So every plant I re-pot, I attach a (handle) and leave it attached until I've found a permanent location for the plant at which time it's removed. So anyone with a crook back that has trouble bending, try this out; it will save you a bit of back pain.

The last picture is of a young Pewee who flew onto the table on the back porch; I could see he had some sort of thread wrapped around his right foot, so over a couple of days I made friends with him until I could coax him into the back (closed in) porch while my wife went around the back from another direction and closed the door. I was then able to catch him and together we removed the threads from his foot before releasing him.

I fear he was in very poor condition though as the "keel bone" (sternum in a human) in his chest was very prominent which is a sign of a sick bird, so maybe he had been caught up somewhere for a while and unable to feed or drink , so we'll just have to hope he's OK.

All the best, Nev.

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Hi all I had asafe trip down here and we have limited internet service here for financial reasons. It is ok just my daughters plan. My grandson arrived on Friday morning at 4 45 am weighing about 6lb11 oz.. The little sleepy wheat growing town of Dalby went to cotton about 20 years ago and the last 10 years Coal and coal seam gas are the big industries here now. There is a coal stockpile and loader at macalister and stockpiles of coal from Bowenvile to Jondaryan. I couldn't see how they load it there though. not much happening with my Daughters broms .
Have a good one.

Townsville, Australia

Hi Everyone!

Yes finally it’s the weekend and I also have some quality time off over the festive season so it’s like double hooray!!!

All the Christmas shopping is out of the road which is a huge relief.

It was nice this morning waking up to no alarm going off, apart from the girls woke us up at about 6am to take them for a walk on the beach which we did and it was really nice. A sleep in would have been nice but we have time for that.

It’s stinking hot today out in the garden. Joe hedged the hedges; whipper snipped and mowed all the lawns today so it looks really neat apart from the dead patches of lawn. I racked up all the leaves of the Avocado and Mango so I can mulch them all up, then I temp shade covered yet another large section of garden where I have my bromeliads as we cut back some of the shrubs / gingers that slightly sheltered some of them but have noticed over the past couple of weeks that unfortunately the bromeliads are not getting enough shade from the paperbark trees out in the wetland area, they are not burning thankfully but some of them are losing their beautiful colour. It won’t be much to get their colour back and the shade cloth will do the trick.

Hi Shirley glad to hear the gingers I sent you survived and you have them potted up. I have ours growing in the garden as they grow to about 2mtrs. You can grow them in pots also but they would eventually need a bigger pot and a lot of watering. You can get miniature gingers and I have a miniature red ginger that grows to about 1mtr and it is really cute and the smaller flowers it produces are gorgeous (just like the large Pink Ginger but smaller in size and colour). Great also to hear you got the Ginger / Heliconia Cultural notes I emailed, hope they are of benefit.

Thanks Shirley for explaining postage cost, that it’s not calculated on size of box but on weight, I am very new to posting plants so appreciate you letting me know.

Yeah Shirley thanks I too think Vr. Yellow on Black is a beauty, it is so dark compared to all my other vrieseas. Yes I too like Neo. Cane Fire, I have mine in the garden with 70% shade cloth over it. All the shade cloth I use around the garden is 70% even the stuff in the entertainment area where all my vriesea’s are. Shirley your Neo. Cane Fire looks so different to mine?

Oh Shirley if you can spare one down the track any chance of you putting me down for a pup (after Nev as he got in early lol) of that unusual unnamed small black neo pic you posted on 20/12, it’s SO very different to any of the mini neo’s I have, I am so blown away by how dark she is? Pic 1 Neo ‘Hazel Mac’ is also very cute and has great shape.

Hi Sue glad to hear you have been getting some rain, we are still waiting in anticipation as our grass is getting fried out there and it makes no difference how much we water, but if it rains I know this will make a huge difference because it always does as you can’t beat a good bit of fresh rain to bring everything back to life.

Yeah Sue I agree Vr. philippo-coburgii (round chocolate tips) is very different to Vr. altodasserae (pointed tips), I have both and they are very different when comparing them side by side. I have never seen either of them flower but I have seen pictures of Vr. Philippo-coburgii’s flower which I really liked.

Sue / Jen Vr. Black on Yellow I purchased from EBay back in June 2012, with not much info provided by the seller at the time other than “Rarely ever offered on EBay, the outer of the leaves on this Vriesea are much darker than the centre, the picture had not captured the contrast between the centre and the remainder of the plant. It is a medium sized grower”. I really luv it because it is the darkest Vriesea that I have so far and is just that little bit different when displayed amongst my other vriesea’s. Unfortunately I know nothing about its parents?

Thanks Sue that would be great if you could keep your eye out for Neo ‘Reverence’, I think it is such a pretty brom.

Sue that Neo ‘Exotica Satin’ or whatever pic you posted on 19/12 is gorgeous. We also like the Orchid Pics you posted on the 20/12, I have seen Joes Oncidium ‘Sharry Baby’ flower and got to smell it, isn’t it a beautiful little orchid with those cute little flowers, it’s amazing how strong the perfume smells from something so tiny.

Hi Jen sorry to hear your Vr. Angela x Milky Way turned out to be a real dud. We got our one from EBay from a reputable seller that we always buy from and the pic the seller had posted was identical to what we got in the mail and we went WOW when we unwrapped it from the box, the pup is doing really well and I think it will change colour when it flowers.

Jen no worries, I will keep you in mind for a pup from Vr. Yellow on Black, hope you don’t mind being patient though because she is still relatively small and I want to keep at least a couple of the first pups I get from her because she is not as tough leafed as some of my other Vriesea’s, her leaves are a lot more delicate, so easier for her to get damaged so I want to make sure I have a couple of back up plants of her. In the interim if I see her again for sale I will probably look at getting another because I adore her that much.

Jen luved all beautiful brom pics you posted on 20/12, especially Pic 3 Neo ‘Marmorata albo with Cane Fire (purple), and Pic 4 Neo ‘Pink Sensation’ those cute pink babies are gorgeous.

Hi Jean so nice to hear from you; and wishing you also a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Hi Nev hope that your thumbs much better, glad to hear it’s only throbs now and again when you hit it by accident. Thanks for clarifying that Jen’s Neo ‘Blast’ that I mentioned I like is not Neo ‘Blast Off’. Thanks also for the info on Neo ‘Reverence’ I have been chasing this one for years but still no luck, I have looked high and low without any luck. If I ever stubble across one I will probably question if it is for real or not lol.

Nev thanks for your advice regarding my little vriesea seedlings with algae growing in a couple of the trays, I will give your advice a go while I am off and let you know how I go, at least I am home to monitor their progress.

Nev that’s fantastic what you do with your seedlings and the cocoa peat, I will keep that in mind for my babies once I have set-up some shelving in the nursery. I also liked Sue’s idea with the sphagnum moss too if it was cut up fine enough.

Nev great pics also of your shutters in open position, they look great, as well as all the Pics you posted on 21/12 WOW look at all those gorgeous bromeliads, all that glorious colour. I would want to set up camp in there if I visited because all those colours mixed together are breath taking. That was very kind what you and your wife did for that poor little bird, anyway you never know with birds sometimes, hopefully it comes back to visit for food and a drink of water and keeps coming back to visit.

Pic 1 and 2 - Took some random pics today of some broms that I temp moved under the Avocado tree while I cleaned the area where they usually live. If you want to know what any of them are please let me know.
Pic 3, Pic 4 and Pic 5 – Mixture of broms under temp shade area, they have been there at least a month now and seem happy.

Anyway that it for me tonight time to put the kettle on.

Take care and Happy Gardening Everyone! Look forward to speaking with you all real soon.


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Townsville, Australia

Congratulation Ian your a Grandad! Hope mum and baby are doing really well.


Brisbane, Australia

Hi all, another very hot day and a few spots of rain a couple of hours ago, I think it lasted about 20 seconds. I didn’t get to do much outside today other than hang out lots of washing … and it certainly dried quickly. I did do some watering and pulled a few weeds but like Sue it’s a question of will I do housework or gardening, hmmm vacuuming or potting … usually the housework loses but I really had to get in and do it today.

