THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETIN
|President||James N. Giridlian||Editorial Secretary||Victoria Padilla|
|Vice President||Charles A. Wiley||Membership Secretary||Jeanne Woodbury|
|Treasurer||Jack M. Roth||Art Editor||Morris Henry Hobbs|
|Board of Directors|
David Barry, Jr.
Nat de Leon
Mulford B. Foster
James N. Giridlian
Morris H. Hobbs
E. H. Palmer
Jack M. Roth
Dr. Russell Seibert
O. E. Van Hyning
Charles A. Wiley
Wilbur G. Wood
Mrs. Adda Abendroth
W. B. Charley
Monsieur Charles Chevalier
Mulford B. Foster
A. B. Graf
E. Rutherford, New Jersey
Charles H. Lankester
Richard Oeser, M. D.
P. Raulino Reitz
Dr. Lyman B. Smith
|Affiliated Societies and their Presidents|
|The Bromeliad Guild, Los Angeles, California||Jack M. Roth|
|Louisiana Bromeliad Society, New Orleans, Louisiana||Mrs. Nell Emery|
|Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society, St. Petersburg, Florida||Mrs. B. E. Roberts|
|South Florida Bromeliad Society, Miami, Florida||Ralph W. Davis|
|Bromeliad Society of New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand||William Rogers|
|Bromeliad Society of Australia, Sydney, Australia||J. S. Martin|
A habit drawing, approximately life size, of Tillandsia ionantha var. scaposa, which I collected in the Guatemala highlands in February of this year. This beautiful variety is quite similar to the species, except that it is almost three times the size, and often shows more than one flower in bloom at a time. The center leaves turn a bright rose at anthesis, while the flowers are blue violet, with yellow stamens. —Morris H. Hobbs.
No article appearing in this bulletin may be reproduced without the permission of the editor.
A WAY OF LIFEHE "offshoot" for this issue is taken from a letter recently received from Werner B. Fisher, of Ocala, Florida, who wrote as follows:
"Have you by any chance considered the subject of bromeliads as a way of life? The thought has occurred to me on several occasions. What I mean is that growing bromeliads to achieve better and "thriftier" specimens can add a new dimension to everyday life. Most of us start out with Billbergias. They bloom easily and swiftly regardless of petting or downright neglect. Soon we have a colony of our first plant—usually a species. We begin to sharpen our powers of observation with the formation of pups. Next we begin to develop patience awaiting for the flower. Then we learn to endure the ephemeral quality of the bloom.
"An Aechmea is usually our next plant because someone tells us the flower lasts better. But some of the plants are sticky, and we must cultivate stoicism on repotting and removing pups. Somewhere along this line, we usually end up with an unidentified plant, and no amount of catalog reading seems to help solve the riddle. We must sharpen our observations and learn a little botany to key the mystery out. Of course, patience and observation do not end with our plants; they extend into everyday living too. A Munsell Color Wheel is an excellent device to make us more perceptive.
"Sooner or later a plant goes into a decline—we must read up on culture and become amateur plant doctors. I have found living with my plants has created an approach of patient questioning. The answers come not so much by logic as by insight.
"Now I no longer wish to pull up the flower in the rock wall (as the poem goes) to examine it. Like the ichthyologist's student who studied a live fish in a glass tank for three months, I am willing to let the answers come when they will. This is my privilege as a hobbyist—unlike the botanist whose set of premises about the world of flora necessitates analysis and dissection and ordering. The analysis, etc., is useful and helps round out my own experience with bromeliads, but it is not and cannot be the ultimate end if I continue to live with my plants and not merely keep them alive."
|J. O. Holmes|
This splendid photograph taken in a Florida garden tells more eloquently than any number of words the beauty of this outstanding Aechmea first discovered by Mulford B. Foster in 1941 in the state of Espirito Santo, Brazil.
RALPH W. DAVISEVERAL YEARS AGO THERE WAS A WRITE-UP entitled New Varieties in the Bromeliaceae" by M. B. Foster which appeared in Vol. III, No. 4, July-August 1953 issue of our Bromeliad Society Bulletin, in which he described Guzmania monostachia var. variegata, saying this was the first record of so unique a thing occurring in Florida. Location, Florida, Collier County in the Big Cypress near Deep Lake. Collected by Prof. Roy Woodbury of the University of Miami in 1952. Of course, Dr. Henry Nehrling mentions this in his manuscripts, published by The American Eagle of Estro, Florida, many, many years previous to this, without location, reported only as in Dade County.
In 1959 I enjoyed the privilege of a quick visit to the "Gloat Corner" of Mulford's greenhouse and along with other Gloat Bromels was our Florida Guzmania monostachia var. variegata. It was nice, and from that time on, I had to collect this gem with my very own grubby hands.
As months went by, this bromeliad popped up in a few collections here in South Dade County. All the information you could get was that it was from the 'Glades. Well, the 'Glades cover just quite a lot of square miles. Deep Lake was a starter.