Sue, the Alan Freeman neo is more purple than red, and it’s quite large … a real eye catcher. Enjoy your day on your own … you probably should have gone shopping but it certainly wouldn’t be a nice, leisurely shop at the moment.

Sue, Nev, Vr ospinae is one that I find doesn’t grow well for me. I have placed a saucer of water under the pot and initially it seemed to perk up a bit but it never looks really happy in its present environment. Maybe I should put it out into the garden.

Nev, your garden looks great and that is one lucky little peewee in your pic, hope he makes it OK. I will post a pic of neo Hatsumi?

Ian, glad you had a good trip to Dalby and thanks for the update on the industry there now. It has been quite a few years since we have been there … I haven’t moved on from the wheat farming era. Congrats on the arrival of your new grandson, has he been named yet.

Trish, great to hear you have some time off over Xmas. One of the ginger plants you sent is looking a little less happy than the other … do you think it would be better planted in a shady spot in the garden rather than restricted in a pot. I am sure it will be OK either way and thanks again.

As Nev pointed out, postage costs vary once the weight exceeds 500 grams. It then depends on the size as well as the weight and also the distance and can be very exxy. There is a postage calculator on Aust Post’s website that might be useful to you in the future.

Trish, I have added your name to the pup list for the small black neo … I think for now I’ll call it ‘Little Black’ as Sue suggested it might be.

Such lovely broms in your pics, I have a real leaning towards the variegated neos and the ones in your pic 1 are stunning, especially de Rolf and the one behind it … is that neo Yang? Also, what is the large variegated neo with the red centre and dark green (almost black) leaf edges which is situated slightly right of the middle in pic 3 and left of the middle in pic 4, please. And also that lovely pale neo which is in the middle, left of the post in pic 5 … beautiful plants both of them. Could I ask you to put my name on the waiting list for a pup from both these beauties please, whatever they are.

We are off to Bunnings and/or Masters tomorrow as I need to buy more potting mix and slow release fertilizer and confidor too. Will check out their broms too … I need a few more :o)

That’s it for now, gotta get my beauty sleep ... catch up tomorrow.

Pic 1 is neo Purple Cloud ? and pic 2 is neo Hatsumi ?

Bye for now, Shirley

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Hi everyone
Congratulations Ian on becoming a grandad. now the fun starts for you watching the little one grow and develop a personality. they say and do the funniest things which makes life worth living and laughing about.
We've had a couple of really good weeks with Max but last couple nights he's had a bit of trouble sleeping. Of course when he snorts and snuffles we wake up to see if he's OK. It wasn't till I had a night away and slept really well then came back to sharing a room with Max and heard him snuffling and snorting and keeping us waking up all night. I wake up in the mornings tired and yawn all day. If we come upstairs and sit down with our feet up for a cuppa I can easily fall asleep for a nanna nap. I sit in front of the computer at night and just want to finish reading all the posts so I can log off and go to bed. And just when you are at your tiredest and just want to flop in bed the computer decides it is going to install 14 or more updates before shutting down. So then you have to either wait for that to finish and turn powerpoints off or leave them on all night.
I uploaded a heap of photos last night onto the computer but it was too late to do anything with them by the time I had them sorted so I just went off to bed without even reading DG so lots of reading tonight. Now I just want to put my head down and sleep so I'll post a couple and finish tomorrow.

Pic 1 is my seedlings of ae macfoster (macrochlamys). Ross said this plant doesn't self set seed so I think the ants have tickled it with pollen from something else. anyway 4 seeds set and I still have 4 seedlings growing so we'll see what they produce in a few years.
Pic 2 is ae (recurvata v benrathii x weilbachii leodensis) x self (F2) oops DG turned it back around.... sorry (not sure if I already posted this or not)
Pic 3 is the largest of the billbergia hallelujah F2 seedlings taken last week. boy they have grown since planted in March. I've just crossed 2 more hallelujahs with each other so hopefully I'll have some more to grow soon.

I think I'm going to lose a few batches of billbergia seedlings that had been planted in deep round containers. I think the air inside those just heat up too much and there is no air circulation because they were growing really really well and I had started planting them out then all of a sudden last week with the heat the seedlings started laying over in the pot and I accused Johnny of hitting them too hard with the hose which he denied. Anyway I decided to repot them all but too late for most. they were just too soft and soggy and fell apart when touched. hopefully I can save some. so if anyone is using these containers I suggest you fill half full of mix so seedlings are close to top before heat gets them. The deep rectangular dishes seem to be OK for billbergias.

Pic 4 is ae emivichal seedling which came from Nev. It is growing up high in a totem getting good light and the colour is just getting more and more stunning. However the plant is also getting quite large and will need a bigger pot soon.

Nev I planted some more of the seed you sent me using painted lady x NOID sport. I was spraying them today and I'm sure I can see faint white lines developing so I'm going to watch them very carefully. So many of our seedlings are getting to a size where they need to be potted up into normal sized pots instead of seedlings pots. once they reach that magic age they really take off don't they? I seem to be at that stage with a lot of them now. Of course it could be that we are now watering and fertilising more especially the foliar fertiliser. I'm also using watered down rooster booster sometimes and other times spraying with condy crystals so they are getting a varied diet of spray which they don't seem to be minding at all. I also am cutting holes in bottom of trays and standing in larger trays so they have a bit more of a water supply. this seems to be encouraging growth. I will be keeping an eye out now though for those broccoli boxes so I can fit 6 trays in one box. Jean lovely to hear from you again too. And Trish, Shirley, Sue, Jen, Ian, Nev, and all those others lurking out there and reading but not posting I say HI to all.

Well I'm off to bed now. I'm yawning up a storm and the jaw is clicking with each one so I need to get some shut eye.
Night all.

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Shirley you posted while I was posted. Oh and I meant to say that my son had an ospinae in his garden but I didn't get a pic of it. It was leaning up against a tree trunk and growing out into the front into the sun but the pot it came from was a good 3 feet or more away. The pot was still standing upright but the plant had leaned over the side of the pot, grown along the ground till it found something to grow up and lean on. It looked very healthy too and he was waiting for a nice flower spike. I think if he leaves it where it is the pups will grow along the length of trunk on the ground and he will have a mass clump of them. if they all flower simultaniously for him it will be spectacular. I'll get a pic next time we are up there.

pics are of my sons latest additions to his family. they are little bantam chicks that hop on his hand in the cage and he carries them out to scrounge in the gardens among the broms. the white one is called Hope (as Paul says to the girls "hope it's not a rooster or it will feel the axe") and the brown one is called Mia. they are already used to the girls giving them cuddles but they don't willingly hop on their hands yet. Paul is definately their surrogate daddy. Emily loved cuddling them. Pity her dog Indy wouldn't kill anything like this cause she would love to have one.

Night again.

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Coffs Harbour, Australia

good morning all, two more sleeps!
Nev, glad to hear you are feeling better. The length of your posts is better also! I like your little pee wee and he's lived up to his name on the table!
I have got a couple of Neoregelia 'Fireball' in the garden with the yellow minis, but they don't seem to do as well. Now that I have plenty to play with, I can always try a few more. I also thought about putting some Aechmea gracilis small form up there, as a bit of green also looks good as a contrast, and I have a tray of them.
Hubbys fishing trip resulted in a few being sea sick, no fish, and, no doubt, a bit of a hangover later this morning. I have absolutely no symathy!
Your shade houses are looking very colourful,and the Vrieseas look to be a good size. I hope you get alot acheived while everyone is out Xmas shopping. I have done all mine, I think, although it looks like we might have another two ring ins on the day, so might have to dig out extra everything.
Congratulations grandaddy Ian! How convenient for your daughter to have your grandson there for your arrival. I hope you have a great Xmas and find some brom treasures while you are away.
Trish, I am glad you finally have some time off. You won't know yourself after a bit of a relax and a few sleep ins!
Out of interest, what was the Ebay seller name on that Black on yellow Vriesea. You can Dmail me if you don't want to broadcast it here. Just curious.
I'm glad you and Joe enjoyed seeing Onc. 'Sharry Baby' I bought it at the markets quite sometime ago, and have split it a couple of times and given bits as trades, and it keeps on flowering every year. The next orchid to flower is Epidendrum fragrans. I am checking the buds ever day, and hope nothing eats them before they flower. As the name suggests, it is fragrant, nd it will come inside while it is flowering, to waft its scent around the living room.
Your random garden shots are very colourful, and as you say, the temp shades are working well.
Shirley, The house work won here, but I am glad its done, although a vacuum on monday afternoon will be needed, as I have tracked in grass clipping and bits of leaf matter, as happens after a day in the garden. I cleaned up bark in the brom gardens and mowed and edged the grass and blower vacc'd the veranda as well as a few other odd jobs around the place. I am going to dead head Agapanthas today, and prune a few bits here and there, nothing drastic.
No rain yesterday, and feels warm here already, so I'll get out and do an early water.
I figured the Alan freeman hybrid must have been slightly different to the pic. There seems to be alot of purple shade in alot of his hybrids. I have a few that I inherited from Leisa, with bromagic labels on them, and every now and then one will stand out and say 'look at me'.
With your V. ospinae, I too heard that it likes a bit more moisture. maybe keep it in a potting mix, rather than a brom/orchid mix, so that it retains more moisture in the soil? I find that works with alot of guzmanias too.
Wendy, just a thought, your Billbergia seedlings might have what is called 'Damping Off' It sometimes happens with annual seedlings. Although, I just googled it, and according to wikipedia, it usually due to COOL wet conditions, so your thoughts on too much heat might be more on the money. What a shame.
I hope Max stays well till Xmas is well over, and hope he gets some relief so you can have a better nights sleep. My hubys snoring aftera big drink will leave me a bit tired today too! heh heh
Anyway, lets see what I shot with the camera yesterday.
Photo one is some Till scheidiana seeds wiped onto a casaurina tree, sprayed with water and I wrapped some fishing line around the trunk a couple of times to keep at least some of them attached.
Photo two is Neo. 'Furnace' in the garden, a slightly larger mini
Photo three is some N. 'Satsuma' seedlings in the garden. All just slightly different in colour or shape, or size.
Photo four is a portion of Leisas garden, just to show Trish I don't always plant in rows, heh heh. Its actually getting cowded and hard to step between to get the debris out.
Photo five is the same plants from a different angle. And I have just noticed there is a smudge on my camera lens! Must clean that now.

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shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone – Not much to report today, all I did yesterday was a good deep watering of everything, a bit of cleaning up and a couple of re-potting jobs I had been putting off, nothing really interesting, but I do enjoy watering as that's when you get a chance to really have a good look at each plant.

Ian – Pleased to hear you reached you destination safely, that seems to be a bonus these days with all of the "idiots" on the road doing stupid things and causing accidents in which the innocent person usually gets injured or killed.

Congratulations all round on the birth of your new grandson. How do you like being a Grand Dad? I can highly recommend it as the grand kids can give you hours of pleasure. Now all you have to do is teach him how to grow brom's.

Trish – Just to clarify what I said about postage costs; it was only the parcels under 500gm that they don't take into account the box size. Over this they do, and feed this info into the computer and it spits out the results for all the different types of postage. It's quite easy to work out your own postage costs as there is an Australia Post site on which you can calculate the cost as long as you have the weight and box size, and your post code and the post code to where you are sending the parcel. Check it out at this site:

In your first pic, what is the name of the largish pink/red Neo at bottom right of the pic?

Shirley – It's always a good idea to knock a plant out of the pot and examine the roots if it doesn't seem happy. The three most common problems in my opinion are being “too wet”, being “too dry” and “Root Mealy Bug”. The treatment for the first two is simple, re-pot your plant into fresh mix and adjust your watering accordingly.

As for the “Root Mealy Bug”, if you practice good hygiene when handling plants and re-potting, it's unlikely you have ever had problems with it. You may however have imported it with a plant you bought or swapped. Also another common source of contamination is using second-hand, unwashed re-cycled pots. If because of financial constraints you have to use second-hand pots, make sure they are thoroughly cleaned and washed and allowed to air dry in the sun to kill any possible bugs or disease. When I grew orchids I always cleaned any second-hand pots with a solution of Formalin, but I don't think you can buy it any more, but there are alternatives and as Sue has studied horticulture and worked in the horticultural area, no doubt she can better advise about this than I.

Root Mealy Bug can be seen either on the roots, the mix or the inside of the pot and looks like a fine white looking sort of web which is hard to explain but is obvious in Pic.1. The actual “Root Mealy Bugs” themselves are hard to see as they are quite small and often concealed within the root ball (See Pic.2). For more in-depth info see:

I have had excellent results by treating infected plants in the following manner. I remove as much of the potting mix from around the roots that I can and then give the roots a good hosing (away from other plants). I allow the plant to dry and then I then drench the whole plant in a bucket of Confidor mixed according to instructions for Mealy Bug. Confidor is available at most nurseries and other places that sell plants and plant accessories (I get mine from Bunnings which is just ten minutes away). I allow the plant to air dry for a couple of days and then, using a new pot I re-pot it into fresh mix. I never re-use the old pot or potting mix as it can contain eggs of the Root Mealy Bug; far better to sacrifice the 5c pot and toss it in the bin instead. I prefer to follow the old saying of “prevention is better than cure”; that's why every plant I buy/swap, I always knock it out of the pot, clean away any potting mix, examine it and if free of pests or disease, re-pot in my own mix. This has two benefits; firstly you then know the plant is clean and secondly, all of your similar plants are in the same mix and therefore require the same watering programme.

What sort of conditions are you growing your Vr. Ospinae in? I have a couple, one in the garden beneath 50% green shade cloth (but among other plants) and the other plant is in my Vriesea shade house also under 50% green shade cloth, but on the southern side of the house which is a pretty shady area. They both seem to like these conditions and I find it grows quite easily. Can anyone else out there in “D.G. Land “ tell us under what conditions they grow their Vr Ospinae plants?

I think if you call your little black brom Neo 'Little Black' you could confuse things a bit as there is already a 'Little Black' registered on the BCR and you aren't certain that's what your plant is.
There is a chance this could be what it is, but there is also a chance this isn't what it is. To be on the safe side you can call it Neo. ?'Little Black'. By adding the “?” you aren't deceiving anyone who may buy/swap it in the future.

I love the two pic's you've posted and I think they were two of the plants I had on my wish list (that I can't find) so could you please put my name on both of them for me please?

Wendy – I have found with all of the Billbergia seedling I have grown, they seem to grow so fast that they all lay over. It could be that my conditions aren't giving enough light or maybe it's the little bit of fertiliser I'm giving to push them along a bit. The leaves have been so long on some that I've had to trim them back by half when re-potting. This doesn't seem to set them back at all and as soon as they are in an area with better light the new leaves just grow normally and these old “baby leaves” just die away as the new leaves take over.

I have found that the Aechmea emmerichiae seedlings I grew are quite variable in foliage colour. That one of yours looks quite nice with the golden coloured leaves. I have a couple like this as well as a couple with more brownish/gold colouring. I don't know where I'm going to put them as I just don't have the space, that's why I gave most of the others away. Hopefully those people who got some of these will get some plants with nice coloured foliage as well.

It's quite possible you may get some variegated plants from any of the seed I sent that has 'Painted Lady' (sport) as one of the parents as this plant is a known “transmitter”.

That's it from me today, Pic's 1 and 2 are Root Mealy Bug.

All the best, Nev.

This message was edited Dec 23, 2012 10:07 PM

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shellharbour, Australia

Here I am back again – to finish what I should have finished earlier.

I often get confused these days but this morning I'm more confused than ever. Before I posted I opened up DG in a new tab to make sure there were no new posts before I posted mine and when there was nothing I hit the "send" button. At the same time the message came up to say someone else had posted......bugger!! ..... I'll bet you can't guess who; yes it was Sue which is what I was expecting and that's why I checked before I sent my post.