One hot early summer day in 1961, I made a visit to my old friends, the Frank Muellers, who handle sport model guppies as a business and collect bromels as a hobby, to do a little lying about our pet subject, bromeliads. So help me, there, big as life, was another Guzmania monostachia var. variegata, in poor condition. Now wheels began to turn. More "lies" were told. Plans made. At 4:00 A.M. the next morning we were on the road, out the trail, then to the north and west of Fakahatchee Swamp about ten miles, which should be about due west of Deep Lake perhaps twenty-five miles. We parked the car, got out our swamp gear, checked Frank's compass for our location (Frank got his compass as a prize a few years ago in a box of Cracker Jack), and went in. The skeeters - small ones about the size of frying-sized chickens - were busy - new meat - fat tender old men. After about three hours going in, the skeeters got larger. Now they were the size of Christmas turkeys, only twice as hungry and very ambitious. We had only gotten into Guzmania country, but we had to return to the car another three hours back in self defense. The Cracker Jack compass missed the car a good half-mile. We were all just beat, but good. The old Chevy sure did do a good job of getting us away from the maneaters.
Plans - maps - plane trips over the 'Glades - just plain lying - and more plans for after the hunting season of 61-62. We have a new crop of hunters now who shoot, then look. We didn't want to be one of that - "Oh, he looks so natural" kind. We both still like to see the sun coming up, and the sunsets are beautiful, too. We think we like it much better than having a halo.
At long last the invasion date was set, plans completed, our gear in order, and our weather was the driest on weather records. This was to our advantage because little or no water makes foot travel a lot easier. Our date set the hour: 2:30 a.m. found us up checking the last of our gear and water; everything in order, so we were off.
Eighty-five miles west on Tamiami Trail. At times the visibility was almost nil - fog and smoke - the dry weather was taking its toll in fires. At last, State Road No. 29. We turned north to Deep Lake. Here we left the pavement on a sand road due west; a few miles of this, then, no road. Only swamp-buggies had traveled here. We followed their trail another 4.8 miles to the end of trails and the edge of the big swamp - east side of the Fakahatchee. From here it was on foot.
We checked our map that was made from the air. Yes, this was it. We should fine an east-west tram bed approximately one-half mile due west. Yes, we found our tram, and from here on, the going was ruff. Here indeed was a jungle, spotted with a few of the old original cypress still standing accompanied by a good crop of second growth cypress trees, but at the ground level, I saw acres of bamboo briars with a good crop of what we call locally "tiger bushes." This is a shrub seldom exceeding ten feet in height that bristles with thorns and once you are caught in them, it often takes aid to help you get out. In covering this distance, oftentimes it is necessary to be down on all fours crawling through the game trails for as much as 100 feet because of the thick tangled mass of undergrowth. As we were covering this area, we estimated it as being approximately twenty miles wide and forty miles in length, that is, twenty miles east and west and forty miles north and south, a great expanse of flat typical swamp country that the Florida Seminoles have long ceased to travel. However, at one time, their dugouts were quite at home in this particular area because of the abundance of game. We found panther, bear tracks everywhere. Bob cats, coons and deer were most plentiful. Also, lots of signs of razorback shotes (these are often called wild hogs by ribbon clerks). As an audience, we had many of the "lulu" bird family, various owls, hawks and an old bald eagle in person. The more colorful family was well represented, too: orioles, buntings, warblers, redbirds, wood-peckers, wood ducks, Florida mallards, herons, ibises, curlews.
Four hours from the car, we could see through to open country, and after fifteen minutes more, we were in the bed of the old slough that runs north and south. Guzmania country for sure. A cathedral of all of South Florida's epiphytic plants - a common sight, ferns, orchids and bromeliads growing on the same tree.
We were now on the edge where huge cypress trees, Paurotis and royal palms grow. In the slough were red maple, pop ash, pond apples and cabbage palms, Tillandsia pruinosa and flexuosa, valenzuelana, tenuifolia. Balbisiana, fasciculata, Catopsis berteroniana, nutans along with Guz. monostachia by the millions. This slough, approximately one-half mile wide, and of which we covered only ten miles in twenty-six trips, is the real home of the Guzmania monostachia var. variegata.
From observation of several hundred of the variegated plants, I am sure this variegation is caused by a virus. We combed over thousands and thousands of seedlings of the green variety. Not one single seedling was variegated. All were green as poison. The variegated form was always on the end of a piece of stolen from 12" to 28" long; often the most beautiful variegated plant would sport a big healthy green pup. I am sure that this plant will never come from seed in the variegated form as some people think, and they have not seen a single variegated form growing in the swamp. Distribution by seed is not conclusive.
|"Ole Silent" with the loot|
At one place, we found a lake that was almost dry, only about 150'x300' because of our present terrific drought. Normally, it would have been a very large lake. It was full of big 'gators. Never have I seen any 'gators larger than these, neither in the 'glades nor in captivity. No small ones here. Because of the shortage of food, the small ones had been served for breakfast to the big boys. Very few snakes were present. 'Gators got 'em, we think. There were many signs of deer having served for lunch. On another trip, we found a small 'gator pond about 7 miles north from the big one. On this occasion, we had company with us, a Big Ivy League type of "Gym specimen", from California, who ribboned out on us before 12:00 o'clock - wouldn't even take a picture of the little lizards for Victoria and Thelma. But could he howl. "I'd give $2,000 for a scotch 'n' soda," and only last week, they had closed the bar there.