What puzzles me is that when I check thedate/ time I sent mine it was December 22, 2012 02:08 PM and when I looked at Sue's it was December 22, 2012 12:48 PM

Now I could understand it if there were only a couple of minutes difference, but almost two hours.... how do you do it Sue?

I was going to ask the question about who the Ebay seller's name was that sold the Black on Yellow Vriesea also, and I think I know.

Sue were the Satsuma seedlings from a crossing you did or were they from wild pollinated seed?

Gotta go – The CEO's getting restless as we're off to a family Christmas BBQ/Party.

All the best. Nev.

north coast nsw, Australia

Theres a seller on ebay with alot of Vriesea hieroglyphica pups for sale if anyone want to buy one.

This message was edited Dec 24, 2012 1:04 AM

Hi all, I am bored and away from home. I have too much time to rest and relax and read. I have checked mu daughters plants and shown her a few problems and how to solve them..She has 1 that reminds me of a cross between a Bil and a nudicaulis. I will eventually get a pic of it on here.I expect to be busy tomorrow with Xmas preparations so that will give me something to do.
Merry Xmas all.

shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone – Santa will be here tonight if you've all been good boys and girls, and if you've been really good he may even bring you a nice brom or some brom growing accessories.

A big "Cherrio" to anyone on the sick list or anyone who just hasn't had the time to post recently and hopefully we'll see more of you all in the New Year.

Ian – It sounds like your already getting bored with your relaxing break. It seems you're like me and need to be doing something all the time. Even yesterday although we had a nice day with family and friends, during the quiet periods after lunch my mind was still wandering back to the garden and thinking how I should prioritise things and what I should do next.

Nice of you to think of us all and mention the Vr. Hieroglyphica pups, I'm sure we all appreciate your thoughtfulness and there will be some who will contact you for further details.

It looks like there's no one to talk to today so to fill up a bit of space I'll fill in with a short article I once wrote for our Bromeliad Society Newsletter.

Neville Wood – 2009

Up until recently I had about six or more Guzmanias in my shade house which I had accumulated over a few years having previously purchased them in flower at markets. I really never saw myself as a Guzmania grower, but thought of them more as a substitute for a bunch of flowers to brighten up the inside of the home. When you consider that a reasonable bunch of flowers costs a minimum of $30 these days, and any I’ve ever bought seldom lasted more than a week; a flowering Guzmania which could be bought for around $20 and often lasted in flower for 2-3 months was a much better financial proposition, don’t you think?

After they had finished flowering and the old inflorescence was removed, they were relegated to an unused corner of the shade-house and allowed to just do “their own thing”, as I really didn’t have much interest in them as a plant. They were never fed and only watered when I watered the other brom’s. They continued to grow and occasionally would put up a pretty ordinary looking inflorescence which was never anywhere near as spectacular as the one on the original plant had been. I simply put this down to a couple of things, either I just couldn’t grow them or my conditions didn’t suit them or maybe it was a combination of both.

A couple of years back I read an article in (I think) a back issue of a BSI journal. It was by a Guzmania grower in the US and gave details of his methods of culture and included a picture of him standing up to his waist in the centre of a group of beautiful flowering Guzmanias.  These beautiful plants were the best looking Guzmanias I had ever seen with their healthy green leaves and beautiful large inflorescences. What he said was basically, never let them dry out completely, grow them in lower light to Neo's, Aechmeas etc, give them a warm environment with good air circulation, and the bit that really caught my attention, FEED THEM AS OFTEN AS YOU FEED YOURSELF! This man only grew Guzmanias and was known by local growers as somewhat of an expert with a nickname of "Mr. Guzmania".

Until I read that article I treated my few Guzmanias in a similar manner to my Neo's. The plants never really looked "happy" and I only ever got the occasional inflorescence of average quality. My success was such that I threatened to toss the plants out if they didn't perform better the following year. The plants were moved to another area on the southern, shadier side of our house beneath 75% green shade cloth. This area is in a higher part of the yard and is protected from winds by the house on the north side and re-cycled charcoal coloured Laser Light on the walls of the other three sides. Because it is so protected from the elements and is a bit higher than their previous location it also appears to be slightly warmer in the cold weather.

After being moved to their new location, all were re-potted using a mix of six parts of Brunnings Cymbidium Orchid Mix to one part of fine Coco Peat. During re-potting when the pot was about 3/4 full of mix, I added Osmocote at the rate of 1 level teaspoon to a 5" pot, plus some Blood and Bone at the same rate, making sure the fertilizers didn’t directly contact any part of the plants. Sufficient mix was then added to come up almost to the top of the pot and they were then thoroughly watered until the water flowed from the bottom of the pot.

I foliar fed these plants each two weeks, alternating between Manutec and Phostrogen right throughout the whole year along with a monthly application of Seasol. The results were amazing; the plants picked up and grew beautifully and this year I had a better show of flowers than I could have ever imagined. There's only two things which could have caused such a dramatic improvement; and that was the new location with extra fertilizer or the threat to "bin them" if they didn't perform better. As I don't think the Guzmanias heard the threat “to bin them”, I think it had to be the change of location and the increase in feeding.

I'll finish with a nice pic of some Guzmanias which was taken in the Noong Nooch Tropical Botanical Gardens in Thailand by my “Brom Friend” Chanin Thurot.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all, Nev.

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Coffs Harbour, Australia

Good morning. one more sleep.
Nev, do you have the time set right on your DG profile, because I post around 6-7am each morning, so your 12.48pm seems very strange indeed.
Root mealy bug is quite common, and I have found it from time to time. Its always a good idea to check each new plant you buy, by tipping it out of the pot and looking for the same symptoms as in Nevs photo. I use a bucket of Malathion, made up to the directions on the label (wear chemical gloves and a mask) and dunk the whole pot in for a few hours. Then allow to drain. I then take the plant out of the pot and allow the soil and roots to dry out. Toss the pot! better safe than sorry. When washing recycled pots from an unknown source, have a bucket of water and bleach handy and dunk the pots for a few minutes after washing. Thank goodness Mealy bug doesn't occur that often, becuase its a pain having to use Chemicals.
Nev, the N. 'Satsuma' seedlings were a wild cross. I did try crossing with N. 'Perfecta' but lost track of the pods, and almost all had set seed, so pretty sure it was a selfer.
Thanks for the article on Guzmanias. There hasn't been alot to read from yesterday. I refreshed my page this morning, and there was your post, so you beat me to it.
Bree, is that seller on Ebay? Will have to go see what prices they have
Poor Ian, having a hard time relaxing without anything to do. I get that way too, and get bored very easily if I am not busy. Enjoy yourself today and tomorrow.
I watered everything yesterdy also, Nev, as the storms and thunder just keep coming and going,daily, with no rain. Boy has it been humid!
photo one is a baby frog in the pond
Photo two is the same frog, on my finger so you can see how tiny it is.
Photo three is an adult frog of the same species, and is the usual size (dwarf eastern tree frog)
Photo four is Billbergia 'Fred gerber' coming into flower
Photo five is V. ospinae leaning against a tree trunk. Its in a 150mm pot and has stacks of pups.

Well, I'm off to do a small garden job this morning, so fingers crossed the traffic is light and the humidity low.

Thumbnail by weed_woman Thumbnail by weed_woman Thumbnail by weed_woman Thumbnail by weed_woman Thumbnail by weed_woman
Townsville, Australia

Hi Everyone!

Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas and Happy and prosperous New Year for 2013! What a year it’s been when you reflect on all that’s happened over the year.

Well Santa came early and granted our wishes for some rain and it rained most of the day and night yesterday and we woke up this morning to more beautiful rain and it’s now midday and it’s still raining. The frogs are singing non-stop and I went for a walk in the garden this morning and little green frogs (like the pics that Sue posted yesterday) are hopping around everywhere and I had them jumping on my legs like they were hitching a ride around the garden (like TAXI) lol, even the Girls had them on their backs and I had to take a couple off them before they came back through the doggy door to come back inside (too cute). Anyway the weather man said it should be find tomorrow with no rain and I am disappointed really to hear this as I’m luving this rain.

Hi Shirley thanks so very pleased that I have Christmas off as it has been really nice having time to do the things you never have time to do normally, like the bigger jobs that consume your entire weekend and that are exhausting to do. The house is sparkling clean which really pleases me, now I just need to keep it that way with all the visitors.

Shirley by all means it would be better to plant your Gingers in a semi-shady spot, mine get morning sun and then after that they are in semi-shade for the rest of the day. You can also keep then in pots but they need to be very large pots and make sure the potting mix does not dry out and keep them well fed. I prefer them in the garden because I can mulch them heavily and feed them on a regular basis and they have room to grow properly.

Shirley thanks for your info regarding postage, I will definitely keep this in mind. I appreciate you also putting my name down for that cute ‘Little Black’ Neo of yours its so lovely.

Shirley in response to a couple of your questions, the Neo directly behind Neo ‘De Rolf’ in my Pic 1 posted on 22/12 is Neo ‘Painted Lady x Concentrica, she is a medium grower and I have her normally under 70% shade cloth. Pic 3 Right to the centre is Neo ‘Margaret’; she is gorgeous and grows beautiful long leaves. The lovely pale Neo in Pic 5 is Neo ‘Rose Blush’. Yes by all means I will write you down for a pup of Neo ‘Margaret’ and Neo ‘Rose Blush’.

Shirley the Neo pics you posted on 22/12 of Neo Purple Cloud?, and Neo Hatsumi? They are both gorgeous. Hatsumi reminds me of Neo ‘Red River’?

Hi Sue in relation to Vr. ‘Yellow on Black’ no worries I will check my brom data base and see if I noted the sellers details as I could not find in my EBay history as we must have deleted and I will let you know. I don’t know if it will be in my brom data base though because the first one I had created was lost when our hard drive crashed along with my Vanda pictures (sad face), but since then I created a new brom data base so hopefully the info will be there?

Sue we would luv to see a pic of your orchid Epidendrum fragrans when it flowers.

Sue really liked all the pics you posted of all your broms not planted in rows (lol) mind you I also like it when you do plant in rows because you certainly have the room and enough of the same types of broms to do so. Maybe one day I will plant in rows, but for now a lot of mine are only mostly one of everything so I have no choice but to mix them up lol. I have a friend who has an English style garden and she plants in rows, her garden is not that big but never the less her garden looks beautiful. I especially liked your Pic 2 of Neo ‘Furnace’, really pretty large mini that really stand out in your garden.

Hi Nev thanks for the additional info regarding postage when it comes to parcels, really appreciate the advice and the link you provided.

Nev in answer to your question about Pic 1 I posted on 22/12, the brom is called Neo ‘Hula Girl’, and she is so full of colour, one of my many favourites.

Nev I will check and get back to you and Sue regarding who the seller was for Vr. Yellow on Black and see if you and I come up with the same sellers name Nev. Liz seems to ring a bell for me but I will have to check to be sure.

Nev thanks for sharing that great article you wrote on Guzmanias I found your article a very interesting read, I only have a couple of Guzmanias in the nursery and they get fed when Joe feeds the Orchids and they seem to luv that so it makes perfect sense what you say, and Joe alternates the fertiliser he gives his Orchids so they get a mixture on a fortnightly basis and thrive well from this.

Hi Bree what have you been up too? Thanks for letting us know about King of the Vr. Pups for sale on EBay, I have a few of these already but you can never have enough of them as they are gorgeous. Sooner or later though we all run out of room and have to be selective on how many we keep of everything including the same things.

Anyway you probably will not hear from me for the next couple of days with all the festivities. Today I am cooking again more ducks (back by popular demand), I have 3 x in the oven at the moment cooking and the smell is divine and our mouths are watering lol.

We just had the kids next door bring us over presents which was lovely and luckily Joe prepared many boxes of treats for all the kids who will be here for Xmas, but he also made extra boxes which came in handy so we gave them one each and their faces lit up like mini Xmas trees lol which really warmed our hearts. It’s all about the kids this time of year.

Hi to anyone else looking in and anyone on the Sick List, we miss hearing from you all.

Take care and Happy Gardening Everyone! Look forward to speaking with you all real soon!


Pic 1, 2, 3 & 4 More random Pics from the garden. Pic 5 Neo 'De Rolf' that is getting bigger - see my feet:

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Merino, Australia

A very Happy Christmas and a happy and safe New Year to everyone...

I hope next year to post a bit more so you can all discourage my gathering of too many

north coast nsw, Australia

sue- yes on ebay, woops sorry i forgot to mention that, i went back and fixed that. I bought a larger size one that was on there but might not be anymore of that size left now, alot of smaller ones though and there not to expensive.
I also bought a Vriesea Gigantea Seideliana Nova and another Pimiento but i wont get them until after the new year.
Santa comes tonight!
Decora mum and pup.

This message was edited Dec 24, 2012 1:24 AM

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Brisbane, Australia

Merry Christmas to everyone. Hope you and your families have a relaxing and enjoyable day and Santa brings some brommy goodies for your stockings. Catch up soon. Jen

Brisbane, Australia

Hi everyone, gee I missed one night and I have so much catching up to do tonight.

Wendy, sorry to hear that Max is not well again and also that you lost so many of your billbergia seedlings. When I checked my vriesea seedlings today (tiny little things that they are) there seemed to be fewer of them than there were a couple of days ago. The neo seedlings are coming along really well though. Can’t wait for them to get to that ‘magic age’ you mention when they take off. I love the colour of your ae emmerichiae. Cute chickens too.

Sue, sounds like you are all ready for Xmas. I was surprised to read you are dead heading your agapanthus as mine are only just beginning to bloom. Your neo furnace is lovely, such vibrant colour. Gee, I wish my vr Ospinae looked like yours.

Nev, I have my vr Ospinae in the shade house under 70% shadecloth and I have had it sitting in a saucer of water for the past couple of weeks. I have added your name to the list for pups from neos Hatsumi and Purple Cloud, both are in flower. Hope you enjoyed your family Christmas party.

I found your article on guzmanias very interesting, I might have to ramp up the fertilizing with mine. I will add a couple of pics of a guzmania I purchased back in June. I don’t have a name for it but it is a large plant with a large flower. First pic was taken in June, the second in September, unfortunately I haven’t taken one recently but the flower is still hanging on, not looking as good now (6 months later) but still quite pretty. It’s a lovely plant, from memory I paid $8.00 for it at the market.

Trish, glad to hear you got some rain and sounds like lots of it. Thanks for adding my name to your ‘pup’ list for neos Margaret and Rose Blush, such lovely broms. Any your neo de Rolf is stunning too.

Jean, it will be good to hear more from you next year but I don’t think anyone here is going to discourage your brom collecting … it’s such an enjoyable addiction.

Hi also to Bree, Ian and Jen and anyone else looking in from time to time.

I hope everyone has a very merry and a safe Christmas.

Bye for now, Shirley

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shellharbour, Australia

Hi to anyone who's watching in this morning – it's still early so I thought I'd just write a few lines before the family festivities of the day commence.

I was fortunate enough to get an early Christmas present last night. It started about 5.00 pm with distant rumblings of thunder which increased in intensity until we were having a good “old fashioned” thunder storm of the kind I remember as a child. As the rain started the thunder and lightening slowly abated but the good heavy rain continued through most of the night. All I can say is I hope Santa Claus remembered to bring a rain coat and umbrella.

Sue – The times I quoted in my previous post were the times shown on the left of the screen where my name appears which I think are American times anyway. What I was questioning was that we both usually post around 7.00am but that particular post showed times two hours apart. You ask, “do you have the time set right on your DG profile”, I've never set that time, in fact I didn't know I was supposed to, nor do I know how. I think that particular post was maybe a “one off” because yesterday the times shown were 11.49am and 12.08pm, which were a bit closer to the mark.

Thanks for adding your knowledge to the few lines I wrote about Root Mealy Bug as it was a subject I haven't had a lot of practical experience with having only seen it twice on some plants I bought in (both from the same grower).