In all our trips we never did see any panther or bear, only plenty of tracks. We will never know how many saw us. Old ribbon clerks, too tuff for eating. Frank, my old swamp rat buddy, was always looking for a "dear", perhaps a Seminole type. Legend has it this was honeymoon ground for the Seminole braves in its original state. But the second growth since the lumber industry has removed the timber is so ruff and thick I doubt even a Seminole could go into it. So, poor Frank didn't find his "dear".
We had lots of fun, naming the trams into the swamp: Glen Trail, Gang Trail, Doctors' Trail, Ribbon Clerk Trail, Nothing Trail, etc.; all have their stories - like the Doctors' Trail.
One Sunday afternoon the doctors were at RARU for a visit before returning home. After a little lying about the Guz. monostachia var variegata, I said we were going into the Fakahatchee the next morning. I thought I was going with my old buddy, but the doctor says, "I want to go." Well, after lookin' him over - and he is a big guy over 6', I asked, "Doctor, are you in good physical condition?" "Much better than you," he said.
I had heard that story before, but after looking him over again, it was agreed. Then he says his good wife always goes where he goes. Wow! "What are you trying to do, doctor? No woman can make that trip." The good doctor says she can. His wife, a sweet little thing about 5 feet, but husky; "Oh, Lord! Save me from this," I thought.
Well, to make a long story short, we did all go, and I just want to say that the 17 to 19 hours it took us to make the round trip, with a loss of 8 to 10 pounds of weight by Ole Silent, the doctors both made without a whimper. In fact, the good girl wanted to know if we couldn't stay a little longer and come out in the dark. I take my hat off to a sturdy gal.
We did have an infestation here at RARU caused by these trips: chiggers (red bugs to you). After making several of these trips, I would throw my dirty clothes on the floor to dry before day, then take a hot soapy bath, fall into bed just dead. I still have to work for a living, so next a.m., up and at 'em at 6:00 a.m. I came home, this day, just beat. My Ruby, 5'1" all of 100 pounds soaking wet, was hot as a $2 pistol. Man, that woman can jar the ground when she gets hot, and she was hot. Our home was infested with 'Glades chiggers, brought in on me and my clothes. Our living room, 28 feet square, has a spread of water colors of bromeliads. We call it THE HOBBS WALL. The water colors were covered with chiggers. My Ruby had chiggers. Ole Bird, our parakeet was scratching. Good Girl, our black manx cat had chiggers. The house was infested.
"Those swamp trips gotta stop!" she says. And she is THE BOSS, don't you ever forget it. From then on, all 'Glades clothes were left outside.
Our rains have filled the old swamp to its usual depth of water now, so all the land we walked over is 4' to 6' deep in water. Perhaps that is a good reason all the Guzmanias there were high up on trees. None on the ground.
These trips brought back memories of old hunting trips we used to make years ago. Frank said one day, "I'll bet over the years, we have camped on more 'Glades swamps than most ribbon clerks ever collected on from their cars on the road side."
"Why the roadside, Frank?" I asked.
"Man, 500 yards from the road, and they are lost."
Well, everyone can't have a compass that was a Cracker Jack Prize.
— "Old Silent," 15500 N. E. Avenue, No. Miami Beach 62, Florida.
ERVIN J. WURTHMANNROMELIADS HAVE BEEN TRAVELING BY AIR for a long time now, much longer than man. Their most recent journey went into outer space via the ether waves. The engineer pushing the launch button was none other than Mulford B. (for bromeliad) Foster.
Mr. Foster was the featured speaker on the Florida Gardenland program presented by Bert Livingston on F.L.A.-TV (Channel 8) in Tampa, Florida, February 2, 1963. Bert, referred to as "The Cracker Gardener", is garden editor of the Tampa Tribune newspaper.
The setting for the program was arranged like an informal gathering in a living room with bromeliads around. The program began in a conversational manner with Bert Livingston inquiring of Mr. Foster how he first became interested in bromeliads. With that opener bromeliads were indeed in orbit. Further discussion brought out many facets of interest regarding his favorite subject, which was often illustrated by slide pictures of bromeliads in their natural habitat and at Bromel-La, Mr. Foster's ten-acre bromeliad garden. On the display counter was a collection of bromels (Mr. Foster's) ranging from old favorites, viz: Aechmea marmorata, to the very new species, (so new, in fact, it has not been officially named, having only the collection number of Aechmea 464). Then there were fine hybrids which are a product of Mr. Foster's hybridization efforts.