I like your little frogs, I have some sort in my Frog Pond down the back but I don't know what sort they are as I've never seen them. They just make a rather dull noise which couldn't be considered as a “croak”, but they were all singing in unison this morning after the rain had stopped.

I like the dark foliage on your Bill. 'Fred Gerber' it really contrasts nicely with the bright red bracts, and the pic of your nice big plant of Vr. Ospinae shows that it grows well in good light as well as low light.

Trish – It's good to hear you've had some good rain at last which obviously your frogs liked as much as you did. Doesn't everything look great after being freshened up with some rain, far better than after just a normal water with a hose, it must be the “magic” in the rain that does it.

I have to agree with what you say about Christmas “being all about kids”, I think seeing the happy smile on the face of a child when they open a present, is in itself a Christmas present for us adults.

Jean – You say, “so you can all discourage my gathering of too many broms”, I really think you are what's known as a “Closet Brom Addict” i.e. one who keeps saying they don't want any more brom's yet won't admit they are really hooked by these great plants and really would like more' anyway, we look forward to hearing from you more during the new year.

Breeindy – Thanks for the Christmas wishes. I like the colours in your Neo.'Decora' (mum) so subtle; I have a plant in the front garden which was from one of my first ever crosses which is a similar colour but unfortunately nothing in the shape department.

Jen – Thanks for the Christmas wishes and I'm sure we all look forward to hearing more from you in the New Year.

Shirley – Regarding your plant of Vr Ospinae, I think it's time to take it out of the saucer of water and knock it out of the pot and inspect what's going on below the surface of the potting mix. I would then re-pot it in some fresh potting mix and see what happens then. It sounds like there's something going on that it doesn't like and as they say, “a change is as good as a holiday”.

As for standing these plants in a saucer of water, well that was a tip from Jack Koning (for those who don't know of him, he's an expert in the Vriesea area). It's a tip which I found worked well for me, but then as I've said many times previously, everyone's conditions are different and what works for me won't necessarily work for you.

I love the brilliant colours in your Guzmania; do you know the name of it or is it another of the many thousands of “commercial hybrids” that are being sold around the country with just a generic name tag stating that it's a “Bromeliad”.

I'll finish with a few random pic's this morning, nothing new as I haven't taken any new ones yet. Pic 1 is of a little Neo Strawberry cup just to show these plants will grow OK when mounted on a piece of bush timber. Pic.2 is the beautiful albiet slow growing Ae Fasciata Purpurea Pic.3 is what happens when you don't keep your garden brom's thinned out and they get away from you and Pic's 4 and 5 are of the pup growing area in my shade house.

All the best, Nev.

This message was edited Dec 24, 2012 9:02 PM

Thumbnail by splinter1804 Thumbnail by splinter1804 Thumbnail by splinter1804 Thumbnail by splinter1804 Thumbnail by splinter1804
barmera, Australia

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope everyone has a wonderful day. Colleen

Coffs Harbour, Australia

Merry Xmas everyone. Thats it from me today, but I will be back tomorrow! Have a good day all.

Merry Christmas to you all.
Have a good one
Pic 1 a banded unknown Ae
Pic 2 Class C17 loco as a blast fom the past

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shellharbour, Australia

Hi All – I trust you all had a nice Christmas with family and friends and that Santa was very kind to you all. At long last Santa has finally got the message and all (except) one of my presents were Bunnings vouchers so I can now move ahead with some of these renovations that have been on the planning drawing board for a while.

Colleen – Thanks for the Christmas wishes and I hope you and the boys had a great day and Santa brought you lots of presents.

Sue – Thanks for your Xmas wishes also and I'm gong all out to post before you today.

Ian – I would have been very interested to see the pic's you posted yesterday, however D.G. must have stolen them as they didn't reach this far

Seeing there is no one here to talk to this morning I'll see what I can dig up out of old files to post.

Neville Wood - 2009
Firstly what is an “urn” type of bromeliad? Loosely speaking it is any brom whose leaves form a sort of a “vase” or “urn” which can hold water. Plants such as Aechmeas, Neoregelias, Nidulariums and Vrieseas being good examples which are commonly grown by us all.
When we acquire our first “urn” type bromeliad it is usually already potted up and may or may not be in flower, and like all other plants we need to find out a little about its basic requirements. I have on various occasions overheard various descriptions of the cultural requirements for these plants, often at the markets from the sellers or from other establishments and more often than not the advice given is mostly incorrect.
One of the most common mistakes that the new grower is told is to stand the plant in a saucer of water so it doesn’t need to be watered too often and just make sure that the centre has water in it at all time. Consequently after a few weeks the plant begins to look sick ** and gradually deteriorates to the stage where it’s almost dead. At this stage the new grower will sometimes seek advice from someone who grows these plants. This all usually leads to the plant being taken out of the pot only to reveal it has been growing in nothing more than a pot of mix the bottom half of which is mud; in other words the mix was “water-logged” and has “wet feet”.
To prevent this from happening, I would suggest to all new growers to start with the basics;   Understand the basic requirements of the particular plant genus you want to grow. The basic requirements of the plant can easily be worked out firstly from how similar plants grow in their natural habitat. This is usually on trees, on rocks or on the ground. The one common denominator here is in the fact that no matter which form of growth these plants take, they all have good drainage.
The other fact worth noting is that “in habitat” these plants always have adequate space between them allowing for good air circulation, if they do become crowded for some reason, the weakest plants die which then creates growing room for the strong ones, i.e. the survival of the fittest.
Likewise the plants growing on rocks and on trees have constant access to good air circulation which is necessary to prevent attack by various types of fungus which cause rot.
So based on this we can gather that the two main basic requirements of these plants if they are in a pots, are firstly a free draining mix and secondly, adequate space between plants to allow for good air movement.
Next we have to look at watering and again we can be guided by what happens in their natural habitat. First we need to realise that plants in the wild are mainly reliant on rain and dew for their moisture requirements. The infrequent amounts of moisture coupled with the free drainage and good air movement certainly doesn’t allow for any plant to become waterlogged and the only way they could get an abundance of water is due to excessive prolonged rain which will accumulate in the vases of the urn type plants.
Even in these cases, nature has an inbuilt safety mechanism whereby when the excessive amount of water becomes just too heavy, it causes the plant to either tip over causing it to empty, or in extreme cases the sheer weight will pull its roots from whatever it is attached to.
Whatever the cause, the plant will not be waterlogged. Bearing all of this in mind the message here is that these plants don’t like to be overwatered and it’s a generally accepted fact that many more plants are lost from overwatering than under watering.
Now to just recap on what we have established already:
Brom’s don’t like to be waterlogged................................Free draining mix
Brom’s must have good drainage ...................................Free draining mix
Brom’s must have adequate space to grow
Brom’s need good air circulation, plant and roots ..........Free draining mix
Now what about fertilizer? Again what happens in nature?
When these urn shaped plants are growing naturally, they are exposed to debris and leaf litter falling into the vase as well as the occasional bird, frog or small animal droppings. This mixes with the water already in the vase and makes (for want of a better description) a “soup”, this mixture then starts to rot and break down all of the components and ultimately it becomes a weak liquid fertilizer which as the urn receives more water, becomes more diluted.
This is a continuing cycle and consequently the plant is continually getting minute quantities of dilute fertilizer and it’s probably from this very fact that the old nurseryman’s adage to “fertilize plants little and often” was born.
The following is a summary of the basic needs required to grow urn shaped brom’s in a domestic environment based on what occurs in nature:
1.      They need a free draining potting mix to afford good drainage and air circulation around the roots; they don’t like overcrowding so they need adequate space to grow and they also only need a minimum of water.
2.      In my case where I am one street back from the ocean and my climate could be classed loosely as a “maritime climate”. I only water once every two weeks in the summer and monthly in the winter. The exception being on very hot days where I give plants a light misting in the late afternoon.
3.      As far as nutrition goes they need the fertilizer in a very dilute form and fed regularly, and if the instructions say mix 1 teaspoon of fertilizer per litre of water and apply monthly, you would be better off mixing ¼ Teaspoon per litre and feeding weekly.
These are good safe principles from which to start your journey of growing urn type bromeliads.

** The exception to this is Vriesea 'Ospinae' which often grows better when standing in a saucer of water.

Now to find a few pic's Pic.1 is Neo. 'Fairy Dust', Pic.2 is Neo. 'Camelot', Pic.3 is Neo. 'Carolinae' x 'Concentrica', Pic. 4 is Neo. 'Phyllis O.T.' and Pic.5 is Neo. 'Burgundy Moss'

All the best Nev. 

Thumbnail by splinter1804 Thumbnail by splinter1804 Thumbnail by splinter1804 Thumbnail by splinter1804 Thumbnail by splinter1804
Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Merry Christmas (belated to you all)

Woo Hoo ~ thank you for that wonderful Christmas present Nev! Your articles are always a wealth of information to a novice like myself. I wanted to tell you it is often appreciated.

Still following everyones posts and photos and enjoy it a lot, even when I don't have anything to offer. Looking forward to staying with you through the new year ahead.

1 ~ blooms beginning on the Cryptbergia Red Burst
2 ~ Aechmea nudicaulis var. rubra
3 ~ is a two for Aechmea Black chantinii & Aechmea recurvata var. benrathii both sharing the same home.

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Brisbane, Australia

Good morning everyone. Hope you had a relaxing Christmas Day and didn't eat too much. Like you Nev, I scored a Bunnings voucher from Santa and can't wait to restock my potting supplies. We even got a bit of rain last night so the broms are looking pretty fresh and happy this morning. Great to hear from you, Podster. It's lovely when brom friends from other parts of the world drop in.
Nev I love your photos, especially Fairy Dust and Burgandy Moss. Perhaps we could arrange a swap sometime. I enjoyed your article about 'Back to Basics'. It's always good to be reminded of growing tips and reassuring to know you're doing some things right. You write very clearly and logically. Great skill to have.
Ian, congratulations on becoming a grandad.Hope you're getting enough sleep and finding things to keep you busy. I'm still waiting for your promised photos. Shirley, that's a beautiful Guzmania. Have to agree with you about Vr. ospinae. Mine always looks skinny and half dead so have stuck it in a corner and ignored it. They look great in a clump so maybe I'd better get it out and make a bit more of an effort. Hope you got a bit of rain too.
Bree, I like the tonings in purple Neos. Very pretty. I f you like Vr seideliana Nova, Wendy gave me some seed of Pink Nova so we both have at least 100 seedlings. Perhaps when they get a bit bigger you might be interested in some.
Trish, hope you and hubby are enjoying your well-earned break. Your broms always look so big and healthy. What do you feed them with? You've obviously created a position that they just love.
Very cute baby frog Sue. Bet your garden is enjoying all the rain. Leisa's Garden is looking very lush and colourful. You are right about Wittrockia superba. It gets quite big and I bought it from Peter last trip.
Wendy, sounds like you've been very busy cooking gingerbread houses. Hope you kept me a bit. Also hope Max is still okay. Is it time for our brom crawl yet? Look forward to seeing your new shadecloth.
Hello to Jean and Colleen.
Have been playing with my Vrieseas this morning so the photos are ones I got from Richard Harper as seedlings. They're starting to show some nice colour as they mature. Catch you soon, Jen

1. Ubeaut x Illusion 2. Milky Way F2 3. Uluru Sunset x Fantasy 4. fenestralis x Speckles 5. platynema variegata x Milky Way.

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Brisbane, Australia

Hi all, we had a beautiful, clear sunny day here yesterday and then rain overnight to top it off perfectly. Another nice day here again today.

Nev, I don’t know the name of the guzmania in my pics of 25 Dec as I purchased it unnamed at the market. I took another photo of it today, the flower now more than 6 months old and still looking pretty good. Just love your neo Fairy Dust … so pretty and also your neo Burgundy Moss. Could you put me down for a pup from both of these please, if and when you have spares. Your neo Camelot is so different to mine … maybe we could trade Camelot pups sometime too.

Kristi, good to hear from you … nice pics.

Jen, we had a lovely Xmas day but hardly relaxing and it feels like we haven’t stopped eating since Xmas eve. We had a post Xmas lunch today with neighbours so still overindulging. I am hoping things start to return to normal tomorrow ... till we celebrate the New year anyway.

Love the vrieseas in your pics Jen, all of them, but I think Vr Milky Way F2 takes first prize.

Pic 1 is my unnamed guzmania which has been in bloom for more than 6 months, pic 2 is a little snake taking a nap, curled up in the security screen (on the outside) of one of our dining room windows tonight

Bye for now, Shirley

This message was edited Dec 26, 2012 10:59 PM

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Merry Christmas everyone belatedly. WHat a hectic few days hence the no show on here. we had the girls for 2 days so mum and dad could build the santa presents. We took them down to the shopping centre to see santa. I accidentally let slip to Emily that Pa went to school with that Santa. As soon as it came out I could have bitten my tongue off but Emily came back with "did Pa go to Santa school?" Anyway Santa was very quick and said that he was a boy once too and went to school so yes he did go to school with Pa but Pa failed and they picked him to be Santa when he was all grown up. He jockingly told Pa to sit on his knee as Rylee wasn't keen to sit there. So we got a pic of Pa on Santa's knee and Rylee on Pa's knee. Anyway the shops were far too busy for us then so we came home. The girls were picked up from here about 3.30 on Christmas eve to go to nanna and poppies house at Dayboro where they were sleeping the night. As soon as the girls were gone we had to race to the shops to grab our food stuff for Christmas day. Then we had to go next door for Christmas drinks with a few of our neighbours. I came home about 7pm to do the cooking then fell into bed. So CHristmas morning I had to do all those things I didn't get around to doing the day before. house to be cleaned, tables to be set up, even a couple of presents to be wrapped and food to be cut up. As soon as the kids left after lunch we had to rush out to Johnny's sisters to catch up with them for drinks. Got home about 7.30 and sat with a cuppa and a few leftovers and promptly fell asleep in the chair so I was in bed way before 9pm. Needed that sleep that's for sure.

I've just been reading up on about 4 or 5 days of posts. can't possibly remember all the things I was going to comment on so I'll reread and respond to a few as I go.

Shirley I love that pink guzmania. I think to have lasted 6 months it has to be a species as they do last longer than hybrids. when you get a spare pup I'd love to swap you something. Johnny has repotted all his (note they are now his not mine) guzmanias into a more soil type mix than brom mix after learning they prefer this. he is also feeding regularly and foliar spraying regularly so hopefully we will get bigger and healthier plants with larger infloresences. thanks for the info on them Nev. I will certainly print that out for Johnny and his sister who is now into broms.

Jen your vriseas are colouring up very nicely and I'm sure you have some we didn't get from Richard and vise versa. lucky you having today in your broms. We had another do to go to so only had a little time this morning potting up seedlings before my sister and her husband popped in for a cuppa and chat then Darren and Hayden called round. I showed Hayden a couple of WII games I got for him so we had to connect that up for him to have a go then it was time to get ready to go out. Again it was around 7pm when we got home. luckily I had that sleep last night so was able to stay awake long enough to get onto the computer. LOL

Nev I love that neo fairy dust. and Sue those satsuma seedlings look interesting. I'll have to look for some seed on those and give it a try. Emily discovered some very purple berries on the leudemaniana rubra so we had to collect it and squeeze it into our strainer and wash it. Half has been potted and I'll do another container in a few months. I'm looking forward to the orlandiana and leudemaniana seedlings maturing. I think I should get some good stuff from them. I also collected seed on a quesnelia lieboniana down the back. There were 4 very red pods which fell away when I touched them so knew they were ripe. other pods were all just orange so they are stil on the plant. I checked the lieboniana down among the billbergias and it still only had the one red pod which must be the one I crossed with the billbergia so I now have that also planted out beside the straight quesnelia from down the back (I assume it is straight but could be crossed by nature).