The program enjoyed a wide coverage, W.F.L.A. TV having a large viewing area encompassing 43% of the state of Florida. It made a half hour of wonderful listening and viewing.
Television can be a most effective medium of educating the gardening public in bromeliads, especially when carried on by an excellent moderator and a top authority in his subject. Bromeliad enthusiasts everywhere can sponsor their favorite group of plants through television and can get to more people at one time than by any other means. After all, let's not be selfish about this thing; the bromels won't mind being shared.
When color television attains greater perfection and more popularity, bromeliads can really achieve their hey-day. Let's give them the position in horticulture that they so richly deserve. They have been awaiting their opportunity for a true debut. Television can be the most effective means of bringing this about.
— 5602 Theresa Road. Tampa. Florida
TWO OUTSTANDING BROMELIAD EXHIBITS
|J. G. Milstein|
|Dr. Milstein's Exhibit at the 46th International Flower Show|
UR SINCEREST COMPLIMENTS AND CONGRATULATIONS go to two young men who single-handed and at their own expense staged two outstanding bromeliad exhibits this past spring. Their efforts to put bromeliads before the public put most of us to shame. They are both busy professional men and certainly live up to the old adage that it is the busiest man who has time to spare.
Dr. J. George Milstein, dentist of Brooklyn, New York, presented a display of bromeliads at the International Flower Show held in the New York Coliseum from March 10 through 17. He had a space of 28 x 18 feet which he decorated as a New York apartment and in which he demonstrated all the various ways bromels can be grown. This is what he says:
"The exhibit was called 'Bromeliads—Tomorrow's Houseplants.' It was viewed by about 300,000 people, most of whom had never heard the word—bromeliad. In front of the exhibit was a table at which I sat to answer questions, recruit new members for the society and to sell bromeliad culture pamphlets. These were printed by the New York Horticultural Society and sold for ten cents a copy; almost 1500 copies were sold. About 75 people signed the register signifying interest in The Bromeliad Society. Of course I realize that not all of them will join, but I feel certain that a Greater New York chapter of The Bromeliad Society is a certainty.
"I showed about 150 different species and hybrids, about half of them in full bloom or inflorescence. Thanks to the generosity and efforts of Mulford B. Foster, I had a background display of native wild Tillandsias from Florida. The plants were exhibited on four large tables under Gro-Lux lighting, and on two large bamboo frames on either side (each held twenty plants). This last was to illustrate the epiphytic habit of bromeliads. On the floor, buried in coarse vermiculite were Ananas, Cryptanthus, and other terrestrial plants. One of the features of the exhibit was a huge bromeliad tree with about 25 Billbergias in full spike. The following genera were shown: Acanthostachys, Aechmea, Ananas, Araeococcus, Billbergia, Catopsis, Cryptanthus, Cryptbergia, Dyckia, Fosterella, Gravisia, Guzmania, Hechtia, Neoregelia, Nidularium, Orthophytum, Pitcairnia, Quesnelia, Streptocalyx, Tillandsia, and Vriesea.
"Literally thousands of people asked questions about bromels, and on some of the days I became hoarse from doing so much talking. It was a lot of work but I loved it. On Tuesday, March 12, Dr. Lyman B. Smith came to New York and honored me by spending the day with me and sitting at the table answering questions.
|J. G. Milstein|
|Dr. Milstein raises all of his bromeliads in his living room in the heart of Manhattan, only two blocks from Grand Central Station and about six blocks from Times Square.|
The exhibit was first awarded the ribbon as the most outstanding of the special exhibits. After that, it was awarded a gold medal, and then it received a trophy as the outstanding amateur exhibit. I have already been invited back for next year, but I will not do it on my own—only as a member of the chapter. By the way as a result of my exhibit, all of the commercial stands which showed bromels sold out completely each day. The 56th International Flower Show is the biggest in the nation, and I am extremely proud that I won honors in it."
— 8502 F. Hamilton Pky., Brooklyn 9.
|W. B. Fisher|
|Flower Show in Ocala, Florida|
Werner B. Fisher, of Ocala, Florida, staged his show in his hometown. He writes:
"The Spring Flower Show in Ocala, Florida, included the first public display of bromeliads in their northern growing limits. Our theme stressed diversity of habit. Billbergia meyeri, Dyckia brevifolia and frigida, Orthophytum saxicola, and Cryptanthus bahanius (red phase), acaulis, and a beuckeri hybrid appeared to be growing in a small rockery of native limestone and Mexican river gravel.
"A twisted cedar stump illustrated the now-popular 'stump garden.' The spike of our native Tillandsia utriculata at the top indicated the poster giving general information about bromeliads. A specimen Billbergia amoena var. rubra with a crimson clump of Tillandsia ionantha in full bloom, Aechmea × 'Foster's Favorite,' and a jaunty ball of flowering T. recurvata completed the top grouping. Next Aechmea fulgens, Billbergia vittata, and flowering A. × 'Royal Wine' were tucked into the crevices. At the base were Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor, N. zonata, a Cryptanthus lacerdae hybrid, a fiery-spiked Vriesea splendens, Cryptanthus × 'Racinae', and A. fasciata. A. × 'maginali' was placed behind the stump to add depth.
"To the left two large Aechmeas distichantha var. schumbergeri and a single marmorata formed a transition to the poster with a glowing Cryptanthus fosterianus at the base. C. acaulis (in flower) and C. fosterianus nestled below the poster. A thin layer of our native Spanish moss (T. usneoides) covered the dark green burlap base to represent soil. A stack of invitations to join The Bromeliad Society was conspicuously placed in front of the rockery. At the show's closing only half remained. (We have our fingers crossed!)
"Visitors unhesitatingly identified the display as 'air plants' (especially the Dyckias), 'bro-mell-lads,' 'those orchid-looking things,' or 'good old 'Billbergias.' One elderly soul informed her companion that they were all members of the Century Plant family! Oh, well. The exhibit did fulfill its purpose—to stimulate interest and to gain greater public exposure for bromeliads."
— P. O. Box 567, Ocala, Florida.
MULFORD B. FOSTER
New × Guzvriesea M. B. Foster|
VRIESEA × GUZMANIA
Typus et species unica: × Guzvriesea magnifica (Carr.) spec. hybr. comb. nov. M. B.
Foster Tillandsia zahnii magnifica Carr.
Rev. Hort. 55:62, 1883
× Vriesea magnifica Hort. Makoy ex
Rev. Hort. Belg. 114:186,1888
Vriesea splendens (Brong.) Lem. var. splendens
Guzmania zahnii (Hook. f.) Mez
The inflorescence, reaching nearly three feet in height with a panicle 1½ to 2 feet long, having many dense erecto-patent multifarious branches, was quite spectacular according to M. Carriere, editor of Revue Horticole. The ovate-lanceolate flower bracts were red-yellow and the yellow petals were one third longer than the sepals.
Morren's drawing of this unusual plant is in the British Museum; the photo of the herbarium material, herewith, was taken by Dr. Lyman B. Smith while he was in Liege, Belgium.
— Rt. 2, Box 491, Orlando, Fla.
SOME MISCELLANEOUS NOTESFrom a Sunset Garden
INCE CALIFORNIA NIGHTS are cool even in summer, and downright chilly during the spring and fall, plants are better conditioned for the colder temperatures of winter than those of Florida where there is no gradual hardening off of plants. As my garden is only eight years old, there are few trees large enough to create a shade garden and most plants grow in an area roofed with fiber glass, but open at both ends, allowing for some movement of air. This movement of air makes for a warmer environment than does a closed, unheated glasshouse. Nevertheless, the temperature gets close to 32 degrees in winter, as the bird bath freezes a sheet of ice thick enough to offer considerable resistance to my hand.
In such a situation several reportedly tender bromels have survived recent winters. Happily I displayed my "erudition" by observing at David Barry's Jungle Gardens, "Of course, this Vriesea hieroglyphica is extra tropical!" My misconception was happily corrected, for the plant proved to be relatively hardy and shows no distress from the low temperatures (low 30th or upper 20's) of the last winter.
Other bromeliads have proved to be comparatively hardy. Aechmea mariae-reginae has weathered three winters and is robust, but does show displeasure with severe cold by some of the old leaf tip turning a mottled yellow and pink. Tillandsia lindenii and T. cyanea have for many years been carried through the winter outside.
Aechmea × 'Foster's Favorite' is kept outdoors all year round, as are Nidularium burchelli, N. × Chloro-marechallii, Aechmea × 'Maginalli,' A. × 'Royal Wine,' A. × 'miniata × calyculata,' A. pimenti-velosoi, A. weilbachii, Billbergia × 'Fantasia,' Portea petropolitana, Cryptanthus and Cryptbergia, Neoregelia spectabilis, N. microps, N. fosteriana, and N. marmorata.
The sole experiment with Aechmea schultesiana was a failure. Luckily, I had another plant in the glasshouse, and additional trials will be made to determine whether this instance was the exception or the rule. Fortunately as a family, bromeliads are generous with offsets, and one can experiment repeatedly.
Many of the Tillandsias are cold tolerant. The following, in fact, do better outside in the cold than they do in the heated glasshouse: T. brachycaulis, T. carlsoneae, T. capitata, T. cyanea, T. × 'Emilie,' T. fasciculata, T. fillifolia, T. imperialis, T. streptophylla, T. strobilifera, T. usneoides, T. violacea.