Time for bed I think. I'll reread tomorrow night and respond to a few others. I'll add a few random pics from Christmas for you all to enjoy.
Pic 1 is of course pa and the girls with Santa
Pic 2 is Emily with her gingerbread house but what you can't see is the other side with no decorations as Emily ate too much of the icing straight out of the piping bags so we had to dash to the shops next morning to buy more decorations and pic 3 is the updated version with freckles filling in the gaps. NOTE TO SELF: next time decorate gingerbread pieces before assembling the house as we spent more time holding bits on while icing set otherwise they just slid straight off. lucky we had Emily, Hayden and me to hold different bits while they set.
Pic 4 is Rylee hamming it up with a santa hat on Christmas eve
Pic 5 is Rylee with a new fairy dress we gave her and she just had to put on straight away and the horsey we gave her. just a horse head on a stick with wheels but she loved it as she could squeeze it's ear and it made noises while she rode it.

Anyway my bed is calling me and it's already after 12.30. I'll post as soon as the pics load up.

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shellharbour, Australia

Hi everyone – Well we had a nice fine (although cool) day yesterday not at all like we usually get at this time of the year. Maybe the fact that the world didn't end has thrown all of the seasons out of “whack”.

Podster – Great to hear from you again, how's thing going over in that part of the world? A bit cooler than here I expect. I'm pleased you found the little article interesting, I re-hash that one every few years in our brom. society news letter as we have new members joining all of the time and although it's all “old news” to most of us, we should never forget there are always new growers just starting out who find these little snippets of info helpful to them. I have never professed to have any literary talent and just try to pass on these little bits of info in simple language without all the “technical stuff” that new growers sometimes find a bit of a “turn off”.

I like the picture of your little xCryptbergia 'Red Burst' and I seem to remember it has a green flower with unusual blue margins on the petals. Could you please post another pic when the flowers open?

Your Aechmea Black chantinii & Aechmea recurvata var. benrathii in the same pot could produce some interesting seed if they both flower at the same time and either you, birds or ants decide to pollinate them. Anyway, don't make this visit a “one off”, drop in a bit more often than you have been as its always nice to hear from you.

Jen - Good to hear you got some rain also; it seems like Santa threw a bit around as he made his rounds.

This is the first flowering of Neo 'Fairy Dust' and Neo 'Burgundy Moss', so hopefully some pups won't be too far away, so I'll put your name on the labels for one of each, and when I get some spare I'll let you know, if you're still interested, well and good and if not, it doesn't matter as I won't have any trouble getting rid of them as they are pretty new down here.

It seems you are getting a pretty “classy” collection of patterned leaf Vrieseas together; do I detect a bit of Vriesea “hybridising” in the not too distant future? I liked the range of colours in them all and it's interesting how the coloured leaf tips of Vr. Platynema variegata have been passed on to it's babies. I think Pic.1 gets my vote for colour though and Pic.2 definitely gets my vote for shape. What do you think about Vr. Milky Way F2 x (Vr. Ubeaut x Illusion)?They could produce some interesting seedlings.

Shirley – Yes I'll put you down for one of each of those pups although you may have a bit of a wait as I always keep a spare fr myself and then Jen has already ordered one of each as well. As for Camelot, well I find it's one of those brom's that can change a little from year to year depending on where it is grown. I have two plants which originally came from the same mother plant and they are totally different.

What sort of snake is that on your fly screen? It seems to have a python shaped head, although I'm certainly no snake expert; however I hope it's non-venomous.

Wendy – I hope you have better luck with your Lueddemanniana seedlings than I did a few years back. I planted some seed from Lueddemannina c.v. Mend Inverta and being just new to all this, I thought I would grow some more of the same. Well I've never seen seed grow so quickly and soon I had them in three inch pots and six months later, into four inch pots. It was the year we had the bad “New Years Day Heatwave” down here and the garden was “cooked” and I was looking over the brom's in the shade houses to see if there was any damage. It was then I saw a touch of bright red on one of the leaves of these seedlings. As I watched them all closely over the next few days I found about six or more plants with the centre leaves starting to colour a nice bright red. By this time I had read up on the Lueddemanniana c.v's and was quite convinced I had bred a few nice seedlings similar to Ae. 'Rodco'. Gradually the leaves got brighter and brighter and I felt prouder and prouder and then the bomb dropped! I was wiping a cobweb off one of these leaves in preparation to take some pic's and the centre of the plant pulled out. The unmistakable stink that came from that plant could only mean one thing, ROT. I went through all of these red leaved plants and everyone was rotting. I was one very disappointed brom grower I can tell you. After the initial shock I realised what had happened was that these plants were all hanging on a sheet of wire mesh and the ones with red leaves were the highest. It seems the water in the centre had got so hot due to the heatwave that they had simply “cooked”!

That's it for today and the pic's today are Pic.1 is 3” pot size Ae. Lueddemanniana seedlings; Pic's 2 and 3 show the brilliant red coloured leaves which unfortunately were an indication of rot.

In a previous post you mentioned some tiny seedlings in which you thought you could see some variegation; Pic's 4 and 5 show the Neo Painted Lady (sport) which was used as a parent and which has transmitted variegation in past crosses.

All the best, Nev.

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north coast nsw, Australia

1. heres the Blanchie Sue swapped me in its new pot. 2. Johannis De Rolf is yellower in brighter light. Not as nice.
3. Splendens i also got from Sue. Love them both! thanks again Sue!
4. Luna 5. look at the stripes on it.

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Coffs Harbour, Australia

Good morning all. I had a couple of days off to relax with friends and eat, eat, eat!
The weather on Xmas day was great, overcast and cool all afternoon. Then we got some rain (32mm) on Tuesday night, which is very welcome. Of course, now its as humid as, and I've just got back from an hours gardening in town with the sweat running off me! Whew! I have no plans for the day, so might get out and sort some more plants.
Shirley, I wonder if your Guzmania isn't G. 'Neon', G. 'Etude' or G. 'Voila' ? (spelling Not viola) I have G. 'Hilde' which is a hybrid, and lasts for more than six months in colour too. Aren't they good value?
Nev, that was a good article on growing tank broms. You needn't have raced to beat me, as I wasn't there, although I did look in to see if anyone had posted, and when I had, it was just Ian.
Ian, I second Jens sentiments, and hope you are keeping busy and getting some sleep.
Jen, your Vrieseas are colouring up well. Mine are just running out of fertiliser, which is making the colours come out, but the whole bench was upended in some strong wind awhile back, and all the leaves are damaged, so no photos, and probably will have to wait for pups before getting to see good shape again.
Nice to see you here, Kristi. Aechmea 'Chantinii' is one of my favourites! I notice you post in the bromeliad forum from time to time, but I can't access it because I am not a paid subscriber. Is it worth becoming one? Is there much going on in that forum? Mind you, I don't know that I have time for any more.
Bree, I am glad the broms are doing well, and that you are happy with them. I tied the king orchid to a palm trunk at eye level, so when it flowers, it will smack me in the face! heh heh. Epidendrum fragrans is just opening flowers now, so I'll add a pic for you.
Wendy, it sounds like you were very popular over Xmas, and were lucky to get so many drink invites, by the sounds. Not much drinking going on here, although there is New Years to celebrate yet!
Pic one is Aechmea carvalhoi
Pic two is Epidendrum fragrans
Pic three is the centre of N. 'Pride Of Ipswich' and a friend here, on Xmas day, was amazed at 'The garden in the middle'
Pic four is N. smithii
Pic five is Canistropsis bilbergioides variegated
Hello to anyone looking in.

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north coast nsw, Australia

Cant wait to see that Epi with all the flowers open Sue.
1. Break Of Day (thanks Nev). 2. Jewellery Shop pup. 3. Rosella. 4. Nev I think the Aech. Chianti 'Jean' you sent me is getting to much sun. Alot of my trees are growing and im starting to get some shadey areas in my yard so i'll have to move some of the broms that can't handle the sun(which isnt many).
5. Blushing Tiger as it ages in alot of light and flowers... with pup neally the same size.

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