— William Drysdale, 4300 Isabella, Riverside, CaliforniaFrom a Florida Garden
December 11 through 14, 1962, proved a shock for those of us who grow some of our bromeliads outdoors here in Florida. Ocala was not the coldest spot in the state, but an official low of 11°F. for the 13th was cold. Billbergia distachia var. maculata, Cryptbergia × meadii, and Neoregelia spectabilis nestled among native rock and liriope. Dyckia brevifolia and D. frigida accented a planter of Bromelia balansae and yucca on the west side of our garage under the eaves. Our house is built around a front patio which faces north. Aechmea bracteata, A. pineliana var. minuta, Dyckia brevifolia, and D. fosteriana get full western sun most of the year. A. pineliana var. minuta, Billbergia pyramidalis, and B. × 'Muriel Waterman' grow beside a Raphis palm clump, mixed with leatherleaf and Japanese climbing ferns.
December 11 brought 8 hours of 31°F. cold; December 12, a second 8 hours of 32°F. Patio plants were covered for the night with sheets suspended on bamboo stakes to minimize foliage contact. Plants by the garage and under the oak were covered with a heavy layer of dry Spanish moss. This has excellent insulating properties. Results on the morning of the 12th—no damage.
Came the 13th, and 8 hours of the night passed at 15°F.—by 11 a.m. thermometer climbed to a balmy 33°. The official prediction had been 10° to 20°F. with hard freeze. Craftily we secured large cardboard boxes from the supermarket on the 12th. These were placed over more vulnerable specimens, such as our Sanchezia which promptly froze to the ground! Dyckia fosteriana and Aechmea bracteata with inch-tall pups received this preferential treatment. We also burned 40-watt light bulbs under the sheets to help hold a modicum of heat inside. The night of the 13th was hectic.
Gusts up to 24 mph—they felt stronger—kept blowing the sheets loose. This led to commuting from warm bed to cold patio. About 3 a.m. one sheet was rescued from the fish pool where ice was forming around the edge. About 5 a.m. another sheet blew off, leaving an Aechmea pineliana var. minuta with 2 pups and in full bloom and the Billbergia × 'Muriel Waterman' exposed to the icy blast. I resigned myself to losing them. The wind finally died late in the afternoon.
The 14th was warmer we sustained 28°F. for 7 hours. The temperature climbed to 33°F. by 9 a.m. The fish pool was still frozen solid for about an inch. A check of the bromeliads showed all the cups solid with ice. During the afternoon we enjoyed two hours of mixed sleet and snow. By morning of the 15th, the ice in the cups had thawed. Our high for several days did not reach 50°F.
Results of this meteorological debacle? All the Billbergia pyramidalis were dead. B. distachia var. maculata clumps under the oak and in the patio were only slightly damaged. The B. × 'Muriel Waterman' was burned down to the ice line. The Aechmea pineliana var. minuta clumps were only lightly burned, whereas A. bracteata was dead to the ice line (but—lo and behold—the pups without injury). One Cryptbergia survived but was almost completely covered by a Neoregelia spectabilis which died. Only 2 out of 15 N. spectabilis survived without injury. Both Dyckia fosteriana and D. frigida were burned along the outer leaves; D. brevifolia came through without injury as did D. × 'Lad Cutak.'
Since the freeze we have visited several other collectors who grow bromeliads outdoors. Many of us had plants (Neoregelias especially) which showed no initial signs of damage. Later, however, the entire center of the plant weakened and pulled out easily. Examination showed that these plants probably thawed out too quickly; leaf sheath tissue, especially, had broken down and turned sour. Scores of small white larvae infested the center. We were able to save some plants with undamaged outer leaves by removing the injured and decaying tissue thoroughly rinsing away the larvae, and refilling the cups with pure water. These "crownless" unfortunates produced a few pups. Such pups are much smaller than the parent, but the next generation of offsets returns to the original size.
In March we had another experience with temperatures below freezing, this time lasting about five hours. I left the sprinkler running slowly all night in the patio. Result the next morning: everything was covered with a thin coating of frosty white ice. This included Aechmea pineliana var. minuta in full bloom. The sprinkler was left on until everything had fully defrosted. Damage to my bromeliads? None. Even my Polypodium polycarpon var. grandiceps fern came through unharmed. Whether coating with ice will protect plants with a very severe drop in temperature is not determined, but the parts of those plants in which ice formed during the December 13 freeze came through nicely while the remainder of the plant was usually badly damaged.
— Werner B. Fisher, P.O. Box 567, Ocala, Florida.From a New England Garden
Lest you warm-weather-blessed people feel that lower temperatures for bromeliad survival are rather high, I should relate my experience with a fairly scraggly specimen of Billbergia nutans which I have kept in our basement garage near a window with a southern exposure. Despite frequent blasts from freezing air when the car goes in and out in our frigid winters, and the temperature of about 55° at other times, this plant blooms profusely, though about a month later than most cared-for specimens.
My other plants summer from June through September with their pots buried in the ground of a mostly-shaded rhododendron bed, and really flourish there. Occasional waterings from a hose keep them clean and help their phenomenal growth in this location. Others fill pots of tall-growing foliage plants and help beautify what would otherwise be bare stalks. They do quite well though nearly root bound.
— Thomas G. Kudzma, 393½ Main Street, Nashua, New Hampshire.
A NEW VARIETY OF VRIESEA ENSIFORMIS
Vriesea ensiformis var. striata Alvim Seidel var. nov.
A var. ensiformis foliis pulchre flavo-striatis differt. Collected in forest, Morro da Igreja, Corupá, Santa Catarina, Brazil, at 500 meters altitude, by Alvim Seidel (Type in the U. S. National Herbarium).
On one of my many collecting trips here in Corupá, in the State of Santa Catarina, Brasil, I discovered this new variety at approximately 500 meters altitude on a mountain slope where thousands of the typical Vriesea ensiformis grow. Not until about two years ago had I ever observed any variation of this species, and I was agreeably surprised to find this exceptionally beautiful variety which only now (March 1963) is flowering here for the first time (see illustration). The original collection grew on a giant fallen tree on the sunny side of the Morro da Igreja (Church Mountain).
As can be seen from the figure the variety forms a really showy rosette of pale green leaves broadly banded with creamy yellow, while the erect inflorescence displays spreading bright red bracts and yellow flowers. Vriesea ensiformis is one of the most freely growing of Brazilian bromeliads, living equally well on trees, rocks, or soil, but always in the shade or half-shade.
— Corupá, Santa Catarina, Brazil
|Agricultural Research Station, Sumperk - Temenice|
HE FIRST COLLECTIONS OF BROMELIADS in Czechoslovakia were those of noblemen who grew them in their castles. One of the largest of such collections was that of Count Rohan, who grew his plants in the castle of Sychrov near Turnov in northern Bohemia. Several bromeliads were named after Count Rohan, one of the best known being Billbergia rohaniana. After World War I, the bromeliads at Sychrov were removed to Turnov. Between 1920 and 1923, from 30 to 35 kinds of bromeliads were grown in the hothouses of Stromovka in Prague and in the botanical gardens.
At present, the oldest growers of bromeliads in this country are Arnost Kramer and Jan Oplt. Both are working as gardeners in Prague. Larger collections of bromeliads, ranging from 30 to 100 varieties, can be seen in Prague at Hradcany, in the botanical gardens of the Charles University, in the Selection Station at Klanovice near Prague, in the botanical gardens at Brno and Kosice, in the Agricultural Research Station at Sumperk, and at Lany. At the Agricultural Research Station, where I am situated, are growing some 19 genera of bromeliads, comprising over one hundred different species.
The most popular bromeliad in Czechoslovakia is Vriesea splendens. In the homes, especially in the north of Moravia, may be found Billbergia decora, one of the smaller species of this genus and popular for this reason. Aechmea fasciata also appears quite often. It is excellently suited for growing in apartments, as it is not too large a plant and the blooms last for more than half a year. Also the plants with their broad stiff leaves are decorative even when not in flower.
Bromeliads are not so well known in Czechoslovakia as they should be, for they are particularly well adapted to the fast pace of modern apartment-house living, requiring but little care and accepting central heating and artificial conditions.
It is not possible to reproduce the majority of the most beautiful varieties within one year, so the preparation for the introduction of bromeliads into the horticultural scene of my country must be undertaken as soon as possible. We are now earnestly working on their propagation and popularization. We want to establish very soon a Bromeliad Society in Czechoslovakia in order to interest amateurs in these modern and neat plants. Such an organization will first be attached to the Orchid Society, since in many cases members will be the same.
From our experience we have found the following bromeliads most suitable to our growing conditions: Aechmea fasciata, A. lueddemanniana, A. miniata, A. fulgens, A. candida, Billbergia nutans, B. decora, B. forgetti, B. rohaniana, Guzmania zahnii, Hechtia mexicana, Nidularium innocentii, N. meyendorfii, Tillandsia lindenii, T. anceps, T. rubida, and Vriesea poelmannii. The climatic conditions of Czechoslovakia are substantially different from those of the United States, where most of the bromeliad growers are working. Czechoslovakia lies approximately in the climate of the frontier between the United States and Canada, on the 50th parallel. But the difficulties we encounter in growing these beautiful exotic plants make them all the more attractive.
In 1960 in my collection at Sumperk together with Frantisek Polach, a gardener, I found a variegated form of Pitcairnia ramosa in a great quantity of seedlings which I had been growing. We use the blossoms of this Pitcairnia as cut flowers. As you may see from the photograph, its variegation is unusually developed. This is a new form now known as Pitcairnia ramosa var. foliis variegatis. The variegated plant has not yet blossomed, although its green sisters all bloomed in 1962 and gave a great quantity of seed. It is natural with variegated plants that they are slower to bloom than do the normal plants. Also their first shoot often will be green without any variegation. In this plant the first shoot was green, the second two white striped. I expect that the plant will blossom this year and will give seed, which I hope will produce variegated plants. As soon as I have a sufficient number of variegated offspring, I shall send you, my dear friends in The Bromeliad Society, the seed. After the ripening of the shoot I shall send it to the address of our society. And why am I writing "our society"? Because you did me a great favor, and on December 31, 1962, you accepted me as a foreign member of The Bromeliad Society.
— Agricultural Research Station, Sumperk - Temenice, Czechoslovakia
W. B. CHARLEYOT BEING ENTIRELY SATISFIED that all bromeliads—epiphytes as well as terrestrials—need feeding at the roots, I prepared an experimental plot at our Brom propagation farm at Ourimbah. This farm is only a few miles from the Pacific Ocean and overlooks it. The altitude is about 300 feet above sea level and that area is frog free. The plot is under tall Gum trees, a situation which gives filtered sunlight. The soil is slightly acid, and aside from rain and dew, no watering is given to the plants. Two identical plots were prepared, and hundreds of Broms were planted. These were of many varieties and included mother plants as well as seedlings.
In Plot A, the soil was used in its natural state. Plenty of leafmold was present, and some fine treefern was dug into the soil to build up the acid content to Ph 5; then it was planted.
In Plot B the same procedure was adopted plus one very important addition; a well-balanced fertilizer was added to the soil and dug in. This fertilizer contained nitrogen, super-phosphate, potash, blood, and bone.
After several months had elapsed, even a novice could easily see the differences in the two plots. The Broms in Plot B were outstanding: superiority of growth and general tone was very evident; color was better in the foliage, and suckers were coming away faster with more of them. The plants in Plot A showed little growth in comparison: suckers were few, the seedlings seemed reluctant to grow, and some varieties in the seedling stage just hung fire.
As a consequence of this experiment, it is now our firm practice to add to all potmix the same balanced fertilizer as used in Plot B. It would seem that even epiphytic bromeliads do appreciate, and indeed demand, food given to their roots. Perhaps after being treated in the same way as terrestrials (being planted in pots for convenience), they have adapted themselves to greater root feeding. It is hoped that someone with more experience along this line would give his views on the subject.
To our way of thinking, also, seedlings without the capacity to catch and hold the necessary foods in their tanks must, in the early stages at least, draw their nourishment from the soil.
Reports from those collectors who have gone bromeliad hunting in the jungles of Central and South America tell of the mass of matter which has accumulated at the base of every leaf and in the tanks of those bromeliads brought out. This matter is rich in rotting vegetation of all kinds, plus frogs, mosquitoes, scorpions, and many other kinds of insects as well as bird droppings.
After receiving such plants, we carefully wash out all this material, pot these plants often in pure sand, and feed them pure water. Obviously we do not care to have a mess accumulate in our bromeliads; but we should do artificially what nature does in the raw, that is put back as best we can the needed nutriment.
—The Jungle Bromeliadium, Mt. Tomah. Bilpin, N. S. W., Australia.
MORRIS HENRY HOBBS
N A RECENT SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, there appeared for the first time reproductions of the water-colors of bromeliads which our art editor, Mr. Morris Henry Hobbs, has been working on for the past three years. These pictures are so lovely that even newspaper reproduction could not detract from the ethereal quality and great charm of the originals.
At present Mr. Hobbs has completed 36 studies of bromeliads, about one-third of the illustrations needed for his projected book, Bromeliads and Birds of Tropical America. Originally, he planned to depict the plants in their natural environment, but changed his mind, and has isolated each bromeliad on a pale wash background, adding interest with birds or other fauna appropriate to the region where the plant is found. The whole picture is so delicately conceived that immediately it brings to mind a Japanese print.
For Mr. Hobbs, his bromeliad paintings have been, for the most part, a week-end undertaking. Widely known as an etcher whose scenes of New Orleans have become collector's items, he completed his last picture in the meticulous etching field in 1953. Today he has a full-time position with an architectural firm, and art has become his avocation.
Morris Henry Hobbs and Erich Knoblock were among the first to grow bromeliads in New Orleans. Together they founded the Louisiana branch of The Bromeliad Society in 1954, Hobbs serving as the branch's first president. His greenhouse, situated in the suburb of Mandeville, holds more than 1,400 different bromeliads, many his own hybrids.
Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs have made two expeditions to Costa Rica and Mexico to see their favorite plants in their native habitat. He likes to paint on the spot when he locates a rare type in bloom. On at least one occasion the painting became a valuable record of an unidentified specimen which did not survive the fumigation required on entry into the United States.
Mr. Hobbs is not only an outstanding artist and architect, but he is a true plants-man as well. Distressed by the knowledge that thousands of bromeliads were destroyed during the last World War, among them many fine hybrids which are no longer in cultivation, he and his friends are doing a bit of horticultural reconstruction. They have had translated from the German the very fine volume on bromeliads written by Walter Richter, and are duplicating the hybrids he describes. In this way they hope to return some of these war-lost varieties to the world.
The members of The Bromeliad Society should feel grateful that so busy a man as Mr. Hobbs should take the time to design the covers of the Bulletin. No other society can boast of having such a prominent artist as part of the staff.